HC Deb 05 May 1960 vol 622 cc1249-50
29. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has considered the correspondence between Mr. John R. Harvey, General Secretary of the Poultry and Egg Producers' Association of Great Britain and Major General John H. Ives of the United States Air Force, copies of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Lincoln, on the possibility that fowl pest is caused by the importation to the United States Air Force of dead poultry; whether he is aware of the possibility that the recent serious epidemic arose in this way; and whether, as an experiment, he will ask the United States authorities on Royal Air Force stations not to import such poultry for a period of twelve months.

Mr. Hare

I have read this correspondence. I have no evidence that the recent epidemic of fowl pest was in any way attributable to poultry carcases imported under special and exceptional arrangements for use in United States Air Force messes in this country. I am satisfied that the responsible American authorities are observing the stringent veterinary conditions laid down for the purpose of these imports.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the Minister aware that this is a very responsible association? Is it not a fact that those who welcome the United States Air Force into the Eastern Counties regard this as a very small contribution which they might make to help in this experiment? It would merely mean denying themselves the importation of carcases for one year.

Mr. Hare

As I said, I have considered very carefully the representations and the correspondence dealing with this subject, and I am satisfied that our restrictions and precautions are adequate to prevent the danger which the hon. Member's constituents feel may arise.