Mr. Foster to Mr. White.

No. 969.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter of the 16th instant from the Secretary of Agriculture, in relation to the restrictions upon the importation of American live cattle into England.

The facts stated may be communicated so far as necessary to base upon them the specific inquiry with which Mr. Rusk’s letter concludes, as to the status of Canada under the British contagious diseases (animals) act. Protest against treatment of American cattle may be reserved for the present.

I am, etc.,

John W. Foster.
[Inclosure to No. 969.]

Mr. Rusk to Mr. Foster.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 14th instant, inclosing a copy of dispatch No. 812, from the chargè d’affaires at London covering copy of a note addressed by him to the Earl of Rosebery, relative to restrictions upon the importation of American live cattle into England.

Concerning this subject I would state that since my former communication to you an inspector has been sent to each one of the farms from which the cattle came that composed the lot shipped from Cincinnati, one of which was alleged by the English inspectors to be affected with contagious pleuro-pneumonia when it was slaughtered at Deptford, on October 12, 1892.

All of these farms were found to be free from disease, and it is conclusively shown that there never has been any pleuro-pneumonia in the localities where they are situated. It may be stated with equal positiveness that none of these cattle could by any possibility have been exposed to the contagion of that disease on their way to the vessel which transported them to Great Britain.

It should also be added that a specimen of the affected lung of the animal in question has been received from our inspector at London, and carefully examined by the experts of this Department. This specimen presents a small area affected with inflammation, but it has none of the peculiar appearances of pleuro-pneumonia. It is the kind of lesion which might be expected to follow from an injury to the animal or exposure to drafts or changes of temperature on board the ship.

Such alterations of the lungs are not uncommon with animals which undergo the discomforts and exposures incident to long journeys by rail and steamship, and there is no doubt that they will be found in a small proportion of American bullocks as long as they are shipped across the ocean.

They have also been observed in English cattle shipped to the United States. This being the case, it becomes a serious question if such unimportant and noncontagious affections are to be accepted by the Government of Great Britain as sufficient [Page 347]reason for continuing the restrictions upon the live-cattle trade which have been in operation for so long a period. It simply means that an unjust discrimination is to be enforced for all time against one of the most important branches of our trade with that country. Against such a discrimination this Government has a right to protest in the most vigorous language at its command.

It has recently been stated by the press of Great Britain that a cow shipped to that country from Canada was officially pronounced to be affected with contagious pleuro-pneumonia, that over 100 head of cattle exposed to it have been slaughtered, and that an order has been issued requiring all Canadian cattle to be slaughtered on the docks where landed.

With these official statements before this Department it becomes necessary to consider what restrictions are to be placed by this Government upon cattle coming into the United States from Canada. By the expenditure of a large sum of money we have eradicated pleuro-pneumonia, and I am positive that the country is now free from the contagion of that disease. It is an imperative duty to protect our herds from it in the future, and if Canada is officially declared by the British Government to be an infected country, there is nothing left for us to do but to enforce quarantine regulations in connection with all shipments of cattle from Canada to the United States.

I should like to be informed if the Government of Great Britain has any reasons to offer why the United States should not apply the same measures to Canadian cattle coming to the United States which are enforced when such cattle are landed in England or Scotland.

Personally, I am of the opinion that the same error has been made in diagnosing the disease affecting the Canadian cow which was made in connection with the American bullocks, and for that reason I have delayed the quarantine restrictions in the hope that a further investigation would be made and a more liberal policy adopted by the British Government. If such is not to be expected, however, then I see no alternative but to apply the same regulations, and for the same reason, to cattle imported into this country from Great Britain and its dependencies.

Requesting that the proper representation of this subject be made to that Government,

I have, etc.,

J. M. Rusk.