The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 1880.
Fifteen years ago, or thereby, the rinderpest ravaged many counties in Great Britain, while nearly every one more or less suffered. In some indeed, the cattle plague was so rife and so virulent that it seemed as if another Egyptian murrain of beasts had fallen upon the land. Veterinary surgeons were put upon their best mettle to cope with the inroads of the pest, which threw consternation amongst the Scotch farmers to such an extent that they and all living upon their homesteads almost wholly ceased to have communication with farms where the rinderpest existed, lest infection should be carried to their own cattle. Farmers, their families, and their laborers, who were unfortunate enough to’ own cattle or to attend cattle suffering from the plague, were avoided both at “kirk and market,” and many yeomen who valued their stock more than their salvation rigidly abstained from attending kirk at all, lest they should unwittingly make the kirk a means of infection as well as a means of grace. For some time the rinderpest was bravely wrestled with, but it was not until the extreme measure was adopted of “stamping out” the disease by killing every animal attacked and burying the carcase deeply that the plague was stayed. The local authorities of Aberdeenshire, however, were the first to adopt this idea, and they adopted it at the first, before the disease had had time to take any hold upon their herds, and as a result of these prompt if severe precautions the cattle of Aberdeenshire were saved.
Pleuro-pneumonia never reached in the the old country the formidable dimensions that rinderpest did, and never was such a scourge upon the cattle-yards, but it lias done serious damage in its time notwithstanding, and has caused incalculable mischief on many a farm. It is a foe the
farmer lias quite sufficient reason to dread, and it is not at ail matter for surprise that wo find the Auckland farmers rising up in rebellion against the importation of affected cattle from Australia. They are soliciting tiie Government to incur the cost of buying up all the cattle already imported from Australia, with the object of destroying the beasts, and at the same time putting a atop to the spread of disease. The action of the Auckland Agricultural and Pastoral Association shows that they .are fully alive to the danger that threatens, but at the same time ib seems to betoken a shortsiglu edness that ought not to characterise men who fear impending ruin. The Aberdonians saw the danger at once, and acted upon the first impulse for safety without appealing to Government at all. They raised money themselves, and indemnified the farmers who lost their cattle under the order of the local authority, and the money was well spent. Long ore the slow moving wheels of the government machinery can be put in motion to run in the cattle already sold, and probably scattered over the Auckland district, an amount of mischief may be done that many thousands of pounds would not cover, while a hundred or two spent at the proper time would have stopped at once and for ever the further progress of the disease. The Government of New Zealand has undertaken duties and assumed burdens and responsibilities just as foreign to its functions as buying diseased cattle with a view to stamping out disease, and with a Ministry in power made up as is the present one, we need not be surprised to learn that they have consented to buy the cattle, * but we would have been far better satisfied of the patriotism of the Auckland farmers if they had at once set about taking steps themselves for providing funds to defray the cost of the cattle’s purchases. That pleuro-pneumonia is troubling the sister colonies to some extent is a fret there can be no doubt of, and it ought to be a warning to all stock owners to be on the outlook. Doubtless an order in Council will be at once issued, closing New Zealand ports against the importation of cattle from any port of Australia, where the disease is known to exist. In another column we give some hints regarding plcuro and its treatment that may prove of value should occasion rise for their use.