THIRD REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS appointed to inquire into the 

ORIGIN and NATURE, &c. of the CATTLE PLAGUE; with AN APPENDIX

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty. 1866   

TO THE QUEEN’S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY

 

IN our Second Report submitted to Your Majesty, we stated that we had requested several gentlemen, eminent in medicine and chemistry, to investigate the Cattle Plague from some special points of view.*

{The names of the gentlemen who undertook these inquiries, and the subjects of their investigations, are-

Nature, propagation, progress, and symptoms of the disease; J. B. Sanderson, M.D.
General pathology of the disease, and its relation to human diseases; C. Murchison, M.D.
Chemical pathology of the disease; W. Marcet, M.D., F.R.S.
Morbid anatomy of the disease; J. S. Bristowe, M.D.
Microscopical researches on the disease; L. S. Beale, M.D., F.R.S. Treatment; George Varnell, M.R.C.V.S., and William Pritchard, M.R.C.V.S.
Disinfection; R. Angus Smith, Ph. D., F.R.S., and W. Crookes, F.R.S.
}

The reports which we have received from them we now lay before Your Majesty as a part of the Appendix to this our Third and final Report. In doing so, we desire first to express our obligations to them for their work, undertaken at the shortest notice and performed under the disadvantage of having a very limited time allowed for it; and further, to record our sense of the valuable additions which they have made to the stock of knowledge which previously existed respecting the disease. In these acknowledgments we include the Edinburgh Cattle Plague Committee, who have furnished us with a valuable paper embodying the result of their inquiries.*

{This Committee consisted of the following gentlemen:-

Professor Dick, V.S. ; James A. Hunter, M.D. ; Henry J. Littlejohn, M.D. ; Professor Douglas Maclagan, M,D.; Dr. Lyon Playfair, C.B., F.R.S. ; C. S. Romanis, V.S. ; Sir James Y. Simpson, Bart., M .D. ; Professor Strangeways, V.S. ; Professor John Wilson; ANDREW WOOD, M.D., Chairman.

    Some of these investigations might with advantage be pursued further, in directions pointed out by the reporters themselves. We recommend these suggestions to the consideration of Your Majesty's Government.

    In our own present Report we shall avoid entering into discussions on doubtful points, and shall content ourselves with marking out, as briefly and plainly as we can, such of the results arrived at by observation and experiment as we deem most important, and arranging them in what seems to us the most convenient order. Thus we shall consider, first, the symptoms and course of the disease, and the nature of it, as deduced from those symptoms. We shall then proceed to the question, how and whence it originated; and shall afterwards pass on to the means of prevention and cure, and the precautions which should be taken in order to prevent future outbreaks of it.

  The preparation of this Report has, from its nature, devolved mainly on the medical members of the Commission, and their colleagues necessarily rely on them for the soundness of the views expressed in it on questions of medicine, chemistry, and physiology.

1. Symptoms and Course of the Disease.

    We were anxious to ascertain, in the first place, what are the earliest signs which can be relied on as indicating the existence of the disease. As to this point, the inquiries set on foot in this country, first by Professor Gamgee and then by Dr. Sanderson, establish this fact, that a rise of temperature precedes any other symptom. Within a period ranging from 36 to 48 hours after an animal has taken the Cattle Plague inoculation, the natural temperature rises from 102° Fahr., or a little above, to 104° even to 105 1/2°. This occurs at a time when the animal appears to be in no way ill. It follows therefore that the length of the incubative period, that is, of the time when the disease is hatching in the body, is less than was supposed. The disease can be detected at least two days earlier than has been hitherto believed, and the duration assigned to the incubative period must be reduced by that time.

  This discovery has practical importance. It may and ought to lead to an earlier separation of sick from sound animals, and may also render it possible to shorten the period of quarantine.

    Two days after the perceptible rise of temperature has begun, the next sign occurs namely, a peculiar condition of, or eruption on, the lining membrane of the mouth. It resembles at first sight the appearance in the foot and mouth disease, but can readily be distinguished from it by a practised eye. Dr. Sanderson has found it in every case (80 in all) seen by him, and in every instance he has been able to recognize the disease from this sign alone. It has been stated, however, that in rare instances it has been absent. Almost simultaneously there occurs a very distinctive appearance on the mucous membrane of the vagina. It appears that one or other of these signs is very rarely absent; so that when they are taken in connection with the elevation of temperature the diagnosis of the disease can be made with certainty.

  On the day following the appearance of the eruption, or about 72 hours after the first elevation of temperature, the animal may be observed to be a little ill, to have less appetite than usual, and to ruminate irregularly. Even at this time, however, the pulse may be unaltered. On the following day, the fourth from the first rise of the temperature, the animal for the first time shows marked symptoms of illness, and this period, which may be 110 hours after the real commencement, is usually considered by superficial observers as the beginning of the disease.

  The seriousness of this oversight is obvious, not only on account of the great importance of the earliest possible separation and isolation, but in regard to treatment. The very earliest recognition of the disease is essential, if a remedy is to be discovered, for it is within the first four days that any remedy is most likely to be efficacious.

    After the fourth day is over the constitution is thoroughly invaded. Then ensue the urgent symptoms, - the drooping head, the hanging ears, the distressed look, the failing pulse, the oppressed breathing, the discharge from the eyes, nose, and mouth, the eruption of the skin, the foetid breath, and the other well-known signs of the disease.

    During the sixth day there occurs a great diminution of the contractile force of the heart and voluntary muscles, the pulse becomes very feeble and thready, the respiratory movements are modified, and the animal sometimes shows such weakness in the limbs that it has even been thought that some special paralytic affection of the spinal nerve must exist. The temperature now rapidly falls, and signs of a great diminution in the normal chemical changes in the body appear.

    Death usually occurs on the following or seventh day from the first perceptible elevation of temperature.

    Although this is given as the typical course of the disease, there are great deviation from it, as some animals live a longer, many a much shorter  time, and the severity and sequence of the symptoms vary considerably.

    The causes leading to these symptoms, or, in other words, the reasons why these alterations from health occur, may be thus stated. A peculiar agent causes first of all a morbid state of the blood. Coincident with the first elevation of temperature and, of course, long before there is the least outward appearance of ill-health, the blood of an animal which has taken the Cattle Plague contains an agent which can produce the plague in another animal. In other words, the earliest fact which can made out after infection is, that the blood contains the poison of the disease, so that serum obtained from it will give the disease by inoculation. This fact, ascertained by Dr. Sanderson, is the most important pathological discovery yet made in Cattle Plague. It is pregnant with consequences in medical doctrine, for though the existence of a similar fact has been long suspected in several human diseases, it has never been proved in any. So material, indeed, is it that we must dwell on it for a moment.

