Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 4, 1883
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell.
Washington, October 1, 1883.
Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter addressed to this Department by the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, in relation to a statement alleged to have been made recently in the House of Commons by Mr. Dodson, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, to the effect that the American quarantine system in relation to cattle diseases gives no security against the conveyance of disease by men attached to quarantine stations and by articles taken out of quarantine yards, and that the system takes into consideration only the animals themselves. You will observe that the Acting Secretary of the Treasury calls attention to the report of the Treasury Cattle Commission of the 21st ultimo, in regard to the foot-and-mouth disease among the cattle of the United States, which, while it admits that this disease did exist in herds of cattle imported from Great Britain, emphatically denies its present existence among the cattle of this country.
I will thank you to lose no time in calling the attention of the foreign office to the statements contained in the inclosed copy of the letter of the Treasury Department on this subject; and in so doing you will communicate copies of the circulars accompanying that letter, and invite the special attention of Her Majesty’s Government to the stringent regulations governing the quarantine of cattle which are thereby established.
I am, &c.,
Mr. French to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
August 20, 1883. (Received August 22.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a newspaper slip containing a telegraphic-dispatch from London, England, in which it is alleged that Mr. Dodson, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, stated on the 17th instant, in the House of Commons, that it was an undoubted fact that the foot-and-mouth disease in cattle had been carried from England to America, and that the American quarantine system in relation to cattle-diseases gave no security against the conveyance of disease by men attached to quarantine stations and by articles taken out of the quarantine yards, and that the system-took into consideration only the animals themselves. I deem it due to American interests to state that if the honorable gentleman named made the remarks attributed to him, it must have been done without a knowledge of all the facts in the case, and that in some respects such remarks are calculated to mislead the public mind on the subject.
Attention is called to the inclosed report of the Treasury Cattle Commission, dated the 21st ultimo, in regard to the foot-and-mouth disease among the cattle of the United States. While it is admitted that this disease did exist in herds of cattle imported from Great Britain, the Commission gives an emphatic denial to the present existence of the disease among the cattle of the United States. This statement is considered important because it might be inferred from the remarks of Mr. Dodson as quoted, that the disease which had thus been imported from Great Britain had not been eradicated. Ample quarantine stations exist in the districts of Boston, Mass., and Portland, Me., and as no contagious or infectious diseases among the cattle of those States exist, the possibility of these diseases being communicated to our cattle by cattle arriving at those ports (which are the only ports on the New England frontier where cattle are allowed to be quarantined) is quite remote. I call special attention to the stringent regulations governing the quarantine of cattle, herewith inclosed, which go far beyond the scope contemplated in the remarks attributed to Mr. Dodson.
I think if these regulations are properly carried out, as I assume they will be, they will prove sufficient to guard against the introduction of contagious diseases by the importation of foreign cattle at the ports where quarantine is established.
I have the honor to request that a copy of this letter and of its inclosures be sent to the British minister at this Capital for the information of his Government.
Carrying cattle disease to America.
Mr. Dodson, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, stated this afternoon in the House of Commons, in response to an inquiry by Mr. Duckham, that it was an undoubted fact that the foot-and-mouth disease had been carried from England to America. He said that the Canadian cattle now suffering with the disease at Bristol had been in contact at Liverpool with infected animals which came from Ireland. He pointed out, however, that the American quarantine system in relation to cattle diseases gave no security against the conveyance of disease by men attached to the quarantine stations and by articles taken out of the quarantine yards. The system, he said, only took into consideration the animals themselves.
Regulations governing the treatment and quarantine of imported cattle.
Washington, D. C., June 8, 1883.
[1883.—Department No. 76, Secretary’s Office.]
To collectors and other officers of the customs:
1. All cattle arriving in the United States from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or New Zealand shall be subjected to a quarantine of ninety days, counting from the date of shipment.[Page 456]
It shall be the duty of the veterinary inspector at each port to see that the cattle imported shall be securely guarded against the risk of transmitting or receiving contagion until they shall have entered quarantine grounds. He shall also be superintendent of the quarantine, and shall have charge of the grounds, buildings, yards, and all property thereto belonging.
