§ 30. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what causes he attributes the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in south-east Somerset.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. J. B. Godber)
This may have been either a primary outbreak due to infection from the Continent or, alternatively, may have been a secondary outbreak caused by the series in Dorset.
§ Mr. Peyton
Does not my hon. Friend agree that this has been an exceedingly serious outbreak, and does he not appreciate that the very heavy losses involved have given rise to considerable anxiety, particularly about whether the outbreak has been caused by germs from imports of infected Argentine meat? Will he go into the matter, since I can assure him that there is considerable concern about it, more so than I have ever known?
§ Mr. Godber
Yes, I recognise that this outbreak has caused very grave concern and that there are losses quite outside those which we can compensate. We are considering this very seriously, but the only evidence we have on this outbreak points to infection through birds from the Continent, which is something, of course, we cannot control.