The poison contained in a minute portion of the mucous discharge from the eyes and mouth of an animal ill with Cattle Plague, if placed in the blood of a healthy animal increases so fast that in less than 48 hours, perhaps in a far shorter time, the whole mass of blood, weighing many pounds, is infected, and every small particle of that blood contains enough poison to give the disease to another animal. [This is quoted, and Dr. Beale named, by Darwin in Chapter 27 of Animals and Plants under Domestication, 1868: it seems that he did not read the Report directly, but saw the quotation in the Gardeners' Chronicle.]

This at once accounts for the rapid spread of the Cattle Plague. The agent is multiplied to a large amount in a very short space of time. How soon after the poison is put into the blood the animal becomes capable of giving the disease by natural infection to other animals, is not determined; possibly not until those parts of the body which can give off products to the air become impregnated with poison. At what time the blood and the textures cease to be able to give the disease, is also not determined; nor, when the poison mixed with mucus or with serum is exposed to the air, can a definite time be named when its energy is destroyed. * {When carefully protected the mucous discharges have occasionally retained their power of giving the disease by inoculation for no less a time than eleven months, according to Professor Jessen of Dorpat. Ravitsch also has kept the poison for seven months.}  

    As far as we can judge, the elevation of temperature, or (to use the usual medical term) fever, begins when the poison  has infected the whole mass of blood, i.e., within from about 40 to 60 hours after its first entrance into the system. At the same time the chemical changes in the body are augmented and one of the ultimate products of disintegrated tissue, urea, is, according to Dr. Marcet, largely increased in amount. Soon wards (the time cannot be stated with precision), the blood is otherwise altered, the mount of fibrine is largely increased, the amount of water is lessened, and possibly physical condition of the albumen may be altered, if we may judge from the change which Dr. Marcet observes in the diffusibility of the albumen of the muscles. According to Dr. Beale, the proportion of soluble substances is also largely increased.

  The next phenomenon which can be observed is an alteration in the circulation. Almost everywhere, but more especially on the mucous surfaces and on the skin, there occur on the third or fourth day local congestions varying in size and intensity. In many  places obstructions occur, and coagulations of blood in the capillaries; and in some cases the blood becomes quite stagnant.

    A great increase of granular matter is found to take place both within, and outside of, the vessels of the affected parts. The capillary vessels themselves are greatly enlarged, and the spaces between them are lessened or even obliterated. At same time a considerable nutritive alteration goes on in the mucous membrane and skin, which leads to very rapid and imperfect growth of many of the cellular elements, and this is followed by a rapid disintegration and detachment in the form of discharges. As that portion of the mucous membrane which is most essential for the digestion of the food is most affected, the appetite soon fails, rumination ceases, and accumulations of undigested fodder are met with in the first stomach. In many cases the villi of the small intestine are so destroyed that even if food were taken it would scarcely be absorbed in sufficient quantity to maintain life, and hence the rapid exhaustion, failure of the heart's action, depression of the animal heat, and general sinking of the powers. In some cases, when the process is more superficial, the membrane recovers its former structure, and that rapidly, and it is curious to find one affected part may be healing while another is just beginning to suffer.

     When, as sometimes happens, the mucous membrane most affected by the congestion is that of the lungs, the phenomena are not less severe; indeed the disease is sometimes more quickly fatal. A slight cough is soon followed by accelerated breathing, which rapidly increases; and not unfrequently the difficulty becomes so great that some of air vesicles are broken, and the air passes into the cellular tissue between the lobules, and from this it reaches even the subcutaneous textures of the back. This is believed by Dr. Bristowe and Dr. Sanderson to be the cause of the emphysema which they fully describe.

    Reviewing this train of symptoms, it appears that the amount of fever, that is, the extent of the rise of temperature, does not constitute the danger of the disease; in some of Dr. Sanderson’s cases the temperature was higher in beasts which recovered than in others which died. The true measure of the danger should rather, it seems, be sought in the changes in the nutrition of the digestive or respiratory mucous membranes, or in the failure in muscular contractility. This latter condition is itself probably in part a consequence of the former, though whether it is entirely so we are not prepared to say.

    The Russian pathologist, Ravitsch, has already described with great accuracy some of these congestive phenomena, and his observations are fully confirmed and extended in the reports of Dr. Bristowe, Dr. Beale, Dr. Sanderson, and Dr. Murchison.

     The immediate cause of these violent congestions, and of the consequent obstructions of the capillary circulation, which really constitute the great danger of the disease, is still unascertained. The explanation  which Dr. Beale gives*{Dr. Beale's Report, Appendix A., p. 152} is, that the poison itself consists of extremely minute particles of living matter, which multiply in the blood, and cause local capillary obstruction, which passes on into complete stagnation. In consequence of the impeded circulation, an increased proportion of soluble nutrient matter permeates the vascular walls, and gains access to the nuclei of the vessels and adjacent tissues, which increase much in size. This change is associated with, and causes, the rise of temperature which occurs at this period of the disease.

     If regarded from a chemical point of view, it appears probable that this immediate cause resides in an increased zymotic action in the blood and in the textures, whence increased temperature, accelerated circulation, more rapid growth, congestion, obstruction, and disintegration ensue.

    Whatever may be the cause of these very general congestions and nutritive alterations the remarkable fact obtains that poison is present in the discharges from the mucous membrane, and hence at this period the beast is most highly infectious. The matter runs down the hide to the floor or woodwork, and when dry may be carried as dust the air, and infect other beasts when received on the absorbing surfaces of the eyes, nose, mouth, lungs, or stomach.

   

2. Nature of the Disease.

 

    Since it is certain that the cause of the disease is actually contained in the mucous discharges, and in the blood, and probably in the textures, of a beast ill with Cattle Plague, inasmuch as a healthy animal can be inoculated with these substances at any time, and the poison can, as experience shows, be carried, if need be, hundreds of miles in portions of these substances, it might be supposed that there would be no difficulty in separating and demonstrating the virus itself.

