HC Deb 06 March 1958 vol 583 cc1330-1
56. Mr. Baldwin

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is aware that the Government of New Zealand makes scrapie a notifiable disease followed up with a slaughter policy and restriction of movement; and whether, in view of the success of this policy, he will now take similar steps for Great Britain.

Mr. Godber

Yes, Sir, but the disease never became established in New Zealand, whereas it has been prevalent here for a very long time. Because of this, and for the reasons given in my reply to my hon. Friend on 12th December last, the measures taken in New Zealand would not be practicable in this country.

Mr. Baldwin

Will my hon. Friend reconsider the matter? Is it not the case that if we do not take steps to deal with this disease it will become endemic in this country and seriously affect our export trade in sheep to many parts of the world? All we are asking is that, where the disease is obvious, it should be notifiable and that a slaughter policy should follow.

Mr. Godber

This is a very difficult problem. I know my hon. Friend's concern about it. It has been encountered in this country for a very long time, but the difficulty is the very long incubation period. It is for that reason that my right hon. Friend has not felt able as yet to take the steps which my hon. Friend wishes, and I do not see how we could implement such a policy.