asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that at Nine Ashes, Blackmore, Essex, a sow died in a field adjacent to the public highway; that this was reported to the proper authority immediately on Thursday, 10th July, but that no action was taken until Saturday, 12th July; that by this time the carcase had decomposed; and whether, in view of this serious menace to the health of the general public, he will take action to prevent such delay in dealing with similar cases?
My right hon. Friend is aware of the circumstances of this case. The notification of suspected swine fever did not reach the Department until after office hours on the 10th inst., but telegraphic instructions were sent to the local veterinary surgeon early on the 11th instant. Unfortunately the veterinary surgeon was out on his rounds when the Ministry's telegram arrived, and he was not able to visit the premises in question until the following day. I may add that cases in which delay occurs are quite exceptional, and my right hon. Friend will see that they are avoided whenever possible.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that up till 12 o'clock on Saturday no veterinary surgeon had been there; that I at once got into telephonic communication with the Ministry of Agriculture at Whitehall, and that they were good enough at once to send down a veterinary surgeon from headquarters, and the matter was expedited?