HC Deb 29 November 1934 vol 295 cc995-6
25. Lord APSLEY

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the initial source of infection which caused the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the Thornbury district of Gloucestershire has yet been located by the inspectors and experts of his Department?


The series of five outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the Thornbury area, the first of which was confirmed on 27th October, was at first thought to be a recurrence of the previous outbreaks in this area declared on 14th September. Examination of the viruses responsible for each of the two series of outbreaks indicates, however, that they differ in type, the conclusion being therefore that the second group of outbreaks is not associated with the first. No evidence of a suggestive character has been found which would point to a source of infection in the second group of outbreaks.


Can my right hon. Friend say what was the initial cause of the first outbreak, if they have not found out the cause of the second?


Our investigation has not shown any indication of the manner in which infection might have been introduced in the first outbreak.

26. Lord APSLEY

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can from the experience gained by his Department state the initial causes of infection of all or any foot-and-mouth disease epidemics in the United Kingdom during the last five years?


From the 1st January, 1930, to 3rd November, 1934, 57 outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease deemed to be new have occurred in Great Britain. Of these, one (in 1931) was due to importation of animals from Northern Ireland, but in the remaining cases no proof was obtained as to the source of infection. In 34 cases, there was association, direct or indirect, with the disposal of household refuse of all kinds including probably a normal proportion of materials imported from abroad. In two other cases, packing materials were present on or near the premises, but in the remaining 20 outbreaks, no evidence of a suggestive character was discovered.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has any evidence as regards the suggested carrying of this disease by starlings?


Obviously, the contamination of small animals might succeed in disseminating the disease either by birds or foxes or other animals, but I do not think that we have any special knowledge as to dissemination by starlings in particular.