HC Deb 03 April 1952 vol 498 cc1896-7
48. Col. J. H. Harrison

asked the Minister of Agriculture on how many farm premises there has been more than one outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease during the last 12 months.

Mr. Nugent

Three, Sir.

Col. Harrison

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the interval of six weeks before the farmer can restock is long enough without risk of infection of neighbouring farms?

Mr. Nugent

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the period is long enough. The probability is that these secondary outbreaks have occurred through migrant birds.

60. Mr. W. F. Deedes

asked the Minister of Agriculture what international machinery exists for discussion and implementing joint action here and on the Continent to combat foot and mouth disease.

Mr. Nugent

The International Office of Epizootics, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations are collaborating in this matter.

Mr. Deedes

Can my hon. Friend say how actively they are collaborating on this matter, in view of the fact that many areas in the south of England, and particularly in south-east England nearest to the Continent, are obviously suffering, either through migrating birds or imported straw, from the results of what is now raging on the Continent, and will he have another look at the veterinary arrangements?

Mr. Nugent

We are not in control of the veterinary arrangements in Europe. We are making our contribution through these bodies to bring this epidemic under control. More than that we cannot do.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Are these international organisations being given the funds they require to deal with these matters on an adequate scale?

Mr. Nugent

We are making our proper contribution, and, indeed, we may take credit for our Chief Veterinary Officer, Sir Thomas Dalling, having been appointed as Chief Veterinary Consultant of the F.A.O.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is there any scientific evidence that migrating birds are responsible for this disease? Surely there is a great danger of hysterical and hypothetical theories being formulated and blaming everything on an innocent party?

Mr. Nugent

I think the probability is that migrating birds are responsible.

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