    Dr. Beale has examined portions of infected blood textures and mucous discharges with the highest magnifying powers that exist, namely, 1/50th of an inch focal adjustment. This magnifies 2,800 diameters; or, - to express the magnifying power by some examples; - an inch would appear to extend over 111 yards, and a child three feet tall would look as high as Mont Blanc. With such power, particles of even 1/100000th of an inch in diameter, having any distinct character, would not be passed over. But he has found no definitely formed substance that can certainly be said to be the cause the Cattle Plague. He finds a great increase of granular matter, but no new appearance decidedly characteristic of the disease. Possibly this granular matter may be the poison; possibly again it may exist in particles of definite form, and of' a size still smaller than 1/100000th of an inch, but which might be perceived if it were possible to construct instruments of still higher magnifying powers; more probably it is matter of a kind which is and will always be undiscoverable by the microscope. The peculiar entozoon-like bodies (Rainey’s corpuscles) which are found so frequently in the muscles of animals dead with Cattle Plague, are not peculiar to this disease, and may be absent in it. They cannot therefore be the poison.

      As the microscope fails us, we turn to chemistry to detect the substance, but chemistry has not hitherto separated the poison, and no chemical test as yet exists by which it can be recognized. An examination of the air vitiated by the disease is described in the report of Dr. Angus Smith. Chemistry has as yet found in Cattle Plague no complex albuminoid matter in a state of rapid chemical change capable of communicating its own action to the albumen of the serum of the blood and of the textures of cattle.

     Hence it is only by its effects on the living body that the poison can be identified. In this it resembles other animal poisons which affect animals and man.* {The word poison, as applied to the cause of Cattle Plague, is used in the general medical meaning. Unlike a chemical, corrosive, or irritant poison, it requires a second condition to be present, for it does not act unless certain favouring conditions also exist. The terms “germ” or “growth” are used because no better expressions can be found. They seem to imply an independent living existence of the poison, and on this point our knowledge is not yet sufficiently definite. Care must be taken that the terms used do lead to erroneous conclusions.} From the mode of increase and of action of these animal poisons a comparison has been drawn between the diseases they produce and fermentations. But, as Dr. Angus Smith's report shows the chemistry of the various kinds of fermentation is at present in a state of great uncertainty, and the different views of Liebig and Pasteur still offer questions for discussion. The action which takes place in these diseases may be very different from that of any ordinary fermentation.

     Whatever be the nature of the action, the poison certainly requires a peculiar condition in the body before it can act; thus it can multiply in the body of a bovine animal, or of a sheep, goat, deer, or gazelle, whilst we have no satisfactory proof that it is communicable to non-ruminants.

     Where the poison can act it increases rapidly, and causes a disease similar to that in the animal from which it was taken, whereas if placed in the body of a man; horses or dog, it produces no such effect. It follows that in the first-named animals there is some special condition or aptitude wanting in the others.

     But even in different species of animals, all of which are susceptible, the internal conditions are evidently not quite similar. The sheep and goat take the disease less easily than the ox. The disease also is in general less virulent, the symptoms and the post-mortem appearances being slighter, and the mortality less.

     Further, the virus, in passing through the body of an animal, usually renders it [the host animal] insusceptible of another attack. In all these respects this poison resembles several other animal poisons.

     If we desire to place the Cattle Plague in some recognized class of diseases, we must range it under the zymotic class, as formed by Dr. Farr. The maladies to which it has the closest alliance are the so-called exanthematous or eruptive fevers: its relation to the different members of this order will be found fully discussed in Dr. Murchison's and Dr. Bristowe's reports.

3. Origin and Propagation of the Disease.

    To answer the question, what should be done to limit the progress of the disease, or to prevent its return, we ought to know how it originated here, and the conditions of its propagation.

    If, for example, the Cattle Plague has spontaneously originated in this country from the way in which our cattle have been housed or fed, we might hope to show how such conditions act; and how they can be removed. If it originates in some wave of poisonous air which spreads over the country, and, after having a regular period of flow has a succeeding period of ebb and disappearance, we must be content with bearing what no care can foresee and no art control. If, however, Cattle Plague has been introduced among our herds by the arrival from infected places of cattle already diseased, and if it spreads entirely by contagion, it is obvious that means may lie used, which, if applied strictly and carefully, will be effectual, to prevent its return.

    We have been able to find no evidence of a spontaneous origin in England. The first known cases were all in animals collected from different parts of England and Holland, brought to the Metropolitan Market on one particular day, the 19th of June; they were purchased by different dairymen, and then taken to five sheds in different parts of London, namely, in Islington, Hackney, Lambeth, and Paddington. As there was no Cattle Plague in the parts of England whence these cattle came, and none in the sheds to which they were taken, and as the length of the incubation period, as well as the absence of any probable cause, negatives the idea of a spontaneous origination simultaneously in these five sheds, the conclusion becomes almost irresistible that the cattle must have caught the disease whilst standing for sale in the Metropolitan Market. Now this market is certainly the most likely place in England for Cattle Plague to be brought to from abroad, and if not the most unlikely, at any rate an unlikely place for it to spring up in.

  It ought to be a matter of no surprise that we have been unable to indicate the precise channel by which the poison came into the market; from the universal ignorance of the signs of the disease at that time, and the probable slaughter of the affected animal soon after the market, evidence, which might have led to the detection of it at the time, would pass unnoticed and would soon be lost altogether. But, as we have since traced several introductions from the Continent, there can be little doubt that it was introduced in the same way in the first instance, and was overlooked. Moreover, in most places in England where the disease has broken out, its introduction can be traced. It follows the lines of cattle traffic, and does not arise spontaneously. In the cases where no explanation can be obtained, we consider it more likely that the evidence is insufficient than that the rule proved by a multiplicity of instances should have such exceptions. In confirmation of this, we find the Austrian and Prussian veterinary surgeons declare that, whatever may be the origin of the disease in other countries, it is always brought by diseased cattle to them.

    The way in which the disease broke out and was destroyed in the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris, and over and over again in Aberdeenshire, its absence from Ireland, the manner in which it has spread in England and Scotland during the summer, autumn, and winter, - all these facts are conclusive evidence against the assumption of an occult atmospheric condition, and in favour of its spread by multiplication in the bodies of living animals.

      It is an important question, to what distance the poison maybe active when carried in the air. Professor Roll of Vienna speaks of its spreading round a sick animal for 20 or 30 paces, and of its being carried by currents of wind to a much greater distance, but the precise distance he does not undertake to determine. At the Royal Veterinary College on three occasions beasts kept about 20 yards from diseased animals did not suffer for three weeks. They were then moved into an infected shed and took the disease. On the other hand, at the Albert Veterinary College three animals kept 25 yards from some sick beasts took the disease; but then, although great care was taken to prevent carriage of infection, it is impossible to be quite sure that there was no direct transport. A distance of 100 or 200 yards in some cases appears to have given immunity, while in others beasts have been affected, and presumably through the air, at longer distances. Possibly it may drift under special circumstances, as in hollows or valleys, with an almost stagnant air, whereas in an open country, and with a rapidly moving air, it may be soon so much diluted and oxidised as to be innocuous. No distance can be specified as sufficient to ensure safety; as a matter of prudence the greatest possible distance should be placed between sick and healthy beasts. Where the farms are small, and the homesteads near together, the disease spreads faster, as might be expected, than where they are scattered over a wider surface.

