HC Deb 25 November 1926 vol 200 cc527-8

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will obtain reports on the results of recent researchs into foot-and-mouth disease carried out under official auspices in France, Germany, and the Netherlands, which are reported to prove that the formation of lactic acid in the meat within 24 hours of the death of an infected animal destroys the virus; and, if so, will he consider the removal of the embargo on the importation of con- tinental meat, provided such meat has been killed at least 24 hours before importation?


The experiments referred to in the question were carried out by scientific workers in Holland, and the Netherlands Government has been good enough to provide the Ministry with details. The experiments claim to show that the virus of foot-arid-mouth disease, existing in the flesh of animals infected with that disease, is destroyed by the lactic acid which in a short time develops in the dead tissues. It is argued that carcases of animals imported from the Continent to Great Britain cannot carry infection, since sufficient time would have elapsed between slaughter and exposure here to permit of the destruction of the virus. The Ministry, however, possesses conclusive evidence that disease was introduced into Lanarkshire by imported carcases of pigs, and, again, that disease has been spread in this country by means of carcases of animals drawn from all infected farm but which showed no visible indications of disease. The Dutch experiments deal with flesh only, but the Ministry is conducting experiments on the duration of the virus in all parts of the animal, and results have already been obtained indicating that certain parts of the carcase remain infective. Under these circumstances I am not prepared to remove the prohibition of the import of fresh carcases from countries infected with foot-and-mouth disease.