The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER THURSDAY, MAY 13, 1880.
The resolution of the Geraldine County Council requesting the Governor, by Order-in-Council, to prohibit the importation to the South Island of stock from the North Island and from Australia has given offence, as we had no doubt it would, to several districts in the North Island. Government does not see its way to advise His Excellency to give effect to the wishes of the Geraldine County Council in the matter of prohibition, and perhaps there is no harm done ; but the storm that some North Island newspapers are making over the action of the Geraldine County and all who followed, like Ashburton, in their wake, is quite violent, and the motives attributed to those who made the request to Government are of the most praiseworthy kind, to be sure. One paper, after expressing its wonder at what all the outcry is abjut, gives out a belief that the idea of stopping the importation was not conceived with a view to prevent infection from reaching the South Island, but with a purpose to crush out the Northern trade in cattle with the South. Yet we are very much mistaken if the same newspaper did not advocate for its own district complete isolation from the districts where the plague of plcuro pneumonia was raging. As soon, however, as the Southern stock-raisers, in their own defence, sought to close the avenues by which any stray pleuroaffected cattle could find their way South, there is a cry raised that Southern rivalry desires .to crush Northern trade, and to secure better prices for its own cattle. Doubtless the Southern farmers will feel highly flattered at the very charitable construction that has been put upon their action. We would be exceedingly sorry to see the trade of the North Island in cattle injured by a prohibition of export ; but we would be very much more so to see our own herds infected with the dreaded pleuro. And surely if it is right for districts in the North to protect themselves from each other, and the colony to protect itself from infected Australia, it is equally right for the South Island to protect itself against the North, especially when it knows, and when those who are crying out confess, that the plague is making sad havoc amongst the herds. We are glad, however, to learn that the settlers in the affected districts are wrestling loyally and manfully with the disease, which has as yet been pretty successfully confined to a limited area, through a most liberal and vigorous stamping out process. In fact, in some cases, the Waikato especially, complaints are loud that the stamping out has been too liberal, inasmuch as many cattle have been slaughtered that were not touched with the disease. But those settlers forget that stamping out, to be successful, must not stop altogether at the animals that show signs of infection, but must step out to those that run a risk of infection. In this way, in Great Britain, during the existence of rinderpest, whole farms were denuded of stock ; and though it was trying indeed to the farmer to see his apparently healthy cattle slaughtered and their carcases buried, it was far better that the sacrifice should be made than that all his own and his neighbors’ stock should be destroyed without any compensation whatever. While on this subject, we would again express a hope that the Legislature in the coming session will supply some means for providing compensation for cattle slaughtered to stamp out disease. Now that our colony has been shown to possess no charm against disease, but that her bovine blood may be contaminated as readily as that of her neighbors, it is time that machinery were provided for prompt cleansing. The poleaxe is the only safeguard to be depended on when a murrain stalks over the land, but means must be found to compensate the farmer for cattle slaughtered.
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