    The influence of varieties of soil on the spread of the disease seems not to be marked, and there is no evidence that meteorological conditions produce a decided effect, In winter the increased crowding together of cattle may make the disease more fatal, whilst in summer the movement of animals may extend it more widely. Differences of elevation may be important. In Yorkshire, which was selected by Mr. Williams for examination in this respect as a large county with great varieties of surface, and where the plague had been severe, it appears to have adhered almost entirely to the low lands and the dales, and not a single outbreak is recorded at a height of 1,000 feet.* {Report prepared by the Secretary of the Veterinary Department for the information of the Privy Council, p. 35.} In several counties - Norfolk, Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Buckinghamshire - the disease has been observed to be more severe, if not more prevalent, in marshy and low-lying districts.

     With regard to sanitary conditions, such as the amount of cubic space and ventilation in cattle sheds, the contamination of the air by the products of decomposing manure, and the supply of pure or impure water, the facts observed may be briefly thus summed up:-

    There can be no doubt that overcrowding, or what is the same thing, deficient ventilation, and the custom of retaining the manure within or close to cattle sheds, cause the plague to spread faster and to be more fatal. The action is probably twofold: the poison is less diluted, so that animals receive it in larger quantities, and they are at the same time in a worse condition to withstand it. The supply of impure water also appears to increase the fatality, but we have not yet been able to satisfy ourselves that the virus is actually taken in with the drinking water, although such a mode of communication is not improbable.

    Although important as influencing the spread of the poison when introduced, unfavourable sanitary conditions are subsidiary; they neither produce the poison, nor can the best sanitary condition be relied upon to exclude it. In some of the worst cowsheds in London the plague has not yet penetrated; in some of the best it has swept, the stock entirely away.* {Although the evidence which has been placed before us shows that the condition of the London cowhouses has been very much improved of late years, chiefly by the exertions of the Metropolitan Officers of Health, it is yet certain that a better system of licensing ought to be adopted. Sanitary regulations are not uniform, are sometimes irregularly enforced, and can only be carried out by threatening opposition to the renewal of the licence. In all parts of the metropolis the keeper of a cowshed should be subjected to the same rules, and he should be called on to show, before he obtains his licence, that he is prepared to fulfil the rules. There is still much needed to be done in the way of securing a larger cubic space, more thorough ventilation and drainage, earlier removal of manure, and better supply of pure water.}

    We adhere then to the opinion we formerly expressed, that the true mode of preventing the spread of the Cattle Plague is to treat it as an entirely contagious disease. We believe this expresses the whole truth; but if it be not so, if some other conditions, of which we know nothing, favour or restrict its spread, this does not remove our obligation to act on what is ascertained with certainty.

 

4. Disinfection.

    Disinfection, in the sense in which the word is used here, implies the destruction of an animal poison in whatever way it is accomplished. To find a perfect disinfectant for the Cattle Plague poison would be to stop the disease at once. We have naturally been very desirous of discovering a substance with such a power; but much more evidence is necessary before we can venture to affirm that success has been obtained.

    In the first instance we requested Dr. Angus Smith to undertake this subject, with a view of seeing what chemical agent would be best suited for the purpose. Subsequently, at his suggestion, Mr. Crookes was asked to carry on various practical trials which might test the efficacy of two agents which Dr. Angus Smith had reported to us as likely to be useful.

    We refer to the reports of these two gentlemen for an explanation of the present doctrines of infection, and an enumeration of the different substances which may be used to destroy the poison.

    On examining these different agents it is soon found that the number of those which can be employed with advantage is limited.

    Since the poison is constantly given off in discharges flowing from diseased surfaces, and since it may be suspended like impalpable dust in the air, it becomes necessary that any disinfectant should act continuously both on the discharges and on the air. No disinfectant can be efficacious if its action is intermittent, or if it does not act on both sources of danger.

     It is evident indeed that the poison ought to be destroyed at the very moment of evolution or discharge. Every minute during which it remains active increases the danger. The disinfectant must therefore not only be both fixed and volatile, but so cheap and easily used as to be continually in action, and it must of course be innocuous to cattle and men.

    A large number of substances which can be used in many other cases as disinfectants must be put aside, as not meeting these necessary conditions. Compounds of iron, zinc, lead, manganese, arsenic, sodium, lime, or charcoal powder, and many other substances, want the volatile disinfecting power; iodine, bromine, nitrous acid, and some other bodies are too dear, or are entirely volatile, or are injurious to the cattle.

     On full consideration, it appears that the choice must lie between chlorine, ozone, sulphur, and the tar acids (carbolic and cresylic). Two of these bodies, viz., chlorine, in the shape of chloride of lime, and the tar acids, have the great advantage of being both liquid and aeriform; they can be at once added to discharges, and constantly diffused in the air.

  All these four substances - chlorine, ozone, sulphurous acid, and the tar acids - have been practically tested, either in England or on the Continent, and there is considerable evidence that they all actually do destroy the Cattle Plague poison. Their precise mode of action is still uncertain. Chlorine and ozone act, no doubt, as powerful oxidisers, converting animal poisons into simple and innocuous substances. Sulphurous acid probably destroys the virus by its strong antiseptic powers. The tar acids, according to the experiments of Mr. Crookes, neither interrupt nor accelerate oxidation, but they act most powerfully in arresting all kinds of fermentative and putrefactive changes, and annihilate with the greatest certainty all the lower forms of life.

     After a full consideration of the relative merits of the four disinfectants, and after some practical trials, Mr. Crookes arrived at the conclusion that the most powerful, and at the same time most simple, process of disinfection would be to use the tar acids as constant liquid and aeriform disinfectants, and sulphur in the form of sulphurous acid as an additional and occasional agency. In our First Report we recommended both these agents in a state of combination; the best mode of using them in a free state will be found detailed in Mr. Crookes's report, and in the Instructions which we furnished to Your Majesty's Government in February last, and which will be found in the Appendix.

    The general result of experiments on disinfection with carbolic acid and sulphur is certainly very encouraging. For the details of these experiments, which have been careful and searching, we refer to Mr. Crookes's report. It is of course most desirable that no false hopes should be raised, for we have seen but too many instances in which a rude disappointment has utterly crushed what seemed reasonable expectations. But no one can peruse the account of what has been done without seeing that a fair case has been made out for a large and systematic trial of these measures. They must, however, be fairly tried; they must be used with perseverance and energy; not grudgingly or insufficiently, as has sometimes been the case, but with the determination to keep the disinfectant in presence of the poison everywhere and constantly, so that every particle of virus may be, without fail, subjected to its action.

