§ Mr. FIELD
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his attention has been directed to the speech of Lord Lucas, in which he asserted that an enormous number of diseased animals was exported in July from Ireland to England; whether several sporadic outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in England before it appeared in Ireland; whether the greater number of English outbreaks had any connection with live stock imports from Ireland; whether the alleged later cases were found to be non-infectious stomatitis, or dirty tongue, or actinomycosis; and whether any recent case of any disease has been discovered in imported Irish live stock?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I am in communication with my Noble Friend with regard 1403W to the speech to which the hon. Member refers, but from a condensed report of the speech which I have seen I have no doubt that his reference was to last June, not July, when over 60,000 animals, which had been in contact with Irish cattle affected with foot-and-mouth disease in Stanley Market, Liverpool, were dispersed throughout this country. One outbreak occurred in England last year prior to the discovery of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland, and out of a total of eighty-three outbreaks forty-two were traced to animals brought from Ireland, and thirteen other outbreaks were attributed to the spread of infection from centres of disease caused by the introduction of those animals. No cases diagnosed as foot-and-mouth disease by the Board's veterinary officers have been found to be any of the diseases named in the fourth part of the question, but recently some animals showing symptoms which gave rise to suspicion have on investigation been found to be affected with those diseases. Stomatitis and sheep-scab have recently been found among live stock imported from Ireland.
§ Mr. GUINEY
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that owing to the new regulations to be issued by his Department regulating the movements of Irish cattle and sheep in this country these animals cannot be shown for sale at any market in Great Britain until a period of twenty-one days' supervision shall have intervened, he will recommend the reconsideration of this Order and allow animals showing a clean bill of health to be marketed immediately after the quarantine period of twelve hours at the port of debarkation has expired?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
As I explained in answer to questions on this subject on Tuesday last, the requirement of twenty-one days' suppervision is only a temporary precaution, which I hope will soon be unnecessary.
§ Mr. J. P. FARRELL
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture when he proposes to relax the restrictions on the importation of Irish hay and straw into England and Wales; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made as to the fact that no case of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in county Longford, so as to allow the hay export trade to be immediately resumed from that district?1404W
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Perhaps the hon.' Member will be good enough to repeat his question next Thursday, when, as I informed other hon. Members who addressed questions to me on this subject last week, I hope to be in a position to announce when a relaxation of the present restrictions upon the importation of Irish hay and straw into Great Britain can take effect.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland has been traced to the use of foreign hay and straw which came into the country as packing material, and in order to protect the country against the enormous loss which an outbreak of this disease entails, he will take steps to appoint a Departmental Committee to inquire as to whether, or how far, wood-wool as a packing material could be successfully used as a substitute for hay and straw, and so eliminate the danger of disease coming into our herds in future?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I am aware that one outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland at The Curragh has been attributed to the cause to which the hon. Member refers. The Departmental Committee which reported last year, having considered the question very carefully, expressed the unanimous opinion that, in view of the general discolation of trade which would be involved, it was impracticable to prohibit the use of foreign hay and straw for packing merchandise consigned to this country, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by the appointment of another committee to consider the question.