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The Chairman was directed to publish these regulations in two papers in Providence, one in Pawtucket, one in Woonsocket, and one in cach of the other counties in the State, with extracts from the laws relating to the subject, and such other information as he might think best.
This vote was carried out and the regulations were published in every portion of the State.
Soon after the meeting of the Commission in June, a travelling circus passed through the State stopping at several places for exhibition. From evidence obtained in the State, and afterwards, in another State, it seems that some of the horses and mules connected with this circus were in a miserable condition, and some of them bad the glanders in an advanced stage, when they were here. Two mules were sold from the circus in this State, for a very small pittance, and were soon after found very badly diseased with the glanders in an advanced stage, and were killed by the direction of the Chairman of the Cattle Commission. From subsequent developments it is thought that the passage of this circus was the origin of the several cases of the disease here.
Another meeting of the Commission was held in Providence, on Tuesday, November 6, 1877, at which all the members were present. The principal business before the meeting was the examination and approval of various bills for advertising and other expenses. The Chairman was, also, authorized to prepare the annual report to the General Assembly, at the January session, A. D. 1878.
At the end of the year, 1877, the Chairman applied to Mr. Barnes, of the Field Farm, for his facts in regard to the disease for the year. Mr. Barnes says, that during the whole year 1877, he received at his place seventy-one horses with the glanders, or farcy, or both, and killed and buried them there. He also received thirty dead horses that had died with the same diseases, making 101 horses with glanders or farcy that were disposed of by him during the year 1877. These diseased horses were all in the city of Providence, or immediate vicinity.
Besides these, it will be seen by the report of Dr. Fisher, to be given hereafter, that several cases have been found and destroyed in other towns. Thus, one horse with the disease was killed in each of the following towns: East Providence, Pawtucket, North Providence, Cumberland and Burrillville, and two mules in Coventry.
Besides these, five horses with glanders were found at the public horse market, on the Cove lands in Providence, brought there for sale. Of these five horses, two were from Johnston, one from Cranston, one from Voluntown, Conn., and one from Rehoboth, Mass. Some of the twenty-one cases reported by Dr. Fisher, were taken to Field's Point, and are included among the 101 cases disposed of by Mr. Barnes. The whole number of different cases of glanders or farcy, that were killed within the knowledge or direction of the Cattle Commission, during the year 1877, was about 110.
By reference to the report of Dr. Fisher, it will be seen, that in all the six years preceding 1877, only seven cases of the disease were reported. In other words there were only seven cases, in the six years from 1871 to 1876 inclusive, while there were 110 cases, in 1877, the next single year following. The probable causes of this sudden increase of the disease are given in Dr. Fisher's report.
The glanders, or farcy, is highly contagious by inoculation, among horses and other domestic animals, and even among human beings. So far as known, it is utterly incurable, and the danger of contagion increases in each case, as the disease progresses, until death. Besides the great danger to horses, and the loss of property by their destruction, no less than four men in Providence and Pawtucket have lost their lives by inoculation with the disease, within the last four. years. It is evident then, that the destruction and disposal, in a single year, of 110 horses afflicted with the disease, in a limited portion of the State, is a matter of no slight importance to the public.
Notwithstanding the large amount of the disease, during the past year, as shown by the number of cases discovered, very little comparatively has been known about it in the community generally. It is a disease mostly confined to horses and mules, and therefore excites very little interest or fear among the greater portion of the people.
The community is never disturbed or frightened by reports that there is a large number of cases of glanders, or that the disease is rapidly spreading, for the very good reason that in every case the animal is destroyed as soon as the disease is recognized. Whatever may be the facts then, it can never be known that there is a large number of cases in existence at any time.
In nearly all cases, as soon as the nature of the disease is made known, the owners of the horses readily consent to have them destroyed. In a few cases, during the past year, the horses have been killed by order of the Chairman of the Cattle Commission, special care being first taken to establish the nature of the disease by competent testimony. When the fact that a horse has the glanders is fully established, there can be no possible value to the animal, and there is no danger of a claim for damages if it is destroyed.