    For the reasons stated in Mr. Crookes's report, it appears that chloride of lime is inferior to the combined use of carbolic and sulphurous acids. But there is no doubt of the efficacy of this agent, and in certain circumstances, as for the washing of railway trucks, it may be employed in addition to boiling water or steam.

     It is very desirable that the use of carbolic acid should become general throughout the country in uninfected as well as in infected districts. There is little doubt that even were there no danger from Cattle Plague, the great purifying effect of this substance on the air of cattle sheds would contribute greatly to the health of the animals.

   

5. Substitution of' a milder Disease, - Inoculation and Vaccination.

  The substitution of a mild for a fatal disease, as of cowpox for human smallpox, has naturally been hoped for in Cattle Plague. It will be seen in the report of Dr. Sanderson, and appears also from experiments tried at the Royal Veterinary College, that the vaccine virus, whether taken direct from cows, or after passing through the human body, has no effect on Cattle Plague; and that human smallpox and the virus of the smallpox of sheep (variola ovina) have likewise no influence. The virus of Cattle Plague, after transmission through the bodies of sheep and goats, returned into the body of an ox, is found to have lost none of its intensity. Repeated transmission of the virus through cattle weakens its power, but in no very sensible degree. At present the vehicle of the poison, whether it be blood serum or mucous discharge, appears also to influence its action very little if at all, while mere dilution has no effect whatever. In fact, all attempts either to weaken the power of the Cattle Plague poison or to find another agent which might make the system of the ox insusceptible to it have entirely failed.

 

6. Treatment.

  The Cattle Plague varies greatly in its severity and fatality. In some instances it has assumed a mild type, whilst in others it has killed ninety-five per cent. of the cattle attacked. No satisfactory explanation of this difference can be given. A consequence of it is, that the comparison of different modes of treatment in different places is thereby rendered exceedingly difficult.

  Returns of the results of treatment in nearly 10,000 cases have been obtained, by means of circulars, by the officers of the Veterinary Department. Out of these it appears that the total proportion of reported recoveries, according to the tabular state­ment prepared by Mr. Williams, was 26.256 per cent., and that they were nearly the same under every kind of treatment.

Mode of Treatment

Total number treated that recovered or died

Percentage

Recovered

Died

Antiphlogistic 958 27.453 72.547
Tonic and stimulant 2,301 25.858 74.142
Antiseptic 2,355 26.369 73.631
Special 1,173 25.831 74.169
Total 6,787 26.256 73.744

  On these returns the Secretary observes:-

" The information conveyed by these returns must, however, be taken with great caution, as of the 9,708 cases treated, after deducting those ‘killed’ and those ‘remaining,’ the average of those recovered amounts to more than 26 per cent., a result which far exceeds the experience of independent authorities, who have investigated the results of treatment both in cases under their own care, and also under the care of the appointed inspectors. In attempting to reconcile this anomaly, it must be borne in mind that a natural tendency exists to exaggerate, even unconsciously, the effects of a favourite system of treatment; and further, that in the zeal for subjecting cases to treatment at the earliest moment, animals have often been selected which are at the time free from the disease, and probably remain so for a considerable period, in fact so long as to cause them to be returned as cases of recovery. These are not mere suggestions, but statements based upon the results of numbers of modes of treatment which have been looked into by the medical officers of this department. In nearly every instance where an investigation has taken place of a method of treatment reported to be very successful, it has been found either that the animals had not been suffering from the disease, that they were still labouring under it, or, if the visit occurred some time after the reported recoveries, that they succumbed to the disease, with the usual percentage of loss, at a later period."

  Little reliance, therefore, can be placed on the proportion of recoveries claimed by these returns. The material point is, that with the widest differences in the modes treatment, there is hardly any difference in the alleged results; and the natural inference is, that the various drugs employed have produced little or no effect.

  From the experiments on treatment undertaken at our desire by Professor Varnell and Mr. Pritchard of the Royal Veterinary College, no satisfactory results were obtained. These experiments were necessarily conducted on a limited scale. To extend them more widely, or to test by actual trial one twentieth part of the multitude of suggestions which have been submitted to us - most of them, it must be added, merely conjectural and plainly valueless - would have required, not only a large expenditure of money, but a numerous staff of thoroughly competent veterinary surgeons, which neither was nor could have been placed at our disposal. No remedy can be pronounced successful until its actual operation has been accurately and repeatedly watched, or else until it is known to have been followed by uniformly favourable results in a very large number of cases. The area over which the disease has spread, and the interest which every stock-owner had in preserving his property, offered at the same time an ample guarantee that nothing which the ingenuity of practitioners could devise would be left unattempted; and it was certain that any remedy which achieved an apparent success would speedily become known, and would be widely, and therefore effectually tested.

  The number of experiments made by different persons has in fact been very great; one drug after another has been recommended, declared infallible, doubted, and discarded, and the general result is such as has been deduced from the returns quoted above.

  But, although, as respects the value of drugs, the evidence is merely negative, this is not the case as to diet. The information obtained by the Edinburgh Cattle Plague Committee shows that by judicious feeding with soft mashes of digestible food, the proportion of recoveries has been considerably and in some places very largely increased. This is consistent with the pathology of the disease. In fact out of 503 cases reported, 191 or nearly 38 per cent. recovered, and 312 or about 62 per cent. died. The result appears still more striking when the beasts are divided into two groups, according as they belonged to large or small stocks.

Number

Large stocks - 30 to 80 Cows

Number

Small stocks - under 30 cows

Percentage

Percentage

Recovered Died Recovered Died

303

22.2

77.8

200

62

38

  Thus the favourable nature of the Scotch results is largely dependent on the smallness of the stocks. In small stocks fewer beasts are ill at once; hence there is less concentration of the poison. There is less crowding of the sick beasts; and, the supply of labour being always relatively greater in small herds, a sick beast receives much more nursing and careful feeding than in large ones.

  The success represented by 38 per cent. of cures was in fact entirely owing to feeding, as appears from an analysis which the Edinburgh Committee have made of the dietary in 813 cases of Cattle Plague.

