§ Mr. C. BATHURST
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) how many outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease have now occurred at or near Swords, in county Dublin; and whether, in view of the probability of further recrudescences of the disease so long as the slaughtering-out process is restricted to the field in which a diseased animal is found, his Department will, with a view to the early suppression of the disease and in the interests of true economy, adopt the more extensive methods of the English Board of Agriculture?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Cases of foot-and-mouth disease have occurred on sixteen places all situate at or in the vicinity of Swords, county Dublin. These constitute practically one outbreak. It is not the fact that the slaughter of animals is confined to a particular field in which disease is found. It is the practice of the Department to slaughter not only the diseased and suspected animals, but also those in contact therewith or which were exposed to the infection. This procedure is in accordance with the provisions of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, which does not authorise indiscriminate slaughter.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
asked the Chief Secretary whether there are cases of foot-and-mouth disease among children in Dublin; if so, what steps are being taken to prevent the spread from this source of the most infectious disease that afflicts either animals or man; and whether he will take steps to make the disease in its human form notifiable by doctors to the local authorities during its serious prevalence in the United Kingdom?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
There is no foundation whatever for the extraordinary allegation in the question. Not a scrap of information, either official or private, has reached the Local Government Board as to the existence of foot-and-mouth disease among children in Dublin, and the public health department of the corporation assure me there is not, and never has been, a case of the kind.2932W
§ Mr. PATRICK WHITE
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether he can state approximately the number of cattle and sheep exported annually through the ports of Dublin, Drogheda, Dundalk, and Belfast from the county of Meath; and whether, having regard to the interests involved, he is considering any scheme which might reduce to a minimum the loss to the stock owners caused by the closing of the English ports in the unfortunate event of their continued closing being thought necessary?
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL
The total exports of cattle and sheep from each of the four ports named to Great Britain in the year 1911 were, in round numbers: Dublin, 670,000; Drogheda, 49,000; Dundalk, 44,000; Belfast, 153,000. The Department have no information as to what proportion of these exports came from county Meath. As regards the latter part of the question, the English Board of Agriculture and Fisheries have informed the Department that from the 12th instant the ports of Dundalk and Newry will be added to those from which cattle can be landed in Great Britain for immediate slaughter. The Department hope that in a short time a similar arrangement may be made as to Dublin and Drogheda. The Department have the interests concerned under their consideration all the time and they are in communication with the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries as to the earliest moment at which further relaxation may with safety be made.