HC Deb 05 October 1944 vol 403 cc1126-7
53. Mr. Snadden

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the 70 outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in Great Britain during the present year and as in almost every instance the original outbreak in each locality has been due to swill-feeding or contact with packing materials from frozen meat, he will take steps to enforce either centralised processing of all swill before purchase by pig owners or the compulsory boiling of swill by all swill producers where, in the opinion of the Inspector of the Ministry, raw meat is likely to be found in the swill.

Mr. Hudson

Arrangements have been made in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply for the central processing of swill in the great majority of large urban areas, and I am anxious to encourage the extension of the practice. Where central processing is impracticable, swill should, if possible, be boiled before it is brought on to the premises of pig keepers; but a compulsory order to that effect would seriously diminish the quantity of swill available without reducing certain important dangers, such as the danger of infection from the household swill produced on the premises of the thousands of small pig keepers. I think, therefore, that the present Order putting upon pig keepers the onus of seeing that all unprocessed swill is boiled before it is fed or brought into contact with animals affords the most practicable safeguard, and I have recently taken further steps designed to secure its more strict enforcement.

Mr. Snadden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Scotland there have been 11 outbreaks of this disease since the beginning of August, and that seven of these were directly attributable to swill, and will he bear in mind that it is the swill producer who should be responsible for treatment of swill, not the pig feeder?

Mr. Hudson

I have already stated that the great trouble we are up against is that some swill and other waste products, liable to carry infection, actually come into contact with infection on the premises where pigs are kept—such as the pig keeper's own household swill—and the pigs get infected before there is any chance of avoiding the swill.

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