HC Deb 24 March 1970 vol 798 cc1373-89

  1. (1) Notwithstanding anything in section 99 of this Act, subsections (2) and (3) thereof shall not have effect in relation to any zoological gardens in respect of which there is in force a certificate of exemption granted under subsection (2) of this section.
  2. (2) For the purposes of the foregoing subsection the Minister may grant a certificate of exemption in respect of any zoological gardens as to which he is satisfied that it is in the public interest they should be exempted from the provisions of subsections (2) and (3) of the said section 99.
  3. (3) A certificate granted under the foregoing subsection may be withdrawn by the Minister at any time but save as aforesaid shall remain in force for 12 months.
    1. (4) In this section—
    2. (a) the expression 'the Minister' means, in relation to England and Wales, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and, in relation to Scotland, the Secretary of State; and
    3. (b) the expression 'zoological gardens' means any place in which rare or exotic species of animals are confined for scientific or educational purposes or for the purpose of being viewed by members of the public and includes any quarantine station attached to or carried on in conjunction therewith.
  4. (5) This section shall not apply to Northern Ireland.—[Mr. Temple.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Temple

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

I suppose that on an Agriculture Bill the unexpected is the normal! One might wonder how the fascinating subject of exotic fauna have crept into this Bill. The reason for the new Clause is that in Clause 99 the Government are taking reserve powers to deal with ring vaccination against foot and mouth disease and if a zoo is in the right it will be subject to the vaccination procedures.

The Northumberland Committee, which did such an excellent job in reporting on the problems of foot-and-mouth disease, did not cover the subject of rare and exotic animals. It merely dealt with the situation concerning cattle, sheep and pigs. There are, however, approximately 24 species of even-toed ulgulata. I looked up the plural of an ungulate and found, to my surprise, that it was ungulata. There are in our country only three domesticated species of ungulata, namely, cattle, sheep and pigs, and deer are found wild. Other than that, there are approxi- mately 20 different species of these rare fauna which are normally found in zoos and private collections.

Even within species in zoos, there are often up to 20 different types of animal. I have with me a list of 180 rare and exotic animals all of which if they were found within the ring when a foot-and-mouth outbreak occurred would have to be vaccinated. This would cause extremely difficult problems. Species range from giraffes at one end of the scale down to small bucks at the other end of the scale.

I do not think that anybody quite knows what to do with hippopotami, because there is, I understand, doubt whether they are susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease. I make that point to indicate that I am dealing in the new Clause with an extremely difficult and complicated subject, but I hope to make the general drift of my argument reasonably clear.

In Committee, in a speech on 3rd March, I asked the Government a number of questions, and I outlined some of the special situations which would obtain for zoological gardens and asked the Government to let me know their thinking.

The Parliamentary Secretary gave me the Government's thinking in three lines when he said: If there is an outbreak with a zoo in the middle of it, or a zoo in the ring, the zoo animals will have to be vaccinated."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 3rd March. 1970; c. 979.] There were no "ifs" and "buts". Susceptible animals in the ring would have to be vaccinated.

I do not know whether the Government then appreciated the extreme difficulties which this vaccination would present. During the last few days I have had the benefit of expert advice about these rather delicate animals, and I have had fairly widespread support for the Clause. I will explain the Clause and then give the supporting reasons for it.

Those responsible for any zoo or collection of rare animals could at their discretion apply to the Minister for a certificate of exemption for their animals. I hit upon this scheme because I successfully moved an Amendment to another Bill with the object of giving what might be called a certificate in certain circumstances. This was the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Bill. I invented this term and it was adopted by the then Conservative Government. Locations were described as "certificated locations".

Zoos which applied for and were granted certificates at the discretion of the Minister would be called, for the purpose of dealing with an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, certificated zoos. The exemption certificate could be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the Minister. I am therefore suggesting what would be an extremely flexible approach to deal with what I believe to be an extremely difficult situation.

The reasons for the Clause are twofold. First, there are the scientific reasons. I have had the great good fortune of being able to discuss the matter with Professor J. Q. L. King, of the University of Liverpool, who is a Ph.D., M.V.Sc., B.Sc.(Ag.), M.R.C.V.S. and Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the North of England Zoological Society. I have also put a number of Questions to the Parliamentary Secretary about the special dose rates which would apply to these rare animals. I was told that the dosage of the foot-and-mouth vaccine was measured by species. That surprised me, for I had thought that it would be done by live weight.

On 16th March, in a Parliamentary answer to me, the Parliamentary Secretary confirmed that no experimental work had been done on any species other than cattle, sheep and pigs. We are therefore working very much in the dark, because no work has been done on these rare and exotic species. However, we know from the Danish experience, about which I was told by one of my advisers recently returned from Denmark, that immunity for domestic animals is gained as a result of vaccination only after 10 days. Nobody knows what happens with exotic animals. With cattle and sheep, vaccination results in immunity for a matter of four months, but in pigs only for four weeks. This shows that there is a different reaction to the vaccination between species, and this is tremendously important.

11.45 p.m.

