HC Deb 28 October 1954 vol 531 cc2128-9
34. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Agriculture which counties have been affected by myxomatosis; and the number of cases which have been reported to him.

Mr. Nugent

Myxomatosis in wild rabbits is now present in every county in Great Britain except Dumbarton, Roxburgh and Selkirk. The disease is so widespread that it is no longer possible to record individual cases.

Mr. Crouch

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is practically no trade at all today in wild rabbits? Can he assure the House that there is no danger to humans from eating rabbits that have been infected with myxomatosis?

Mr. Nugent

I am aware that the trade in wild rabbit carcasses has fallen away to nothing. The evidence with regard to myxomatosis affecting human beings or any other animals is that except for the infection of three hares, there has been no infection passing to any other kind of animal.

36. Captain Pilkington

asked the Minister of Agriculture in how many cases there has been evidence of the deliberate spreading of myxomatosis; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Nugent

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 21st October to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Dudley Williams) and the hon. Members for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Morley) and Test (Dr. King).

Mr. Gower

Can my hon. Friend say whether there is any foundation for reports that rabbits are already developing some resistance to this disease?

Mr. Nugent

No, we have no evidence of that yet.

Dr. King

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that not only is there widespread national indignation but a sense of national shame at what has happened about myxomatosis? Will he not use the Bill that is passing through the House to make, at any rate, the further wilful spreading of this disease illegal?

Mr. Nugent

I think that matter could more appropriately be discussed on the Bill.