HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 cc497-8
17. Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in view of the spread of brucellosis among cattle, if he will now take steps to eradicate this disease on an area-by-area basis and to prevent reactors from being put on the open markets.

Mr. Buchan

On the first part of his Question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture gave to the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) and to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) on 10th December; and on the second part, to the replies given to the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) on 5th and 19th December.—[Vol. 793, c. 413–4; Vol. 790, c. 1008–1010; Vol. 793, c. 464–5.]

Mr. Mackenzie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the widespread concern felt throughout Scotland over the spread of this disease? Does he not realise that although certain individuals have taken steps, their efforts are of no avail so long as there is no compulsion? Will he take steps to have the areas looked at individually so that certain areas could be formed for appropriate action to be taken?

Mr. Buchan

I do not think that it is correct to say that steps taken by the farmers at present to enter the scheme are of no avail. On the contrary, the scheme is making good progress. As regards the second aspect, the compulsory area eradication process, our aim is to start it in a limited fashion in 1971.

Mr. Eadie

Is my hon. Friend aware that one has read this morning in the papers that rogue farmers are sharing some responsibility for the spread of this disease? Are there any of these rogue farmers in Scotland?

Mr. Buchan

I think the hon. Member is referring to the sale of reactors. This is a difficult thing to control. It is a practice that I deplore, as I am sure would every responsible farmer.