HC Deb 28 October 1912 vol 43 cc58-61W

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) why animals found infected with foot-and-mouth disease at Mullingar were not promptly isolated, but were left for several days among other cattle or driven along the roads without restriction; why inspectors from the department go straight from infected animals into close proximity to healthy cattle without using any visible precaution; and whether he has taken effective action to have those practices discontinued?


All animals found affected were promptly isolated pending slaughter in sheds or houses where such means of isolation existed on the premises or, where no such means existed, were restricted together with those in contact with them in the field in which they were found infected. No affected cattle were driven along the roads. Inspectors on all occasions disinfect themselves when leaving infected premises. Inspectors working on infected places do not visit non-infected places.


asked the date of the last occurrence of foot-and-mouth disease in county Kildare; and when the restrictions will be removed in the county?


The latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in county Kildare occurred on 16th September, but a case occurred in county Wicklow less than six miles away so recently as 1st October, and in such circumstances it is not possible to mention a date at which the restrictions can be removed from the county. The Department are, however, in communication with the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries with a view to release a portion of the northern part of the county Kildare.


asked whether any case of foot-and-mouth disease has arisen in county Sligo for the past fifty years; and, if not, whether some arrangements will now be made for the exportation of store cattle through the ports of Sligo and Londonderry, and thus enable the small farmers of the West of Ireland to discharge their liabilities to the landlords, the State, and the shopkeepers which, owing to existing restrictions on the trade, they are at present unable to discharge?


The county Sligo has been free from foot-and-mouth disease for very many years. Store cattle can at present be exported from the Port of Londonderry. The Department are in communication with the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries with a view to the inclusion of Sligo in the list of ports from which such cattle may be exported.


asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture {Ireland) whether his Department is prepared to give facilities for the shipment of store cattle from Sligo for delivery in Scotch and English ports; if he will state whether Sligo and the adjacent counties are free from cattle disease; and whether, in his opinion, it would be safe, so far as the risk of foot-and-mouth disease is con- cerned, to open the port of Sligo immediately for the exportation of store cattle?


The answer to each paragraph of the question is in the affirmative.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the immunity of Sligo and the adjacent counties from cattle disease, he can now see his way to declare the port of Sligo open for the shipment of stores and fat cattle to Glasgow, Ayr, Greenock, and other ports in Scotland, and to such English ports as are open to receive store cattle from any Irish port?


Fat stock are already allowed to be shipped from Sligo to any of the ports at which accommodation for their inspection and slaughter is available. As regards store cattle, I understand that arrangements can be made for their inspection, as required by the Orders of the Irish Department, and that being the case, I see no objection to cattle being shipped from Sligo to ports on this side at which accommodation is available for their detention for the prescribed period. The necessary Order will be issued for the purpose forthwith.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that there has been no foot-and-mouth disease in the counties of Down, Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone for thirty years; that these counties are far removed from any area recently or now affected by this epidemic, and that practically all the hay imported into England from these counties is used for the feeding of horses; whether, in these circumstances, he can see his way to remove or relax the existing embargo on the importation of hay from these counties, or any of them, into England; and whether he is aware that hay is at present being imported into England for horse-feeding purposes from foreign countries, and that the risk of disease to cattle attaching to such importation is far greater than the risk likely to be run by similar importation from any of the above-named counties?


I have received a deputation recently on this subject, and after carefully considering the representations made to me, I am still of the opinion that any relaxation of the restrictions at the present moment would be attended with risk. With regard to the last part of the question, no hay is allowed to be imported into England from countries in which foot-and-mouth disease exists.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, if the owners of cattle landed at Manchester under recent Orders of his Department desire to remove some to the public abattoir or their own slaughter-houses for the purpose of killing, licences will be granted for their removal from the landing wharf to the place of slaughter before a period of fourteen days have elapsed?


I regret that under existing circumstances I do not see my way to allow Irish stock at present to be moved alive from the landing places even for slaughter until after the expiration of fourteen days from the date of shipment. But I will keep the suggestion of the hon. Member in view.

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