The disease still continues in Providence and vicinity, and the number of cases has increased since the first of January, 1878. At the present time, there are several suspected cases in Providence. It is certain that without constant care to isolate suspected cases, and to destroy those in which the disease is fully recognized, there would be danger of an immediate and alarming increase of the disease.
It has been and will be the aim of the Cattle Commission, in accordance with the design of the Statute, to obtain and make known all needed information upon the subject, and to take all necessary measures for the prevention, cure, and extermination of the disease.
The Cattle Commission is greatly indebted to Dr. N. A. Fisher, the General Agent for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and to Mr. Charles H. Thurber, local agent for the same society, for valuable assistance in discovering cases of glanders, and in providing for the removal and destruction of the animals, and the disinfection of infected premises. The report of Dr. Fisher contains important information and suggestions, and is appended to this report.
The bills certified to the State Auditor, for the expenses of the Cattle Commission, previous to December 31, 1877, were as follows:
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BOARD OF CATTLE COMMISSIONERS.
$87 84 Services of Veterinary Surgeons...
11 00 Paid for visiting cases, removing and destroying horses, &c. 36 10
Total to December 31, 1877.....
There are unpaid bills for similar services that have been allowed by the Commission, amounting to $13.50, and the services and expenses of the members of the Cattle Commission, for the whole year, amount to $78.95, making the total expenses of every description for the year, $257.39.
EDWIN M. SNOW, Chairman.
Rhode Island Cattle Commission.
R. I. SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, I
PROVIDENCE, January 5, 1878.
EDWIN M. Snow, M. D., Chairman of Cattle Commission :
Sir:-Last June we called your attention to the prevalence of glanders and farcy in the city and country. This led to the adoption of measures by the Commissioners to prevent the spread of the disease; and for this purpose you requested that the Agents of this Society should carefully investigate all cases reported to them, or that might come within their observation, giving directions how to dispose of them, and that a record should be kept of the same. This has been done, and the following report will show the results to this date:
But it may be well to state in the first place, that although our statute does not authorize us to interfere when animals are suffering from diseases of any kind, unless connected with them some act of cruelty be alleged, we have always taken particular notice of all cases of glanders or farcy, that have come to our knowledge, and have entered them in our records; consequently we are able to give some idea of the extent to which they prevailed during the six years preceding the last, and we find recorded in all seven cases, as follows: In 1871, none; in '72, one; in '73, two; in '74, three; in '75, one; in '76, none. Of these--all found in the city-five were destroyed, and two were got off into the country before the proper authorities could be moved to secure them.
The whole number of cases of glanders and farcy that have received the attention of the agents of this society from April, 1877, to January, 1878, is twenty-one. Of these, nineteen were killed; one was stolen away after he had been seized by the agent, and one was by permission taken to Massachusetts, where he came from, the owner wishing to try some experiments in the way of treatment, and having given assurance that he should in the meanwhile be placed where he could not endanger other animals.
In eight of the cases, glanders alone was developed; in four, farcy alone; and in nine glanders and farcy existed together. Nine were owned in the city, one in East Providence, one in Pawtucket, one in Centredale, one in Cumberland, one in Burrillville; two in Coventry; five were found on the Cove lands, brought there by the horse traders; two of them from Johnston, one from Cranston, one from Voluntown, Conn.; one from Massachusetts.
Some were in good condition, well used and well cared for; but a majority were old, ill-fed, over-worked and sadly neglected.
How the disease became so prevalent, inay be explained, in part, by the following facts. The first four cases were taken from the dealers in old horses; where they came from, or when they came into the State, could not be ascertained; but as they were moved about from place to place, and sold from one dealer to another daily, they no doubt did much to spread the contagion. In June, a circus, with a large number of horses and mules traveled through the different towns, and it was noticed while they were in the city, that many of