Collectors of customs are requested to co-operate with the veterinary inspectors and health authorities in enforcing these regulations, and will take such action as the facts and regulations may require.
2. Imported cattle shall be examined by the Government veterinary inspector before they leave the wharves, and if any are there found to be suffering from any of the following diseases—lung plague, rinderpest, aphthous (eczematous) fever—they shall not be admitted to the established quarantine grounds, but shall be quarantined elsewhere, at the expense of the importer, or be dealt with in such other manner as the veterinary inspector, in co-operation with the State or municipal authorities, shall determine.
3. In case of imported animals proving to be thus infected, such portions of the cargo of the vessel as have been exposed to the cattle or their emanations shall be subjected, under the direction of an inspector, to fumigation with the gas from burning sulphur, or to such other disinfection as may be considered by the veterinary inspector of the port necessary, before they can be landed.
4. No litter, fodder, or other aliment, nor any ropes, straps, chains, girths, blankets, poles, buckets, or other things used for or about the animals, and no manure shall be landed, excepting under such regulations as the veterinary surgeon shall provide.
5. On moving cattle from the ocean steamer to the quarantine grounds they shall not be unnecessarily passed over any highway, but must be placed on the cars at the wharves, or removed to the cars on a boat which is not used for conveying other cattle. If such boat has carried sheep, goats, or swine within three months antecedent, it must be first cleansed and then disinfected under the supervision of the veterinary inspector, and alter the conveyance of the imported cattle the boat shall be disinfected in the same manner before it can be again used for the conveyance of cattle. The expense of such disinfection shall be paid by the United States. When passage across or upon a public highway is unavoidable in the transportation of imported cattle from the place of landing to the quarantine grounds, it must be under such careful supervision and restrictions as the veterinary inspector may, in special cases, direct.
6. The banks or chutes used for loading and unloading imported cattle shall be reserved for such animals, or shall he cleansed and disinfected, as above, before and after being used for such imported cattle.
7. The railway cars used in the transportation of cattle to the quarantine grounds shall either be cars reserved for this exclusive use or box cars not otherwise employed in the transportation of meat animals or their fresh products, and after each journey with cattle to the quarantine grounds they shall be disinfected by thorough cleansing and disinfecting under the direction of the Government veterinary inspector. The charge for such disinfection shall be paid by the United States.
8. While cattle are arriving at the quarantine stations, or leaving them, all quarantined stock in the yards adjoining the alley-ways through which they must pass shall be rigidly confided to their sheds.
9. Cattle arriving by the same ship may be quarantined together in one yard and shed, but those coming on different ships shall, in all cases, be placed in separate yards.
10. The gates of all yards shall be kept locked, except when cattle are entering or leaving quarantine.
11. The attendants on cattle in particular yards are forbidden to enter other yards and buildings, except such as are occupied by stock of the same shipment with those under their special care. No dogs, cats, or other animals, except those necessarily present, shall be allowed in the quarantine grounds.
12. The allotment of yards shall be under the direction of the veterinary inspector of the port, who shall keep a register of the cattle entered, with description, name of owner, name of vessel in which imported, date of arrival and release, and other important particulars.
13. The veterinary inspector shall see that water is regularly furnished to the stock, and the manure removed daily, and that the prescribed rules of the station are enforced.
14. Food and attendance must be provided by the owners of the stock quarantined. Employés of such owners shall keep the sheds and yards clean, to the satisfaction of the veterinary inspector.
15. “Smoking” is strictly forbidden within any quarantine inclosure.
16. No visitor shall be admitted to the quarantine station without special written permission from the collector of customs of the port, the veterinary inspector, or a member of the Treasury Cattle Commission. Butchers, cattle dealers, and their employés are especially excluded.[Page 457]
17. No public sale shall be allowed within the quarantine grounds.
18. The inspector shall, in his daily rounds, so far as possible take the temperature of each animal, commencing with the herds that have been longest in quarantine and ending with the most recent arrivals, and shall record such temperatures on lists kept for the purpose. In passing from one herd to another, he shall invariably wash his thermometer and hands in a weak solution (1 to 100) of carbolic acid.
