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With no State quarantine laws under which a board of live stock commissioners or a State veterinarian could isolate an infected herd, should one be found in the State; with no law authorizing the slaughter of diseased animals or preventing their introduction, and with all sides of the State unguarded, certainly, under these conditions, and the further fact staring them in the face that the General Government can give them but little aid in an emergency, it behooves the legislature, at its next session, to formulate and pass so strong a sanitary and quarantine law as will enable State officials to protect this great industry. Not content with this, they should instruct, by resolution, their representatives in both houses of Congress to vote for and urge the passage of such a bill as will enable those in authority to wipe out all animal diseases in the United States and forever prevent their introduction in the future. The best brains of the State should be interested in this work, for the stock industry is a leading one, and its destruction would be a calamity to rich and poor.
Desiring to get official information as to the sources whence importation came, I addressed a letter of inquiry to the collector of customs, and from hím received the following reply:
CUSTOM-HOUSE, COLLECTOR'S OFFICE,
San Francisco, Cal., Nov. 3, 1886. A. S. MERCER, Esq.,
Inspector of Bureau of Animal Industry. SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of the 1st instant, requesting information on certain points, and in reply to first query, from what source do you receive importations of dry hides ? I have to say, from Mexico and British Columbia.
In regard to second query, you are informed that no rags are imported into this district.
Third, there have been a few importations of horses for breeding purposes, and five or six shipments of neat cattle in the last three years, chiefly from Australia.
There is no Government quarantine ground at this port; when importations of neat cattle have arrived some proper place for the time being has been accepted and the cattle quarantined there for the time provided by law. I am, very respectfully,
E. B. JEROME,
Special Deputy Collector. The questions in the letter of inquiry covered dry hides and rags, because these are prolific sources of infection. Fortunately, none of these articles are received from the west coast of the Pacific, where the cattle plagues are so prevalent, and the laws should be so made as to forbid their importation in the future.
DISEASE IN HONG-KONG.
During the winter of 1885–’86 all of the cattle in Hong-Kong, China, died of some contagion, and the steamers have been carrying cows on their outward passages to restock the dairies. The demand is light, as the foreign merchants are about all who use milk in that city. About 150 milch cows have so far been exported. I mention this more especially in order to call your attention to the fact that a contagious bovine disease existed there, with the hope that through some proper Government channel of communication you may ascertain the nature of the disease. The most diligent inquiries of steamship company officials, merchants, etc., in San Francisco, failed to give any light on this subject.
The continuous intercourse between San Francisco and Hong, Kong by steamer, and the interchange of commodities, renders it important to know the nature of the disease that in a few months destroyed every cow brute on the island. Precautionary measures may be necessary to prevent the introduction of the germ of infection into this country.
No part of the United States possessed more or greater advantages for cattle raising than did California when it was an open range country. Now, since it has become a farming country to a very large extent, it still has advantages in this direction surpassed by no State or Territory in the Union. The soil is wonderfully productive, and the hay crop produced even on the mountain sides is abundant almost beyond belief. The wonderful climate enables the farmer to cut and thoroughly cure as hay any of the grain crops, so that what in other regions is an inferior straw is there the best of hay. The growth is luxuriant everywhere, giving sufficient roughness to carry great numbers of cattle through the year with little or no grain, save while fattening for beef. Cattle can be matured there cheaper than in any other State where agriculture is the rule. Beef production in winter is not so cheap as in the arid regions east of the mountains, but fully on par with the Atlantic seaboard or the Mississippi Valley. A cold, dry atmosphere is most conducive to the laying on of fatness.
The existence of splenic fever on the Pacific coast makes it plain that this disease develops south of a certain parallel from the Atlantic to the Pacific, if we accept the belief of Mr. Miller that it was not brought in. There are curves and breaks in the line which are affected by local causes, such as mountain ridges and trade winds. It is certain that portions of Arizona and New Mexico, though south of the general fever line, are entirely free from this malady, but the reason is undoubtedly the altitude.
