§ 56. Lord Willoughby de Eresby
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he has formed any estimate of the number, in dozens, of eggs lost during the next 18 months as the result of the slaughter of poultry on account of fowl pest.
§ Mr. T. Williams
About 21,000 birds have been slaughtered because of fowl pest. The potential production from those birds during the next 18 months might be estimated very roughly at some 260,000 dozen eggs.
§ Lord Willoughby de Eresby
Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the serious loss in egg production has been offset by the value of the dead fowls imported into this country which have caused this outbreak of fowl pest, and would he not agree with me that the country will be the loser in the long run on this deal?
§ Mr. Williams
It all depends where the hon. Member's calculation starts. If it starts from the first outbreak of fowl pest, perhaps he would be right. If, however, his calculation was for the many months or years during which we have been importing the carcases of poultry, perhaps his calculation would be wrong.
§ Mr. Joynson-Hicks
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that he has got this very serious disease under control, or is he afraid it will still spread?
§ Mr. Williams
All I can say is that all our poultry experts are doing everything they can to stamp out fowl pest.
§ Mr. Walkden
Has the Minister any comparative figures of the millions of eggs lost because of the failure to exercise control in order to eliminate black market racketeers?