HC Deb 04 December 1952 vol 508 cc1741-2
30. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of outbreaks of anthrax that have occurred during each of the last six months.

Sir T. Dugdale

As the reply contains a table of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Crouch

Is my right hon. Friend not alarmed at the increase that has occurred in the outbreaks of anthrax during the last few months? Further, is it correct that farmers do not get compensation for animals that die as a result of anthrax?

Sir T. Dugdale

I am certainly very concerned about the increase in this disease during the past year. Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a Question in respect of the second part of his supplementary question.

Following is the reply:

June 31
July 90
August 123
September 170
October 185
November 209

31 and 32. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) if he will trace the origin of the outbreaks of anthrax during the last six months;

(2) the results of recent research into the cause of anthrax and its prevention.

Sir T. Dugdale

It is known that anthrax is caused by the specific organism bacillus anthracis. Research work has resulted in the production of satisfactory vaccine for the protection of livestock; this vaccine is being made available to veterinary surgeons.

The special inquiries into sources of infection and possible further safeguards, to which I referred in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 30th October, are still in progress.

33. Mr. P. Wells

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the serious increase in anthrax, especially among pigs, he will make anthrax vaccine more readily available to farmers.

Sir T. Dugdale

I am arranging for the vaccine to be made available generally to veterinary surgeons for use at their discretion. It is not proposed to allow farmers to purchase the vaccine direct, since it is important that it should be administered under veterinary advice.

39. Mr. G. Wilson

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the recent increase in cases of anthrax; and if he is satisfied that all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent outbreaks of anthrax in livestock causing danger to human beings.

Sir T. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. The main danger arises from contact with the blood or other infected material from animals which have died of anthrax. Elaborate precautions are taken to ensure the safe disposal of infected carcases and material.

Mr. Wilson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his answer will give considerable satisfaction to a number of people who have been expressing anxiety on the subject?