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Cattle Disease—Questions

Volume 202: debated on Thursday 7 July 1870

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said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Council, Whether he has received a Report from the Local Authority for the county of Somerset showing the number of cases of Pleuro-Pneumonia and Foot and Mouth Disease, which have taken place in the county of Somerset for the three months ending the 25th June last; and, whether he will have any objection to lay the Report upon the Table?

said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman, Whether he has received Reports from other counties besides Somerset respecting the increase of Pleuro-Pneu-monia and Foot and Mouth Disease?

said, in reply, that a Report had been received from the local authority of the county of Somerset covering the period between April 3, 1870, and June 24, 1870; but this Report did not quite agree with the Report furnished to the Privy Council by the Inspector, and until they could ascertain the cause of the discrepancy there would be no advantage in laying it upon the Table of the House. With regard to the foot and mouth disease, it had been prevalent in Somerset of late, though, perhaps, not to the same extent as it had prevailed in other parts of the country during the autumn of last year, and during the last week it had decreased. The outbreaks of pleuro-pneumonia in Somersetshire had been two in number; the number of cattle affected was reported by the Inspector to be four, and by the local authority three; the number of deaths was by both parties reported to be two; but he had reason to believe that pleuro-pneumonia was not increasing in Somersetshire. In answer to the Question of the hon. Member for Mid Somersetshire (Mr. Neville-Grenville), he had to say that there were no special Eeports from other districts with regard to pleuro-pneumonia and foot and mouth disease. The Privy Council had reason to believe that pleuro-pneumonia was not to any great extent prevalent, and that the foot and mouth disease had decreased. Afterwards—

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Council, Whether it is true that a cargo suffering badly from Foot and Mouth Disease has been stopped at Thames Haven or elsewhere; what Country they came from; and, if any steps have been taken in consequence by the Privy Council?

said, in reply, that on Monday afternoon last he received a telegram stating that some sheep had been stopped by the officers of Customs on suspicion that they had the foot and mouth, disease, the vessel having arrived from Tonning. Although the Department had the fullest confidence in the Customs officials, it was thought better to send down one of the Inspectors to make a special Report. Professor Simonds was consequently sent down, and his Report entirely dispelled the idea that the animals had the foot and mouth disease. Several of the animals were lame; but their lameness was simply owing to an inflamed state of the foot, induced by their having been driven long distances before being put on board the vessel. He might add, in justification of the detention by the Customs, that although the sheep had not the foot and mouth disease, there was good reason for suspecting its existence, and while inconvenience might have resulted to the owners, it was better in such a matter to err on the safe side.