HC Deb 09 July 1953 vol 517 cc1467-8
24. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Agriculture the total number of outbreaks of swine fever in the present epidemic; and how far the figures show that it is now on the decline.

Sir T. Dugdale

There have been 1,887 outbreaks of swine fever since 1st December, 1952. The worst months were April and May, with over 450 outbreaks in each. I am glad to say that outbreaks have since declined to 263 in June and 51 up to 8th July.

Mr. Crouch

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this information will be appreciated, not only by the farmers, but by the people as a whole?

Mr. Bartley

Can the Minister tell the House of any real progress that has been made by veterinary surgeons or research workers towards discovering a cure for these epidemics of swine fever?

Sir T. Dugdale

Investigation is definitely in progress but we have had a bad series of outbreaks this year, and we are very disturbed about it.

25. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will continue the licensing of the movement of pigs from auction markets.

Sir T. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. I have no intention at present of withdrawing the licensing provisions of the Regulation of Movement of Swine Order, 1950, which are an essential feature of our measures to control swine fever.

Mr. Crouch

Will my right hon. Friend maintain this restriction, because there is a strong feeling that the outbreak of swine fever was started as a result of dealers taking pigs from market to market instead of retaining them on licence for 28 days after they had been to market?

Sir T. Dugdale

I could not hear my hon. Friend's supplementary Question very well, but the gist of my answer is that we are keeping an eye on the position.

Mr. G. Brown

What the hon. Member is really asking is whether "Set the swine free" would not be a good political slogan. What does the Minister think?