HC Deb 29 October 1956 vol 558 cc1049-50
15. Sir Ian Fraser

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will consider the adoption of inoculation against rabies in place of the present method of quarantine for dogs, etc.

Mr. Amory

Inoculation would not be a safe substitute for quarantine since it cannot be relied upon to confer complete immunity against rabies.

Sir I. Fraser

Does not my right hon. Friend think that he and his Department are being very old-fashioned about this? Do not many countries rely, with virtual security, upon inoculation?

Mr. Amory

No; I am afraid that I could not agree with my hon. Friend there. Vaccinated dogs have contracted rabies on a number of occasions, and I think it is significant that the World Health Organisation quite recently recommended that those countries which are at present free of rabies should not rely solely upon vaccination but should go in for the policy which we follow, namely, of quarantine.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

Will my right hon. Friend undertake never to relinquish these regulations about quarantine until much greater strides have been made with inoculation? Will he also remember that there is too much of a tendency for the dog to be regarded as a "sacred cow"?

Mr. Amory

Without following my hon. Friend too far with the analogy he made at the end of his supplementary question, I would say that I agree that this is a matter upon which it would be really silly to take risks. The amount of suffering which could result from a single outbreak of rabies in a dog is very considerable indeed, and I do not intend to take the smallest risks in this matter.

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