Kind of Dieting

Number of Cattle Recoveries per Cent.
1. Cottagers' cattle, generally fed on mash food

95

73.7

2. Larger stocks, where dry food was often given during convalescence

105

57.5

3. Cattle treated with mixed food of mashes and hay

303

22.2

4. Cattle fed with dry food, and treated medically with drugs

310

13.5

  The influence of a proper choice of food is here paramount; as to drugs, with the exception of some remedial means to treat urgent symptoms, and ammonia as a diffusible stimulant, the Edinburgh Committee do not recommend them.

  If we could always reckon on 73.7 per cent. of recoveries the Cattle Plague would lose its terrors, but this cannot be anticipated as a general result. The number of cases indeed is far too small to serve as a safe basis of calculation.

  It does not appear that any advantage is to be obtained by giving large quantities of stimulants.

  In some districts a very considerable number of relapses have occurred. That is, animals apparently convalescent and which had commenced again to ruminate and to give good milk have then again become ill with some of the symptoms of Cattle Plague and have died. This has occurred four and even six weeks after the first attack. The cause in almost all, if not in all, cases, is simply improper feeding, - dry and indigestible food has been given in too great quantity, and this has led to the fatal result.

  It may be thought that the experience of this fatal winter has produced but small result, if this regulation of the diet is all that we can recommend. But the value is great of negative as well as of positive knowledge. There can be no question that powerful drugs of all kinds greatly heighten the mortality of Cattle Plague. It is an important step to recognize that strong medicines are of all others the most unsuited to this disease. Perfect cleanliness, ample ventilation, constant disinfection of the air and discharges by tar acids, and the most careful feeding with soft mashes of the most digestible food, - such and such only are the measures which our present experience sanctions for the treatment of the disease.

  Although no drug has yet been of any use, it may be that this has arisen from the mode in which drugs have been employed. Dr. Sanderson 's experiments have taught us that the only chance of cure by drugs will lie in stopping the development of the poison, and thus limiting the nutritive changes that cause the congestion. When the local congestions are set up in any great degree, the hope of doing good by drugs is passed. It is possible, we wish we could say it is probable, that by placing some agent in the blood at an early stage the morbid processes may be controlled or the growth of the poison stopped.

    The sulphites and the tar acids have been thus used with the hope of arresting the changes which are going on in the blood in the commencement of Cattle Plague. Hitherto, certainly, the experiments which have been made in this direction have produced no very favourable result;  but they are not sufficiently numerous to establish any certain conclusion. Mr. Crookes has injected diluted carbolic acid into the veins in considerable quantity; in one experiment as much as 105 grains. The animals did not suffer; and in two or three cases there was decided improvement, temporary or permanent. But the results were not decisive; and it is probable that in several of the experiments the disease was too far advanced for a fair trial. He has also injected sulphite and bisulphite of soda into the blood of eight animals, in quantities of more than an ounce. In these cases, again, the disease was evidently three or four days old, which is probably too late for a successful trial. The treatment did no good.

    Dr. Sanderson has also performed experiments with injections of bisulphite of soda into the veins. The result of his experiments is, however, not favourable to the employment of the sulphites. Four beasts were selected; two were treated by injection of one drachm of bisulphite of soda into the veins two or three times a day; one by injection into the veins, combined with administration of the bisulphite by the mouth; one by the latter method only. In the first case one animal recovered; but the next two cases ran their course as usual, and ended fatally at the usual time. The fourth case was a mild one, and the animal recovered. Dr. Sanderson is satisfied that the drug exercises no influence on the progress of the disease.

    The plan of giving the sulphites by the mouth has been also tried by Professor Varnell without any good effect.* {Mr. Paton, Her Majesty's Consul at Ragusa, writing of the Cattle Plague in Dalmatia and the Herze­govina (18th October 1865), states that hyposulphite of soda is given as an antidote to the fermentation of the blood. Preparations of sulphur, mercury, and antimony are likewise administered as medicines. He observes, however, " The animals saved by medicines, or by the vis medicatrix naturae, are not above five per cent. of those attacked. We may therefore say, that medical science has not yet succeeded in finding an antidote to this calamitous agent. In a subsequent despatch he adds, “The principal apothecary here, a good practical chemist, whose interest it is to sell medicines, is of opinion that administering medicines in the Cattle Disease is a mere throwing away of money, and that isolation, if the case is slight, and slaughter, if the case is advanced, is the only effectual mode of dealing with it.” In Moldavia, as we learn from Her Majesty's Vice-Consul at Jassy, the best authorities entertain the same conviction; and the general opinion in South Russia appears to be the same, though the German colonists attach some value to a mode of treatment described in a recent despatch from Mr. Grenville Murray (App. D.). In Holland the Minister of the Interior, in his report on the Cattle Plague, dated 18th November 1865, wrote as follows:- “No mode of treatment has hitherto proved itself advantageous above any other. Veterinary practitioners seem to have found the greatest benefit from mineral acids, from quinine, and from carbolic acid. A favourable issue depends, according to them, in great measure on the care with which the beasts are tended, on cleanliness, and fresh air.” ‑ Rapport aan den Koning, Bijvoegsel tot de Nederlandsche Staats‑courant van 22nd. November 1865.}

  Another disinfecting agent, chlorine, has been used as a remedy by Dr. Angus Smith and others. The result of Dr. Angus Smith's experiments was not favourable. 'The inhalation of oxygen gas was also tried by Dr. Angus Smith; it seemed to relieve the difficulty of breathing, but otherwise was ineffectual. There was so much difficulty in giving the gas that he attempted to introduce it by giving the animals water charged with peroxide of hydrogen to drink. This also was useless.

  The method of treating the disease by the injection of substances under the skin (called the hypodermic method) has been tried in many instances at the Royal Veterinary College, but without any satisfactory results. These substances included tincture of opium, tincture of assafoetida, and tincture of quassia.

    Of the numerous plans of treatment which have been proposed during the course of the disease in this country some have enjoyed considerable reputation for a time. To one or  two of these reference may be made.

    Considerable success was claimed for a method of treatment applied at Mathenesse, near Schiedam, in South Holland, by two Belgian gentlemen, MM. Seutin and Gaudy; and, from the reports of the burgomaster of the place, coupled with the official returns weekly published for the whole of the Netherlands, we collect that the recoveries under their care exceeded the usual average. In the judgment, however, of the Dutch government - a judgment stated to have been formed on a thorough and impartial scrutiny - the difference was slight, and the results at Mathenesse were not more favourable than those obtained by several of the native practitioners. MM. Seutin and Gaudy stayed a month at Mathenesse, and returned home about the 21st of October, the Government declining to treat for a renewal of their practice on the terms proposed by them. The subsequent returns from the commune show that, from that date until the end of January, when the disease disappeared, almost every animal which took it was at once slaughtered, instead of being subjected to treatment. Nor does the experience gained there appear to have led to the adoption of the system at other places.