Whether splenic fever is a development of the coast, or whether it was imported, is a matter for serious inquiry. It was unknown, according to all information so far obtained, until about 1868. Since that time it has been an ever present trouble. Had the germ been imported at that time, it is doubtful whether it would have been destroyed for the reason that in many parts of the cattle country there is never any frost. In all of the regions east of the Rocky Mountains, where cattle die of the infection, taken from southern herds, there are winter frosts, and these destroy the germ. How long the germ would remain alive or active in the absence of frost is probably an unsolved question. At any rate, it is a new subject to me and one only understood (if understood at all) by thoroughly scientific men. Many of the valleys of southern California are low and inclined to be marshy. The thermometer marks 112° to 115° F. in the shade for months during summer, and the conditions would seem favorable to the development of the disease germ. This fact, taken in connection with the statements of practical well-informed cattle men on the coast, that no southern cattle had been brought in for years before the disease appeared, and then on foot and across the mountains under conditions that would have purged them, strengthens the belief in the development theory. Respectfully submitted.
A. S. MERCER. CHEYENNE, Wyo., December 7, 1886.
THE LIVE-STOCK INTERESTS OF MARYLAND.
Hon. NORMANJ. COLMAN,
Commissioner of Agriculture. . SIR : In obedience to instructions received from you, dated October 1, 1886, to visit the counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with a view of ascertaining the condition of live stock, and to determine if any traces of contagious diseases exist among cattle, horses, or swine in these counties, I have the honor to submit the following report:
SOMERSET COUNTY. I have visited every district of Somerset County, calling upon and questioning many prominent men in each district, visiting and inspecting many herds of cattle; also, visiting the salt marshes, where many hundreds of cattle are pastured, and I am pleased to say that no traces of pleuro-pneumonia, tuberculosis, or any other contagious disease is to be found in the county. The class of cattle kept in the county is of a poor grade, and generally not well fed or taken care of, but for all that they are healthy.
The horses are of better stock, better cared for, and healthy.
In regard to the losses by swine plague, it is a very difficult matter to get at the exact facts. The losses in the past ten years have been very great. Farmers are generally keeping as few hogs as possible, while many keep none, because of this disease. Thus the losses this year are less than in former years, though I believe the percentage of loss is as great now as ever, many losing from 50 to 75 per cent. of their herds, and some have lost all. For the past few weeks the disease has been raging fearfully, but is now dying out.
In Princess Anne district Mr. E. D. Read, who has a farm of his own and also has charge of Hon. Isaac D. Jones' farm, says his losses in 1885 were $1,000 from hog cholera—75 head. Mr. J. W. Crisfield lost 50 per cent. of his herd, valued at $90. Mr. E. Brinkley lost many last year and this year also.
In talking with a large number of persons they estimate the annual losses in this district alone at from $2,000 to $2,500, and I am quite sure this estimate is not too high.
In Mount Vernon district, the estimate made in the same way as above, the losses are placed at from $500 to $1,000 per year.
In Dames Quarter district the annual losses are from $500 to $1,000.
In Brinkley's district Dr. F. A. Adams, physician and farmer, gave much information. In 1885 he lost 19 högs out of 22, valued at $75. In 1884 he lost 9 out of 25 head, valued much higher, because they were fat and ready to kill-$150. His neighbor, John Long, this year lost four-fifths of his herd—12 head-valued at $100. Mr. Wilkins, another neighbor, in 1884, lost $100, in 1886, $50. A. P. Ellis, in 1884, lost $150, in 1886, $75. C. C. Wetherel, in 1884, lost $75, in 1886, $25. J. T. Walters lost, in 1885, $150. His average losses for the past ten years have been over $25. Many others have
lost yearly from $25 to $100 each by this disease in this district alone. Dr. Adams and others estimate the annual loss in this district at from $1,500 to $2,000.
In Dublin district Mr. William M. Costin, a large land owner, says last year he lost 45 out of 65 head, valued at $200. Two years ago (1884) his losses were $300, and for many years his losses have averaged from $200 to $300; says all farmers in the district yearly lose more or less of their stock. Fewer hogs are now kept than formerly because of this disease. He estimates the annual loss in this district at from $1,000 to $1,200. This estimate agrees with that made by Francis Barnes and many others.
In Fairmount district Mr. Albert Sudler says there is scarcely a farmer who has not had the disease on his place. His own loss last year (1885) was $60. Mr. Ross, a neighbor, lost $75. Mrs. Bozman lost $50; J. E. Sudler, $50; J. S. Sudler lost $200. Eighteen head of fat hogs belonging to other parties near by died, valued at $250. Mr. E. Handy, Mr. R. H. Walters, Dr. F. A. Turpin, John S. Sudler, and Albert Sudler, all of this district, estimate the losses at from $1,500 to $2,000 per year, and some were inclined to place it higher.
