HC Deb 07 July 1965 vol 715 cc1580-2
27. Sir M. Redmayne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what have been the number of outbreaks of swine fever and the cost of compensation in each of the financial years since the beginning of the eradication policy; and whether he will make a statement on the latest progress in this campaign.

Mr. Peart

The answer to the first part of the Question involves a considerable number of figures, and I will, therefore, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement giving the details. This will show a marked decline in the incidence of swine fever since the introduction of the eradication policy in March, 1963. The success achieved to date is very encouraging, and I am confident that, with the continued co-operation of farmers and traders, the aim of eradication can be achieved. But I cannot emphasise too strongly that everyone owning or attending pigs should report at once any suspicion of swine fever, and that they should not send any ailing or unthrifty pigs to market.

Following is the information:

Incidence of Disease and Compensation paid since introduction of Eradication Policy on 11.3.63
Period Number of Outbreaks Compensation Paid for Pigs Slaughtered
11.3.63–31.3.63 331* 324,720
1.4.63–31.3.64 973† 3,630,994
1.4.64–31.3.65 309 1,280,820‡
1.4.65–30.6.65 35 226,315‡
* Includes 167 outbreaks confirmed before 11.3.63 in which the herds were still under restrictions at that date.
† Includes 2 outbreaks confirmed before 11.3.63 in which the herds were still under restrictions at that date.
‡ Provisional figures.

28. Sir M. Redmayne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many farm premises there has been more than one outbreak of swine fever involving slaughter and the payment of compensation; and what is the shortest interval between two outbreaks on the same premises, where slaughter and compensation has been or may be authorised.

Mr. Peart

There have been 78 instances of disease occurring more than once on the same premises out of 1,648 cases of swine fever involving slaughter and compensation.

The shortest interval of time between two successive outbreaks was 26 days.

Sir M. Redmayne

Seventy-eight out of well over 1,000 seems a fairly reassuring figure, but is the Minister satisfied that the somewhat disturbing stories one hears from time to time about dishonest practices which might arise out of this compensation scheme are not well founded and that the matter is adequately watched?

Mr. Peart

Our veterinary people watch this carefully. Restocking is not permitted until 14 days after completion of disinfection. In addition, our own experimental work has shown that, even without disinfection, the swine fever virus does not usually survive for more than about 10 days.

Mr. J. E. B. Hill

I appreciate the need to press on with this policy and take full precautions, but does the Minister realise that the closing of markets for even one case in the locality inflicts great hardship on the market operators, because their business is cut right off, and on those farmers who rely on getting rid of weaners and so on? If this policy is to go on a long time, will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of giving help and, perhaps, compensation to those who suffer directly from the campaign?

Mr. Peart

Hon. Members must be very careful here. I am continually pressed to do something about swine fever and the need to take precautions is urged upon me. Although hardship may be created, it would be very foolish to allow a policy to operate which would mean relaxation. It is a serious disease which causes great losses to the farming community. If some hardship is caused by the closing down of market activities for a short period, hon. Members must, I think, accept that this is right.