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In order to devise some plan of action which might be worthy of general adoption by different States, a national convention was called at Springfield, Ill., and the various States were invited to send delegates to meet at that place in December last. Dr. E. F. Thayer, of West Newton, was accordingly commissioned to attend on the part of Massachusetts by His Excellency Governor Bullock.
The following report sets forth fully the objects and results of the convention :
To His Excellency A. H. BULLOCK, Governor of the Common
wealth of Massachusetts. In accordance with the appointment as Commissioner to attend a convention to be held in Springfield, Ill., for the purpose of devising a uniform system of measures to prevent the introduction and spread of contagious diseases among cattle, &c., and also to make a report to the Executive of the proceedings of said convention, I have the honor to submit the following:
In the convention, twelve States and the Province of Ontario were represented by thirty-six commissioners.
The convention was organized by the choice of Hon. Lewis F. Allen as president, with thirteen vice-presidents, and four secretaries. Three stenographic reporters were appointed to take notes of the proceedings of the convention.
Dr. Morris of New York, Mr. Emory and Dr. Ranch of Chicago, Mr. McCoy of Alibone, Kan., and Messrs. Bennett, Clark and Kalb, the representatives of the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association, were admitted as honorary members.
His Excellency Governor Oglesby was invited to take a seat in the convention.
Voted, That the convention be known as “The American Convention of Cattle Commissioners."
Hon. J. S. Gould was invited to state the objects of the convention. He responded at considerable length, also describing the symptoms and post mortem appearances of the disease as it existed in New York the past season.
A committee was appointed, one from each State, to draft a series of resolutions in relation to a law for the consideration of the legislatures of the several States.
Several gentlemen were called upon to state their experience
with the malady, also their manner of handling cattle, (the Western term for buying, feeding, and selling cattle.) Among them was Mr. Eaton, superintendent of Mr. J. T. Alexander's Broadlands farm, who handles about five thousand (5,000) head per year. He gave a distinct statement of the dates when different lots of cattle were purchased, where they were pastured, the outbreak of the disease, and the mortality. His remarks were instructive, and were listened to with great attention, as also were those of Mr. McCoy of Alibone, Kan., who described the different modes of collecting and driving Texas cattle to market, and stated that those herds which were carefully selected, properly fed and watered, not overdriven, and generally treated with humanity on the route, imparted no disease.
Dr. Morris, a member of the Metropolitan Board of Health of New York, read a paper, giving the results of a scientific investigation of the malady as it existed in New York. He was followed by Dr. Ranch, a member of the Sanitary Commission of Chicago, who gave a history of the disease in that city.
The committee appointed to draft a series of resolutions relating to a law, made a report, through their chairman, which, after discussion, was amended and adopted.
The recommendations to the legislatures of the States represented in the convention were as follows:
The Convention of American Cattle Commissioners, assembled at Springfield, Ill., respectfully recommend to the legislatures of the several States represented therein to give effect by legal enactment to the following general propositions, which are believed to embody principles of the greatest importance, not only for the welfare of the cattle interests, but for the security of the people themselves.
Sect. 1. First. Three commissioners, or such other number as the legislatures deem proper, shall be appointed by some competent authority, to hold office for five years, and shall report annually to the legislature.
Second. Such commissioners shall watch over the general welfare of the animals within the State for which they were appointed, and particularly preventing the spread of dangerous diseases among them, and of protecting the people of the States against the dangers arising from the consumption of diseased meat.
Third. They may, from time to time, appoint such assistant commissioners to aid them in the discharge of their duties as the welfare of the public may require.
Fourth. They shall have power to administer oaths, and to prescribe, from time to time, such rules and regulations as may be necessary to accomplish the objects of this appointment.
Fifth. They shall give public notice of the outbreak of any dangerous disease, and such practical directions for its avoidance as they may deem necessary.
Sixth. They may either place such diseased animals in quarantine or cause them to be killed, as may seem necessary for the public protection ; but in the latter case they may cause an appraisal of such cattle to be made, and the county or State shall pay such proportion of the appraised value as may be provided by law. SECT. 2. First.
