§ 28. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the fact that Sweden is clear of foot-and-mouth disease; that the Netherlands reported last month only three cases in total in place of thousands reported this time last year; that Friesland has been clear for some period now; and whether he intends raising the embargo, particularly for Dutch meat?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Guinness)
I am aware that the incidence of foot-and-mouth disease has diminished in Western Europe during the past few months, but in May there were five outbreaks in Sweden and 26 in the Netherlands, four of which occurred in the Province of Friesland. I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of the cases in Western European countries during the present year. In view of the grave risk of the disease spreading between contiguous countries with extensive land boundaries, I cannot contemplate a withdrawal of the embargo on Continental meat until I am satisfied that all the Western European countries are comparatively free from foot-and-mouth disease for a period long enough to ensure that the disease is under effective control.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in consequence of this embargo on foreign meat, the Government are reducing the real wages in this country of about 18,000,000 wage-earners?
§ Mr. GUINNESS
I do not think it can be shown that there has been any appreciable rise in the price of meat throughout the country. It is also very important 398 to realise that we have saved a great deal of money to the State by stamping out foot-and-mouth disease in this country.
§ Mr. THORNE
The Minister must be aware that in consequence of the embargo, the Government have raised the price of meat from a halfpenny to a penny per pound.
§ Following is the statement:
§ The following statement shows the number of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the countries mentioned during 1927:
|Total—January to May, 1927.|