HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 cc1216-7
35. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when last a dog died of rabies while in quarantine; and if he will give the same information about cats in quarantine.

Mr. John Mackie

The last death of a dog from rabies in quarantine was in October, 1949. The last death of a feline animal was of a leopard cub in November, 1965.

Sir Richard Glyn

Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree that three or four animals developed rabies in quarantine in the last 20 years out of perhaps 50,000 or 60,000 subjected to it? Will he further agree that during this period, the great majority of animals capable of carrying rabies coming into the country have not been subjected to quarantine? Will he look at this matter again?

Mr. Mackie

I did not catch the hon. Gentleman's figure but my figures are that the number of cats and dogs imported annually has risen from 3,650 in 1963 to 4,750 in 1967. The figures are rising and the danger is greater. Although the numbers of outbreaks in recent years are small I would point out that in two, if not three cases, since 1929 there have been instances of rabies occurring after the six-months' quarantine period. The hon. Gentleman must know what a terrible disease this is if it gets into human beings, and I do not think that precautions can be too great.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Would my hon. Friend agree that it is very many more years since there has been a case of human rabies in this country, but that we are almost unique in the world in this respect, and that this shows the value of our quarantine regulations?

Mr. Mackie

I agree.