Mr. Blaine to Mr. Lincoln.

No. 671.]

Sir: I inclose for your information a copy of a letter from the Secretary of Agriculture, calling the attention of this Department to the vexatious, unjust, and discriminating regulations still enforced against animals imported into Great Britain and Canada from the United States.

You are instructed to present the subject to Lord Salisbury by a note substantially following the argument and language of Secretary Rusk’s letter.

I am, etc.,

James G. Blaine.
[Inclosure to No. 671.]

Mr. Rusk to Mr. Blaine.

Sir: I have the honor to request that you will give the proper directions for bringing to the attention of the British Government the unjust and discriminating regulations still enforced against animals imported into Great Britain and Canada from the United States.

A full statement of our case in relation to the British regulations was made in my letters to you dated February 18, 1890, and May 20, 1891, and I will therefore only briefly review the salient features in this communication.

Since 1879 there has been an order enforced which requires all cattle, sheep, and swine from this country to be slaughtered at the port of landing within ten days after arrival. This regulation is extremely detrimental to one of the most important branches of our export trade, since it entirely prevents animals from going inland to be fed and prepared for market or from being shipped to those markets where at the time of arrival prices happen to be most remunerative. The result is that the sheep and swine trade has been practically destroyed, the shipment of store cattle is entirely prevented, and our shippers, it is estimated, fail to realize as much by about $10 per head for fat cattle as is received for the same class of animals from Canada, which are not subject to these regulations.

The prohibition on the introduction of sheep and swine was established because of the alleged existence of foot and mouth disease in the United States; but it has been shown that this disease never existed here except in the case of a few small herds of cattle which were imported from Great Britain, and in these cases it was promptly stamped out at the port of entry. There has not been a case of this disease even at the port since March, 1884, and the regulations of this Department are now sufficiently stringent to prevent any introduction of the contagion.

The order against cattle was based on the existence of pleuro-pneumonia among the dairy cattle of a few small districts on the Atlantic seaboard. This disease, however, has been eradicated from the districts referred to by the prompt slaughter of all diseased and exposed animals. The only district where the disease has been discovered within the past ten months is a small section of the State of New Jersey, where a limited outbreak was discovered in September last. Every diseased and exposed animal was promptly slaughtered, the whole section was held under the most rigid quarantine, premises have been thoroughly disinfected, and I have every reason to believe that the disease has been eradicated.

About eighteen months ago this Department stationed inspectors at the British ports where our cattle are landed, to observe the diseases, if any, with which they were affected on arrival. During that time, although nearly half a million head have been inspected, but two animals have been considered by the British inspectors to be affected with pleuro-pneumonia. These animals were shipped during the inclement weather of early spring and were believed by our inspectors to be affected with ordinary pneumonia brought on by exposure. The history of these animals was traced, and it was found that they could not have been exposed to the contagion of pleuro-pneumonia.

It is apparent from these facts that the prohibition against sheep and swine was made on incorrect information as to the existence of foot and mouth disease in the United States, and that justice requires its immediate removal. It is also apparent that there is no longer any danger of our export cattle being infected with [Page 324]pluro-pneumonia, if they ever were subjected to such danger in this country. With the regulations now in force, export cattle are carefully inspected before shipment, and their freedom from contagion is guaranteed.

If, however, the British Government should have any doubts about the safety of cattle shipped from the port of New York, we would be satisfied for the present with an order removing the prohibition from cattle shipped from Chicago by way of Portland, Me., Boston, Baltimore, and Newport News. This would insure that no export cattle would go near any districts where pleuro-pneumonia had existed during the last two years.

The authorities of Great Britain are expressly given the power by act of Parliament, I understand, to relieve certain sections of any country from the effect of such prohibitions when such country has adopted proper regulations to prevent the spread of the contagious diseases of animals. There is no reason why such a regulation as is above suggested should not be made at once, and its adoption would be a gratifying evidence to our people of a friendly spirit, and of a desire to place no greater hardships on our trade than are believed to be necessary to prevent the introduction of diseases dangerous to the cattle of that country.

It should be noted in this connection that, although pleuro-pneumonia has been disseminated over Great Britain for many years, this Government has never adopted a prohibition against the cattle of that country, but has allowed them admission alter a reasonable quarantine. It should also be noted that although the sheep and swine of Great Britain are affected by the same diseases as affect the sheep and swine of the United States, no prohibition has been adopted against these animals, but after a few days’ quarantine they are allowed to go to any port of the country.

These facts are mentioned to show that the regulations of this Government have been framed in a friendly spirit, and with a view to facilitate the trade between the two countries, and I trust that when our case is fully presented to the British Government they will be willing to make such favorable modification of their regulations as is justified by the present condition of affairs in the United States.

The Canadian Government has long enforced a quarantine of ninety days on cattle imported from the United States, on account of the alleged danger of these animals being affected with pleuro-pneumonia. This quarantine entirely prevents the shipment of such animals, and is a great hardship to our farmers. For the reasons given above, this quarantine should now be removed. If there are still fears in regard to the State of New Jersey, we would be satisfied to have the quarantine applied to cattle from that State, in case cattle from other States are exempted from its provisions.

Believing that the time has come for a vigorous presentation of these facts,

I have, etc.,

J. M. Rusk, Secretary.