§ 11. Mr. Baldwin
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the progress of negotiations taking place with the Australian Government with regard to the reported threat of prohibition of imports of cattle and sheep from Great Britain owing to the fear of importing the disease known as blue tongue, a disease so far unknown in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Godber
As regards cattle, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) on 24th April. We are still in touch with the Australian authorities. The import of sheep into Australia from the United Kingdom has been prohibited since 1952 on account of scrapie.
§ Mr. Baldwin
Since the Australians, apparently, are prohibiting or proposing to prohibit the importation of cattle from this country, not because we have blue tongue but because they are afraid of blue tongue, which, apparently, exists on the Continent, will my hon. Friend take steps to see that no live animal is imported from the Continent and, at the same time, let the Australians know what we are doing? Further, will he see to it that there is no back-door entrance of stock through the Republic of Eire?
§ Mr. Godber
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his suggestion. It is a difficult problem, and we are, at the moment, as I say, in consultation with the Australians to see whether we can find a way out. I will certainly note the points made by my hon. Friend.