  M. Seutin's method is described as homoeopathic, but “not rigidly” so,* {Report of Mr. Barron on the Cattle Plague in Belgium, presented March 1866. See also Dr. Hamilton's letter, App. C., 11.} and the reports of its success led to a trial of homoeopathic treatment in England. Dr. Hamilton, an English homoeopathic physician visited, for the purpose of informing himself on the subject, both Mathenesse and Brussels, where he had interviews with M. Seutin and his colleague, and an association was formed under the presidency of the Duke of Marl­borough for trying the experiment here on an extended scale. Means for this were found in Norfolk, where all the cattle (45 in number) on several fauns were placed under the charge of veterinary surgeons appointed by the association, and subjected to preventive and curative treatment. The result is stated in a report made to us by Veterinary Surgeon Mayer, Royal Engineer Train, whom we had instructed, with the concu­rrence of the Association, to watch the trial on the spot, and on whose accuracy and partiality we could fully depend. Out of the forty-five, only one animal seems not to have contracted the disease; of the rest, four recovered and forty died. Homeeopathy has, it appears, been since tried at other places; but, we have had no opportunity of verifying the results said to have been obtained, and the information which has reached us has not been such as to encourage further inquiry.

  The treatment suggested by Mr. Worms, which was at one time largely used, consisted in the administration of assafoetida, ginger, onions, and garlic, and in the employm­ent of liquid food. The restriction as to food was probably the most important part of the treatment, for experience has shown that no reliance can be placed on the drugs alone.

  The inhalation of chloroform has been tried, and we have lately received favourable accounts of it. A very large experience, however, would be necessary in order to form correct estimate of its value. Should further experiments on the effect of drugs be made, that of the inhalation of chloroform might be tested and ascertained.

  It would be useless to enumerate other modes of treatment which have been suggested, but which offer no prospect of success. We must close this section of our Report with the admission, that in this as in other countries no drug has been found which can be recommended as either an antidote or a palliative. It may nevertheless be desirable, under stringent regulations, and by the instrumentality of competent persons, to investigate the influence which certain specific agents may have on the course of the disease, some of which will be found referred to in the reports submitted to us.

7. Future Precautions.

  We have not yet referred to the progress of the disease since the date of our Second Report. It has been remarkable and instructive. It will be remembered that there was a very rapid increase in the number of attacks at the end of November and the beginning of December 1865. The reported attacks rose from 3,610 and 3,828 in the weeks ending November 25th and December 2nd, to 5,356 and 6,054 in the two following weeks. The number of attacks then increased weekly until in the week ending February 17th, 1866, no less than 13,000 fresh attacks were reported* { It must be observed that these figures, and those which follow, are taken from the weekly returns, and will probably receive some corrections in the return for the quarter. The “back cases” reported in the week ending February 17th exceed 5,000.}

  We see no reason to doubt that the lessened rate of progress during the last two months is substantially due to the new repressive measures; viz., slaughter, stoppage of cattle traffic on railways, increased restriction of movement on common roads, and more complete measures of isolation and disinfection. In proof that the measures of isolation and slaughter were the effectual agents, we select the statistical returns from the counties of Yorkshire and Cheshire. The Act authorizing slaughter came into force on the 20th February, and, as will be seen, the diminution in the number of attacks in successive weeks was not only coincident with the action of the new restrictive measures, but runs a course closely parallel to the operation of the most important of these measures - slaughter.

Week ending

Yorkshire

Cheshire

Fresh attacks

Killed

Fresh attacks

Killed

Before the Act.

Jan 6 2,028 28 1,883 14
"  13 1,508 48 2,317 13
"  20 1,314 40 3,547 9
"  27 2,034 36 3,448 7
Feb. 3 1,426 23 3,005 3
"   10 1,455 17 4,671 11
"   17 1,836 51 4,378 8
           

After the Act.

"   24 1,369 277 3,671 446
March 3 1,193 739 1,273 855
"    10 811 882 1,827 1,514
"    17 999 972 1,380 1,151
"    24 683 659 1,271 1,104
"    31 534 517 765 660
April 7 338 330 808 707

  At the same time these figures show that the slaughter of diseased animals has been enforced with different degrees of stringency in different counties; it appears to have been more systematically done in Yorkshire than in Cheshire; in the latter count, indeed in no single week has the number of animals killed been equal to the attacks. In fact taking the six weeks ending March 31st, there were 10,187 animals attacked, and only 5,730 slaughtered. So that, if these returns are correct, 4,457 diseased animals were left in Cheshire to spread contagion. Or, omitting the first week after the passing of the Act, there were in the five weeks ending March 31st 1,232 diseased beasts left unslaughtered out of 6,516 attacks. In Yorkshire, in the same five weeks, there were 451 left unslaughtered out of 4,220 attacks. The Act has, therefore, been more fully carried out in Yorkshire than in Cheshire, though in neither county perfectly.

  Again, taking the reported numbers of attacks, deaths, and recoveries for the whole island, we find that they stand as follows:-

Week ending

Attacked.

Died.

Recovered.

March 3 7,310 3,271 2,102
"    10 6,518 1,185 1,151
"    17 6,261 779 1,014
"    24 4,704 318 543
"    31 3,956 154 394
April 7 3,361 131 267
"    14 2,582 108 354
"    21 2,823 93 210
Total 37,515 6,039 6,035

  Within these eight weeks more than 12,000 diseased animals appear to have escaped the operation of the Act.

  The very principle of stoppage by slaughter is to make the killing follow immediately on the attack. If there be any delay, - if treatment be resorted to and killing be delayed till hope of recovery is lost, - the object of slaughter is frustrated.

