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Foot-And-Mouth Disease

Volume 154: debated on Monday 15 May 1922

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, during the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Cheshire and North Staffordshire, the Board of Agriculture contracted with the North Staffordshire Hide and Skin Company for the purchase of all contact hides,i.e., all hides of animals which, though not diseased themselves, have been in contact with diseased animals; whether he is aware that in each of the last three outbreaks the lorry belonging to the hide company had been on the premises of each of the farms concerned a few days prior to the outbreak; whether, in view of the great danger of the disease being spread by these means, the Board will discontinue the sale of these hides and order them to be destroyed on the infected premises; and whether, in view of these facts, which are sufficient to account for the outbreak, the Board adhere to their opinion that the outbreak was due to diseased animals in the scheduled area having been slaughtered without any notification being made to the authorities?

The reply to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. As the hides themselves and the lorries in which they were conveyed were carefully disinfected, the Ministry does not believe that infection was carried to other premises by their means, and does not, therefore, propose to begin to destroy valuable hides from healthy animals. It is more probable that the infection was conveyed in other lorries belonging to the same company coming from slaughterhouses where animals showing symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease had recently been slaughtered unknown to the Ministry.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many people, who are very capable of forming an opinion on this point, think that the disinfection applied by the Board of Agriculture is inadequate, and will he again consider the advisability of destroying these hides altogether, and run no risks at all of infection?

I have said my experts do not consider that infection is carried that way, and are therefore not going to sacrifice valuable property.

Is the right hon. Gentleman quite certain that you can destroy the infection of these infected hides?

No, Sir; I am not certain about any of these things. I can only be guided by the best advice obtainable.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these hides are not disinfected by being put in solution, but are only sprayed?