§ Mr. DODDS
asked the Minister of Agriculture at what period during December, 1923, his Department began to pay compensation for dairy cattle slaughtered in consequence of foot-and-mouth disease upon a basis higher than that paid prior to that date; what instructions were at that time given to the Government valuers; and what ratio the average payments, by way of compensation for dairy cattle, made in November, 1923, bear to those made in January, 1924?
The basis of valuation of animals to be slaughtered in connection with outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease has not been altered. This basis was fixed by the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, to be, in the case of animals affected with the disease, the value of the animal immediately before it became affected, and in other cases, to be the value of the animal immediately before it is slaughtered. The Ministry gives no special instruction to valuers other than directing their attention to the terms of the Act on this subject. With regard to the last part, particulars relating to the whole country are not immediately available. The information has been extracted for four counties (Cheshire, Shropshire, Denbigh and Flint). Compensation for cows slaughtered in these counties in November, 1923, averaged £31 a head, and in January, 1924, £37 a head. My hon. Friend will realise that the depletion of the herds in this area at the end of last year would tend normally to raise the value of the remaining stock.