  As it is, the disease has been limited and partially arrested even by this imperfect enforcement of the Act. But we fear that the limitation will stop short of complete arrest. More vigorous action must be used, if it is to be utterly stamped out. To do this effectually demands unsparing strictness, as well as unremitting watchfulness. Too much stress, we must add, cannot be laid on the enforcement of disinfection. How long the poison may lurk in sheds and yards, or in manure, fodder, or other things, which may have been left undestroyed, cannot be known. The history of the attacks of Cattle Plague in the last century shows that, though the disease may be repressed in the country generally, or be apparently wholly extirpated in particular localities, it again breaks out where there has been any laxity in disinfecting the places where it at one time prevailed. Unless rigid and systematic means of disinfection are adopted through­out the country, there is much reason to fear that there will be many local outbreaks, which, if not immediately stamped out, may become general. For a long period the vigilance of local authorities, and a general supervision of them by the Government, must be exercised to prevent the reappearance of the disease in districts from which it has departed.* {* Layard, writing in 1757, says, “The disease, thank God, is considerably abated: and only breaks out now and then in such places where, for want of proper cleansing after the infection, or carelessness in burying the carcases, the putrid fomes is still preserved, and is ready, at a proper constitution of the air, or upon being uncovered, to disperse such a quantity of effluvia, that all the cattle which have not had it will be liable to infection."- (Layard, The Distemper among Horned Cattle, p. xx.)}

  With a view to the future, it is essential that the re-introduction of the disease from abroad be guarded against. In our Second Report we recommended to Your Majesty that foreign cattle should be slaughtered at the port of disembarkation, or, if sold for store purposes, should be placed in quarantine. We believe that the whole system of cattle transport should be revised; that good landing-places, lairs, and sheds, in which the cattle may be properly housed, tended, and inspected, should at once be constructed at the ports where cattle arrive; and that the trade in foreign cattle, which has grown of late years to such vast proportions, should be subjected to proper regulations.

  On another point, to which cursory reference was made at the conclusion of our Second Report, we wish to add a few words. There is hardly a country in Europe, we believe, in which laws have not been enacted, and where some machinery does not exist, for the detection, and for arresting the spread, of contagious diseases among cattle. Copies, extracts, or summaries of such laws and regulations have been sent home by Your Majesty's Ministers at many foreign Courts, - amongst the rest, from France, Belgium, Austria, Russia, Prussia, Denmark, Switzerland, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Hesse-Cassel. Several of these, or such portions of them as directly related to Cattle Plague, have been published in the Appendices to our First and Second Reports. Of these laws and regulations some are of old standing; parts of the French and Belgian codes date from periods anterior to the French revolution. Many of them are extremely stringent and minute: in Austria, in Russian Poland, and in Prussia, the genius of those Governments, and the constant neighbourhood of a formidable danger, would naturally beget a system of precautions which would be impossible, as well as plainly uncalled for, elsewhere; and the grazing cantons of Switzerland, with their vast tracts of open mountain pasture, might be expected to adopt measures which would be unsuitable to countries mainly arable. But the general frame is nearly the same everywhere. The common object is sought to be attained by most or all of the following means; -1. By making it the legal duty of the stock-owner (a duty enforced by penalties more or less severe) to give the earliest notice of the presence of a contagious disease; 2. By arming the local authorities, or the Executive in the last resort, with power to enforce separation, - the isolation (if necessary) of infected herds, places, or districts, - slaughter, purification, and disinfection, 3. By making pecuniary compensation to owners of animals slaughtered; 4. By providing, as far as may be, a supply of regularly trained and certificated veterinary surgeons; and by the appointment of some of these as district inspectors, with certain privileges and functions in relation especially to contagious diseases. There are, of course, infinite differences of detail. The regulations vary as regards the constitution of the local authorities; the powers given to them; the apportionment of power between them and the central Executive; the cases in which compensation is to be paid; the measure of compensation, which may be the whole, four-fifths, two-thirds, one-half, one-third, of the sound value of the beast destroyed; the fund on which compensation is charged, which may be local or general, and may be raised from the stock-owners as a class, or from the public;* {Thus in Prussia compensation is paid in certain cases by the district, in others by the Treasury, and, in provinces where Cattle Insurance Associations have been established, to which all stock-owners are obliged to contribute, by the funds of those associations. The principle of compulsory insurance is likewise adopted in Russian Poland, and applied to this object. In Belgium, it is paid by the State, which, it appears, has long had difficulty in keeping down the amount, and protecting itself against fraud and encroachment. In Holland, by local taxation; we believe, by a cattle-tax, supplemented last year by the Treasury. In Hanover, by a cattle-tax equal to 1 1/2 d. a head on cattle in the marsh and 1d. on those elsewhere – a levy which may be imposed, if necessary, six times in the year. In the grazing cantons of Switzerland, out of the sum produced by certificates of soundness, without which no animal may be moved, and for which 1d. a head is charged. The produce of these payments in the canton of Berne exceeded 17,000 l. at the end of last year.}  the degree of State interference in the training of the veterinary profession, and the duties and rights assigned to the members of it. But the same leading principles seem to be generally adopted. In this country the vaguely defined powers temporarily vested in the Privy Council by the Act 11 and 12 Vict. c. 107, amended and explained by an Act of the present session (29 Vict. c. 15), the Cattle Diseases Prevention Act, which will expire next year, together with the power of regulating importation created by the 11 & 12 Vict. c. 105, and the existence of a chartered “College,” or incorporated body of veterinary surgeons, and certain recognised places of veterinary instruction, are, we believe, all that stands in the place of the mass of precautionary measures above described. How far, and under what modifications, precautions which work well abroad are practicable or would be useful here, is a question which can only be answered by examining them. But we think it right to direct attention to the subject, and to the lessons taught by the history of the Cattle Plague during the last nine months in Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, and France. It is difficult, as we have seen, to extemporise codes of regulations - it is impossible to extemporise legal authority and administrative machinery - fast enough to cope with the ravages of a virulent contagious disease. Legal authority has now been obtained, regulations have been made, and machinery established. The whole system, however, is temporary, while the danger, in future, can hardly be regarded as something rare and occasional. The disease may reappear at any time, and without warning, and, when it does appear, means ought to be ready for crushing it without a moment's delay.

  We believe further, that it is now the time to carry out fully and permanently the changes required in the mode in which meat is supplied to our large towns. Considerable alterations have taken place already, and these have not been attended with the inconvenience which was anticipated. We would gladly see an inquiry instituted without delay, to determine whether slaughter-houses might not be transferred from all our large towns to suburban points on the lines of railway. A few large slaughter-houses, properly arranged on the best principles, and provided with pastures and sheds where the cattle could rest, would take the place of the innumerable ill-kept and ill-tended places which exist in all large towns. The change would eventually benefit alike the customer and the butcher, while the saving of pain and torture to the animals themselves would be immeasurable. The Cattle Plague has been a great calamity, but it has put a stop, for a time at least, to much that was cruel and pernicious in operation: we trust that this wholesome effect will be lasting, and that it will pave the way for more extensive reforms.

(Signed)

SPENCER.

CRANBORNE.

ROBERT LOWE.

LYON PLAYFAIR.

CLARE SEWELL READ.

H. BENCE JONES.

RICHARD QUAIN.

E. A. PARKES.

THOS. WORMALD.

ROBERT CEELY.

CHARLES SPOONER.

1st May 1866.

MOUNTAGUE BERNARD.

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