HC Deb 06 April 1943 vol 388 cc483-4
34. Mrs. Hardie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the request from the Scottish Association of Certified and Tuberculin-Tested Milk Producers, calling attention to the inadequate scientific research being made into the causes and treatment of diseases in dairy cattle, and asking that a Scottish research organisation should be set up; and what action he proposes to take?

35. Major Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has given consideration to the resolution recently sent to him by the Scottish Association of Certified and Tuberculin-tested Milk Producers concerning scientific research into the causes and probable cure of mastitis; and what action he is proposing to take in the matter?

Mr. Chapman

My right hon. Friend has recently received the communication from the Association to which the hon. Members refer and is giving it careful consideration. In the meantime I should point out that research into cattle diseases, including mastitis, is being actively pursued with financial assistance from the Government under the general guidance of the Agricultural Research Council at various centres in Scotland and elsewhere. It is clearly desirable that investigations on these diseases, wherever they are carried out, should be closely co-ordinated, and this is ensured by the existing arrangements. In Scotland the Council work in association with the Scottish Board of Research in Veterinary Science, which includes in its membership eight Professors of the Science Faculties of Scottish Universities and six leading members of the veterinary profession in Scotland.

Mrs. Hardie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that those who are trying to provide disease-free milk should be given encouragement and that they are of opinion that the research is not sufficiently comprehensive, and would it not be a good thing to turn some fresh minds to this particular question?

Mr. Chapman

My right hon. Friend is fully seized of the importance of this subject, which is constantly under review, but the hon. Lady will appreciate the difficulties of getting hold of the right people at this stage of the war.

Mr. Snadden

Is my hon. Friend aware that of the four main diseases affecting dairy cattle, mastitis is the most deadly, and that the laboratory facilities existing in Scotland at the present time are quite inadequate to deal effectively with this disease, and will he not consider, in the interests of public health in Scotland, setting up the organisation that was suggested in the resolution to which the hon. Lady has referred?

Mr. Chapman

I am fully aware of the importance of dealing with mastitis, which is a deadly scourge, but I must point out that there are great difficulties in increasing research facitilies in war-time, although we are doing all that we can.