HC Deb 06 August 1924 vol 176 cc2964-5W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the valuation made of pedigree stock belonging to Mr. Edwin Roy Bligh, of Goddards Green Farm, Benenden, Kent, which, on or about the 21st February last, were ordered to be slaughtered owing to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was made on the special instructions to a valuer by an inspector of the Ministry to eliminate any consideration of pedigree value; why were such special instructions given, in view of Section 15, Sub-section 2 (1) and (2), of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894; whether he is aware that permission to call in Messrs. Thornton to act as valuers of Mr. Bligh's stock was refused, and, if so, why; that valuation on a pedigree basis of the stock of Mr. Egerton Quested, of Cheriton, Kent, which also had to be slaughtered for the same reason at a date later than in the case of Mr. Bligh's stock, was admitted; that in Mr. Quested's case Messrs. Thornton were permitted to act as valuers; and whether he will state the reason for such differentiation in two like cases of pedigree herds?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The special instructions given to the valuer were given in consequence of the owner of the animals agreeing to accept compensation for the animals slaughtered on a non-pedigree basis rather than have the animals isolated. In cases of foot-and-mouth disease the Minister has two alternatives:-

  1. (1) to cause the animals to be slaughtered, in which case compensation is payable in accordance with Section 15 of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894; or
  2. (2) to isolate the animals where suitable premises for isolation exist.
In the latter case no compensation is payable and any loss consequent upon isolation falls upon the owner of the animals. The owner of the animals expressed his willingness to accept compensation for slaughter on a non-pedigree basis rather than risk the loss to himself on isolation, and the animals were accordingly valued on this basis and compensation was paid thereon. I am unable to accept the statement that permission to call in Messrs. Thornton to value the animals was refused. The valuer was agreed upon between the owner and the Ministry. The circumstances in connection with the outbreak referred to in the last part of the question were entirely different. Isolation in that case was considered to be impracticable, and therefore different considerations arose.