HC Deb 13 March 1958 vol 584 cc581-3
10. Mr. Peyton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will enlist the co-operation of private enterprise concerns in foot-and-mouth disease research.

Mr. John Hare

Owing to the dangers of infection spreading from the handling of the virus and the unique facilities in the Research Institute at Pirbright, I am satisfied that Pirbright is the right place for research into this disease to be conducted. The Gowers Committee strongly supported this view.

Mr. Peyton

May I ask my right hon. Friend to have a look at this matter again? Is not it true to say that every effort, and as widespread an effort as possible, should be made to eliminate this scourge? Will he have some regard to the very considerable achievements made in similar fields to this by private industry? May I ask him if he will look at the matter again most carefully?

Mr. Hare

Of course, I always listen to anything that my hon. Friend says, and I should like to extend to him an invitation to go to Pirbright himself to see the work carried out there. I should be delighted to arrange facilities for that.

20. Colonel Glyn

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how long the germ of foot-and-mouth disease can exist in the bone or bone marrow of infected South American cattle after they have recovered sufficiently to show no external symptom of the disease.

Mr. Godber

My right hon. Friend is advised that where cattle have recovered sufficiently from foot-and-mouth disease to show no external symptom, and have not been reinfected, the virus would not normally persist in the bone or bone marrow of their carcases.

Colonel Glyn

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for his Answer. Will he look further into the matter? Does he agree that there have been cases of infection in this country due to infected bones? While I accept the view of the experts that the virus does not generally persist, may I ask my hon. Friend to reconsider the issue?

Mr. Godber

We are always studying this very difficult problem. Its difficult feature is probably that one cannot rely on veterinary inspection to reveal that an animal is incubating the disease. That is probably the real cause of the trouble.

Mr. Royle

Is not it possible for the disease to be carried even in boneless meat?

Mr. Godber

Yes, that is perfectly true. I am grateful to the hon. Member for bringing up that point. It is true that boneless meat can carry it, but such meat is not usually left about in the same way that bones are.

21. Colonel Glyn

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will consider imposing regulations to prevent the spreading of foot-and-mouth disease carried by wrapping material from carcases imported from South America.

Mr. Godber

Such regulations are already in force. The Statutory Instruments are the Importation of Meat (Wrapping Materials) Order, 1932, as amended by the Order of 1939, and the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Packing Materials) Order, 1925, as amended by the Order of 1926.

Colonel Glyn

I thank the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for that Answer, but is he aware that recent outbreaks have been traced to these wrappings, and that they are in fact being made use of in country districts in circumstances which can spread the disease? Is it possible to tighten up the regulations?

Mr. Godber

I am grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend for drawing attention to these regulations. It is our desire to see that they are effectively administered. If he can give me any information in relation to a particular case, I shall be happy to follow it up.

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