HL Deb 30 July 1906 vol 162 cc328-30

My Lords, I rise to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries (1) Whether the Departmental Committee appointed to inquire into louping ill and braxy continues to exist for the purpose of further research; (2) If so, who are the members composing the Committee; (3) Where and by whom is the experimental work of the Committee to be carried on;(4) From what source are the expenses of further research or experiments to be met.

In putting these questions I should like to express the great indebtedness which the North of England feels to the noble Earl and his predecessors at the Board of Agriculture for the zeal that has been displayed in this matter, which is of extreme importance to sheep masters in the North. The inquiry has done something to comfort them, and has acted as a makeweight against the very unfortunate treatment they received with regard to sheep scab. I should like to make a small addition to my questions and ask whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to give facilities to the tenant farmers for drenches in order that they may test the theory put forward by those who have conducted the inquiry. It is, of course, of great importance that we should be perfectly certain that this remedy is in point of fact a bona fide remedy, and I trust that His Majesty's Government will give all assistance possible to that end.


My Lords, the noble Duke will remember that the Departmental Committee was appointed in 1901 by Mr. Hanbury, and that it consisted of Professor Hamilton, of Aberdeen University, and others. The noble Duke was kind enough to provide the accommodation and the necessary facilities for the investigation of the disease, and I gladly take the first public opportunity that the Board have had of expressing their thanks to the noble Duke for his generosity in giving those facilities, as well as for the public spirit and liberality that he has shown. The noble Duke asks where and by whom the experimental work of the Committee is to be carried on. The Committee presented their Report in April of last year. It has been printed and laid before Parliament, and it contains a large amount of very valuable and useful information. The Board are also very much indebted to Professor Hamilton for the energy he devoted to the work. I may say that he gave up three years of his time to the investigation of this disease, which has been so often fatal in different parts of England. Their Report having been presented, the Committee technically have ceased to exist; but in view of one portion of the Report, with regard to facilities being given for the universal drenching of sheep, the Board have thought it desirable that arrangements should be made for trials with the proposed drench to be made on sheep suffering from these diseases. We have £100 still left in hand, and it is proposed to offer to Professor Hamilton this sum in order that the tests and experiments may still be carried on under his auspices. Up to this moment we have not heard whether he is able to meet us on that point, but if he does he will no doubt wish to have the advice and co-operation of his colleagues on the Committee. As regards facilities for drenching, perhaps the noble Duke will allow me to make some inquiries upon that point, and to send him privately what information I obtain. I can assure him that everything will be done by the Department to facilitate the continuance of these experiments, which we owe entirely to the generosity and the liberality of the noble Duke himself.