First. The commissioners, or any assistant commissioner located on the frontier of the State, shall, at such times as may be prescribed by the commissioners, have power to inspect all the cattle brought into such State, whether by railroad cars, vessels, or common roads; and shall have power to detain such railroad cars, vessels, and droves of animals on common roads, long enough to make proper inspection of them, for the purpose of ascertaining their sanitary condition.
Second. No animal shall be permitted to enter the State which shall be deemed by such assistant commissioner to be capable of diffusing disease. But an appeal may be allowed to a majority of the commissioners in all such cases.
Third. No train shall be allowed to proceed unless the animals contained therein have been supplied with food, water and rest within twenty-four hours next preceding the time of such inspection.
Fourth. All animals shall rest, and have access to food and water, for twenty-four hours, after having travelled for a similar period.
Fifth. The railway companies shall provide suitable yards for feeding, watering and rest of the animals travelling on their trains, and for quarantine purposes, which shall be kept in a cleanly and wholesome condition, to the satisfaction of the commissioners.
Sixth. Each train, on leaving its point of departure, shall
have certificates, signed by an assistant commissioner, which shall certify that all the animals therein are in a healthy condition at the time of its departure, and also the exact time of its departure; and such certificates and endorsements therein, of the time of arriving and the time of the departure of the train at subsequent resting and feeding places, shall be exhibited to the proper authorities wherever required.
Seventh. Proper penalties shall be inserted in the law to prevent bribery of officers charged with the execution of these provisions.
Eighth. Proper penalties should also be provided for those who interfere with or resist the officers charged with the execution of these provisions.
SECT. 3. Whereas, A malignant disease among cattle, known as the Texas Cattle Disease, has been widely disseminated by the transit of Texas and other South-Western cattle through the Western and North-Western States, during the warm weather of the year, occasioning great loss to our farmers, possibly endangering the health of our citizens therein:
Resolved, That this convention earnestly recommend the enactment of stringent laws to prevent the transit, through these States, of Texas or Cherokee cattle, from the first day of March to the first day of November, inclusive.
Resolved, That the interests of the community require the enactment of laws making any person responsible for all damages that may result from the diffusion of any dangerous disease from animals in his ownership or possession.
The committee to which was referred the subject of giving a name by which the members of the convention would recognize the disease, reported “The Texas Cattle Disease," as the most appropriate, which was adopted.
Considerable discussion then took place as to the meaning of the words “ Texas or Cherokee cattle," to be restricted from being driven through the several States certain months in the year.
A resolve was finally passed, " That all Texas or SouthWestern cattle, having been ascertained, by proper proofs, to have been in the States (represented in the convention) for eight months, will be considered as native cattle.”
A resolve was passed to appoint a committee of five of the
members of the convention to memorialize Congress to make a sufficient appropriation to enable the War Department to fully and thoroughly investigate and report upon the nature, mode of development, and propagation and treatment of the Texas Cattle Disease.
After congratulatory remarks by the President, to the members, and his thanks to Governor Oglesby for the zeal he had manifested in the matter, and for his presence at the conven tion, the convention adjourned sine die.
Many theories have been brought forward, and earnestly advocated, among which are the following:
First. That the Texas steer carries within hin a virus which is, in some way, deposited upon the soil where he grazes; that the virus is produced by the food which the animal obtains in its native pastures. It is asserted that native cattle driven to Texas contract disease and die.
The Spore Theory. The blood of the Texas and of the diseased and healthy native cattle has been examined under the microscope. It was found that cryptogamic plants, or spores, existed in the blood of all Texas cattle, also abundantly in diseased native cattle, but were not to be found in the blood of healthy native cattle. The same result was obtained in Chicago.
It is believed that the fungoid plants, or spores, are thrown out in the excrement or urine, and are taken into the stomach with the food by the native cattle.
The Tick Theory. It is said that Texas cattle, on their arrival in the Western States, have a large number of ticks attached to the skin, in various parts of the body, and that they adhere until filled with blood, when they drop to the ground, and are reproduced in large numbers — in fact, to the extent that every animal feeding in the field must consume millions of these insects daily.
The symptoms which the ordinary observer would notice would be those of intense fever, with pulse ranging from 60 to 120 per minute ; breathing often labored, and generally fre