19. In case of the appearance of any disease that is diagnosed to be of a contagious nature, the veterinary inspector shall notify the chairman or other professional member of the Treasury Cattle Commission, who shall visit the station personally, or send a delegate; and, on the confirmation of the diagnosis, the herd shall be disposed of according to the gravity of the affection.
20. If the disease should prove to be one of the exotic plagues—lung plague or rinderpest—the animals shall be dealt with in such manner as the veterinary inspector, in co-operation with the State or municipal authorities, shall determine.
21. The yard and shed in which such disease shall have appeared shall be subjected to a thorough disinfection. Litter and fodder shall be burned. Sheds, utensils, and other appliances shall be disinfected as the veterinary inspector may direct. The yard-fence and manure box shall be freely sprinkled with a strong solution of chloride of lime. The flooring of the shed shall be lifted, and the whole shall be left open to the air and unoccupied for three months.
22. If the contagious disease shall prove to be aphthous fever, anthrax, Texas fever, cow-pox, diphtheria, or scabies, the infected herd shall be rigidly confined to its shed, where disinfectants shall be freely used, and the attendants shall be forbidden all intercourse with the attendants in other yards, and with persons outside the quarantine grounds.
Report of United States Treasury Cattle Commission relative to the foot-and-mouth disease.
Washington, D. C., August 4, 1883.
[1883.—Department. No. 106, Secretary’s Office.]
To collectors of customs and others:
A resolution having been adopted by the British House of Commons opposing the importation into Great Britain of cattle from any country in which the foot-and-mouth disease prevails, and charges having been made in Parliament that such disease prevails in this country, an investigation has been made by the United States Treasury Cattle Commissioners, who find that there is no evidence that American herds are now suffering from the disease. The report of the Commissioners is hereto appended.
Should you at any time learn of the existence of such disease in this country, you will please inform this Department of the particulars without delay.
Boston, Mass., July 21, 1883.
Sir: Charges having been recently made in the British Parliament that cattle were being shipped from our ports, infected with the foot-and-mouth disease, and a majority of the House of Commons having voted for a resolution opposing the importation into Great Britain of cattle from any country in which said disease exists, we feel it our duty to state the facts of the case so far as this country is concerned. After a most extended and almost exhaustive inquiry, your Commission have been able to find no trace of foot-and-mouth disease apart from herds just landed from Great Britain, and which herds have been in every case segregated until the infection has entirely disappeared. The nature and scope of our inquiry may be deduced from our report for 1881. Beginning with the great rendesvous of cattle at Kansas City, Council Bluffs, and Omaha, we have made careful investigations along all the lines of cattle traffic as far as the Eastern seaboard. In this investigation we have included all the great stock-yards where cattle are detained for feeding, watering, sale, &c.; all the great feeding-stables connected with distilleries and starch, glucose, and other factories; all the city dairies where stock-yards exist and where the herds are replenished [Page 458]from such stock-yards; and, to a large extent, the great dairying districts into which cows are drawn from the above-named stock-yards and lines of travel. Up to the present date we have made observations in the stock-yards at the seaboard, the terminal end of our cattle traffic, and that to which all infection must gravitate; but, apart from the imported cases above referred to, we have been unable to find a single case of the foot-and-mouth disease complained of.
The significance of the entire absence of this disease along the whole line of our cattle traffic, and in the herds into which this traffic leads, can only be appreciated when considered in its relation to the nature of the disease and the unmistakable symptoms by which it is manifested. The following points are especially to be noted:
- The foot-and-mouth disease is perhaps the most contagious malady known. It rarely enters a herd without striking down all the members of that herd simultaneously, or nearly so.
