31. Duchess of ATHOLL
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, out of 991 outbreaks of sheep scab occurring between January, 1923, and April, 1924, 882 occurred in England and Wales, and only 109 in Scotland, making 13 outbreaks for every 200,000 sheep England and Wales and only three for every 200,000 sheep in Scotland; that statistics further show that, of the 109 outbreaks in Scotland, only 27 occurred between January and April, 1924; whether he is aware that, if local authorities in the South of Scotland require double-dipping of sheep in their areas, as is now proposed, in order to 2505 comply with Regulations made by local authorities in England and Wales, it will seriously prejudice the sheep-breeding industry North of Stirling, inasmuch as the Regulations will be costly and, in many cases, impossible to carry out for lack of the additional grass parks required; and whether, in view of these facts, he will give effect to the representation of local authorities from both the South and North of Scotland that double-dipping should only be required within a limited distance of farms on which outbreaks have occurred?
§ Mr. BUXTON
The facts stated in the first two parts of the question are correct. With regard to the latter part, the representations received at a recent deputation were to the effect that my Department should take over the control of sheep scab from the local authorities and abolish their power to make Regulations, a request to which I could not accede. The proposal suggested in the last part would not be effective in preventing the spread of sheep scab, which is due chiefly to unreported outbreaks.
Duchess of ATHOLL
Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it is possible in any other way to meet what will really prove to be a very serious handicap on sheep-breeders north of Stirling if these proposed regulations are carried into effect?
§ Mr. BUXTON
My information is that the system of double dipping is very valuable. I think interference with the right of local authorities would be resented, and I am afraid I do not see my way to press further upon them.