On Monday the second reading of "the Diseases of Animals"
Bill was moved by Mr. Walter Long, the President of the Board of Agriculture, and gave rise to an interesting discussion. It really is a Bill to prevent the introduction of live cattle for breeding, which have hitherto been either excluded or admitted according to the judgment of the Administration. The Government maintains that this administrative discretion is really a much greater inter- ference with trade than a fixed rule enforced by law, for the English breeders do not know what to allow for, when they are liable at any moment to have the market opened by the discretion or indiscretion of a Minister to the influx of a number of foreign cattle, and also to have plenro-pneumonia introduced among their flocks in spite of all the pre- cautions that may be taken to keep out infected animals. And they deny that the exclusion of live cattle by a fixed rule will in any way raise the price of meat. On the contrary, frozen meat will come in much more steadily, and probably cheaper. The Opposition took the other view, and maintained that it was really a Bill to protect the English breeders from the competition of foreign cattle, to which the Government replied that only 61 per cent. of the great grazing counties were really opposed to the Bill, and that the great majority were favourable to it. The Bill was read a second time by 244 to 95, or a majority of 149. It is not always easy to say in cases like this what is protective legislation and what is only wise pre- caution, but in this case we think the attack on the Bill as a protective measure in disguise, failed. Besides, this measure will do much to stop the horrible cruelties inflicted on cattle at sea.