HC Deb 23 February 1922 vol 150 cc2130-1W

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that 28 store cattle, which were bought at York on the 26th January, were taken to Cattal Grange the same day and put in a field by themselves, but on 29th January were found to be affected and reported to the authority the same day; that nothing happened for eight days except that the cattle began to improve, and were eating again on the 6th February when slaughter-men arrived at Cattal Orange and said that they had orders to slaughter the lot; that the slaughtered cattle were left laid in the field and worried by foxes and crows, and that it was not until the 11th February that they were all buried; whether he is prepared to take such action as will prevent a repetition of a similar occurrence as being likely to aggravate the spread of infection; and whether he will explain the delay between the 29th January and the 6th February between the outbreak being reported and the slaughter of the cattle?


Some delay was inevitable in dealing with outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Yorkshire owing to the fact that the Ministry was suddenly called upon to deal with a very large number of outbreaks, numbering at one period as many as 100 a day, and there was consequently difficulty in obtaining the services of a sufficient number of slaughtermen. Disease was reported in the case in question on the 29th January, and after examination of the stock by one of the Ministry's inspectors its existence was confirmed on the 3rd February. Slaughter and burial could not be commenced until the 6th February, owing to lack of slaughtermen. Operations were suspended by nightfall, but were resumed and completed on the morning of the 7th. It is incorrect that the carcases left unburied overnight were worried by foxes and crows. I would point out that the important factor in cases of foot-and-mouth disease is to have the animals killed, so that they are no longer capable of producing the virus of the disease.