Estimates made by well-posted men in Crisfield district make the losses per annum for the past six years at from $1,000 to $1,200,
J. H. Miles (sheriff), W. H. Roach, T. L. Miles (county commissioner), E. J. Gunby, and L. T. Coburn say the losses in Lawson's district will average $1,200 per year.
In Tangiers district, which includes Deil's Island, the losses have been heavy this year and every year, until the people keep as few hogs as possible. Losses per annum average about $1,000.
These estimates are all made by noting down losses by men who have kept a large number of högs, and but little note has been made of those cases where from one to five hogs have been lost, There are also many portions of the county partly covered by water that I have not considered it important to visit, where, I hear, the losses are considerable, considering the poverty of the people,
I feel confident that the annual loss to this county from hog cholera during the past ten years, including this year, will amount to from $12,000 to $15,000. In former years much pork was shipped from this county, and it was quite a source of revenue, but now it is difficult to raise what hogs they need for their own use.
It has generally been the custom here to let the hogs that have died from disease rot on the ground, sometimes near the pens and stables. Frequently they have been thrown into the streams, and thus spread the infection. Very few have been thoughtful enough to bury the carcasses. I have made it a point to impress upon all with whom I have talked the importance of killing and burying deeply all infected animals, at any rate to separate the sick from the well, and have tried to instruct them in the use of sanitary measures generally.
The people are discouraged in regard to the raising of swine. This is a great corn-growing country, and hog raising would be very profitable if it were not for this disease.
WORCESTER COUNTY. I find the cattle throughout this county in a healthy condition. No traces of pleuro-pneumonia are to be found, and probably there never has been a case in this county. The cattle are nearly all of native breed, having been bred here for many years. They are small and of inferior quality. Very few cattle have been brought into the county from other counties or States.
The only disease I have heard of here occurred about five years ago, and that was what is known as Texas fever. It came from a herd of cattle driven from Northampton County, Va. (and native of that county), through and along the east coast of this county. These cattle themselves appeared healthy, but all along their route they scattered the seeds of disease, which very soon destroyed nearly all cattle along the line of march. The malady did not become fastened upon this county, and it died out soon, probably under the influence of frosts. Some other instances are known where cattle have been brought into this county from Northampton County, Va., and always with the same result. The farmers here are in continual dread of the disease. The outlet by railroad and for driving cattle to market from this infected district is through this county, and there seems to be no effective law to prevent it. That the disease permanently exists in Northampton and the lower portion of Accomac County, there is no reason to doubt. There is a tradition accounting for its existence in Northampton County. It is said that many years ago a vessel was wrecked on that coast with a cargo of hides from South America, and that these hides were washed ashore along the coast of the county. Since that time the disease has been known there, but never before. As my assignment for duty confines me to Maryland, I have been unable to investigate this tradition to prove its truth or falsity. The disease undoubtedly exists on the lower end of the peninsula, and is a continual menace to the lower counties of this State. The danger is great, and calls for thorough investigation and legislation to protect the farmers of Maryland from this scourge.
I find the horses of the county of good stock, and no disease among them.
Swine plague has existed in this county for many years. I have investigated every district in the county. Some years it has been very destructive; other years the losses are small, because the hogs are nearly all destroyed in some years, and the next year very few are to be fo Last year the losses were very great, probably
three-fourths of the hogs dying in the county, while this year there are very few hogs to be found and the spread of the disease is less rapid, though in many instances heavy losses are reported. In making my investigations I visited Pocomoke City, and from there went thoroughly over the southern portion of the county, from there to Snow Hill for the central part, and thence to Berlin for the northern portion to the Delaware line.
In Pocomoke district I visited Senator S. K. Dennis, a very large land owner and stock raiser, Mr. M. R. Merrill, W. W. Brittingham, P. C. Quten, and many others. These men have all lost heavily every year for many years, including this year. They were unanimous in estimating the average annual loss in Pocomoke district from hog cholera at $2,500, and last year it was much greater.
In Stockton district, among those visited were Messrs. Moses Hudson, Thomas Lindsay, Henry Jones, and others. These men estimate the average annual losses at from $1,500 to $2,000, say $1,750, from hog cholera in this district alone, at least 50 per cent. dying yearly.