- The susceptibility to the disease is all but universal on the part of warm blooded animals, but all cloven-footed animals are especially and about equally predisposed to it. It cannot be overlooked nor covered up therefore, as can a disease which confines its ravages to a single genus, but sheep, goats, and swine, coming within the range of the infection, contract and manifest the disease as readily and in as marked a way as do cattle.
- The period of latency on incubation is remarkably short, the eruption of the malady often taking place in thirty-six hours, and rarely being delayed even in cold weather beyond six days after exposure to infection. There is therefore no opportunity for concealment nor for the disposal of infected but still apparently sound animals, while a journey of four or six days from the West with the attendant privations and febrile excitement would infallibly determine the full eruption of the disease before the stock arrived at the eastern seaboard, and this although the infection had only been received after the shipment on the cars.
1. The manifestation of the disease is not only so universal in the herd affected, but so-prominent and unmistakable that it could not possibly be overlooked. No one could ignore for a moment the swollen digits, the lameness, and the blisters or ulcers between the hoofs, the heat, tenderness, swelling, and blisters or raw sores on the udder and teats, and the abundant frothing and slobbering at the mouth, the frequent loud smacking noise made with the tongue and palate, and the large round blisters or red angry sores on the mucous membrane of the mouth; these cannot escape the attention of the owners and attendants, and especially when a whole herd of 10, 50, or 100 are suffering simultaneously. Much less can they escape the instructed eye of the professional veterinarian.
In this connection it may be well to state that the invasion of foot-and-mouth disease that swept from Canada over Northern New York and New England in 1871 created something closely approaching a panic. The agricultural papers were full of the subject, State boards of agriculture convened and discussed the subject, a convention of delegates from different States met at Albany, N. Y., and it was the engrossing theme for every local farmers’ club along the line of infection. This invasion, imported into Montreal with two English cows, fortunately occurred in autumn, and the long seclusion of the herds during the ensuing winter virtually stamped it out; the infection not having extended bevond herds in inclosed pasturages or buildings. Most of our farmers are as ignorant of the disease to-day as they were in 1871, and any new invasion could not fail to produce a similar excitement and consternation.
It should be added that our connection with the States, as well as the United States, brings us constant complaints of diseases supposed to be contagious, but we have not found any evidence of the actual existence of the foot-and-mouth disease at any point among our home herds.
We cannot pass unnoticed the two latest importations of the disease from England. Two years ago the steamship France of the National Line landed in New York a herd of Channel Island cattle suffering from foot-and-mouth disease. These were quarantined by the State authorities and the infection stamped out. The France, however, after an attempted disinfection, shipped a cargo of American beeves for the return voyage, and these, on arrival in England, were condemned as being infected with foot-and-mouth disease. This was undoubtedly contracted on board ship. The second case is that of the steamship Nessmore, which in March, 1883, landed in Baltimore a herd of Channel Island cattle suffering from foot-and-mouth disease. These again were secluded, as soon as detected, by the Pennsylvania authorities, and no evil consequences to our home herds can be traced. But the steamship Nessmore, after an attempted disinfection by the agents, shipped a cargo of American fat cattle, and these, on arrival in England, were found to be suffering from foot-and-mouth disease. This infection, unquestionably contracted on board ship, appears to have been the main if not the sole occasion of the recent questions and resolution in the British Parliament. That the infection was not derived from American herds, but from English, is beyond all dispute, alike in this case and in that of the France two years ago. The same is true of our extensive invasion in 1871, which was derived from two imported [Page 459]short-horn cows, and which was thoroughly extinguished without having gained any permanent foothold.
We do not deny that other cargoes of American cattle may have been found suffering from the disease in question on arrival in England, but this is amply accounted for by the occasional use, for those cattle, of head ropes and other appliances that have been previously used for European cattle. But on this point we insist, with the greatest confidence, that there is no evidence whatever that our American herds are now suffering from foot-and mouth disease, and that there is as strong evidence of its non-existence as can well be produced on the negative side of a question.
- JAMES LAW,
- E. F. THAYER,
United States Treasury Cattle Commissioners.
- Hon. C. J. Folger,
Secretary of the Treasury.