I turn now to dosage rates. I have said already that dosage is done by species, and Professor King tells me that veterinary officers of the Ministry entering any zoo where rare specimens are kept would have great difficulty in knowing what dose rates to apply, and that if the wrong dosage was applied many animals would suffer severe shock or stress, if not death. In addition, nothing is known about the age at which vaccination should start. In cows and pigs, vaccination starts at a different age. In calves and sheep, vaccination starts after three months. In pigs, it starts after about six weeks. In these rare and exotic species, no one knows at what age one should start vaccinating the baby animals. Professor King tells me that, as far as he knows, no work has been done on these rare species, and he has emphasised to me that it would be very costly to carry out experimental work on all these exotic species, as it has been a very costly job to carry out experimental work in domesticated animals.

I turn now to the welfare and conservation reasons which I put forward. I have consulted Mr. George Mottershead, who is the only Britisher to have been president of the International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens. It is a three-year appointment, and we in Chester are proud to have the only Britisher to be elected to this international post. He tells me how difficult it is to handle these wild animals. I am acquainted with the vaccination and inoculation of farm animals, and, whereas they are regularly caught and inoculated for all kinds of diseases, these rare animals are never caught, being shy and difficult to catch.

What happened at Chester Zoo in the 1967–68 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease is interesting, in that the Ministtry's veterinary officers came to inspect the zoo to see whether any animals were suffering from foot-and-mouth. They inspected a water buck and an eland, both sturdy animals. Both died of fright. These animals are extremely timorous. There is a real danger in handling them, and they might suffer severe shock, if not death, due to being handled.

If one had to vaccinate the animals in extensive zoological gardens, one would have to use narcotic darts to catch them. Many of them have extremely fragile bone structures, so again the operation would be very difficult. In putting forward these points, I am not overstating the case in any way. I am afraid that there might be a state of severe confusion and alarm among these timorous animals.

I want now to say a few words from a conservation point of view. One has to recollect that vaccinated animals are not allowed into this country at present. That is what I understood the Parliamentary Secretary to say in Committee. There is no doubt that a number of these rare species are in danger of extinction. In the quarantine station attached to Chester Zoo there is a vicuna, one of the rarest species in the world, which is in definite danger of extinction.

It is a relatively common practice to move animals about for mating purposes. One reads of rare and exotic animals being flown from one country to another for planned matings because, when there are small colonies of these animals it is important to move them about for mating purposes in order to mix the blood. I make this point because, with the increasing facilities of air transport, I think that exchanges of these animals will grow, and it would be difficult to effect planned matings if animals were to be vaccinated.

We in this country are very proud of the rôle which we are playing in the conservation of rare species. I should not like to think that we were in any way taking the risk of prejudicing the perpetuation of rare species.

Within the new Clause I also include the quarantine stations attached to zoological gardens, of which there are not many. However, I was responsibile to quite an extent for the establishment of the quarantine station in which the vicuna, to which I referred, is now living. If vaccination was carried out in an animal quarantine station, there would be a risk of masking the infection against which the animal is being quarantined. This is a technical, though minor, issue; but it certainly needs thinking about.

Three times in recent years the Chester Zoo has been within an infected area. Fortunately, it has been closed and has escaped infection. Nevertheless, there is a real risk, if a zoo is in an area densely populated by animals, of its being in an infected area, and under Clause 99 the animals therein would have to be vaccinated.

I point out that no controller or director of a zoo would have to apply for a certificate of exemption. It would be at his option or in his judgment. The director would have to apply for a certificate only if he thought that the zoo was in a potentially dangerous area. If he deemed that the zoo was in an area of no danger—for example, Regents Park, which is many miles away from other animals—he would not apply and would not regard himself as needing a certificate of exemption. It is an optional application, and it is at the option of the Minister to grant such a certificate.

I do not believe that the Ministry's veterinary officers should be put in the invidious position of having to vaccinate without any detailed instructions about the dosage rates to be used. It would be a most unsatisfactory position for the veterinary profession.

It would be irresponsible of us tonight not to pay due regard to a Clause of this nature. We should have a real feeling for these rare and exotic species. I believe that the House would be well advised to accept the new Clause, which would give protection as an optional measure.

Sir John Foster (Northwich)

If the Government take the power to vaccinate the inhabitants of a zoo, first, they run the risk of killing many animals and, secondly, they would prevent the exchange of animals internationally. The Government must justify the necessity for this step. I submit that there is no need, on the assumption that a zoo is in an infected area, to vaccinate the inhabitants of that zoo.

I do not know whether the Minister can tell us of any animal, in a crowded zoo, which caught foot-and-mouth disease. I believe that that has not occurred. Even if it did turn out, which is unlikely, that an animal caught foot-and-mouth disease when it was incarcerated in a zoo, I think that that would be the ruin of the zoo, but it would not have been worth the risk of killing the animals or, as my hon. Friend said, of preventing these international exchanges. We have to consider the international aspect of the matter. Zoos exchange animals and information, and the wisdom or otherwise of measures taken in an English zoo will be noted by persons abroad.

My hon. Friend referred to his constituent who is head of the Association of Zoological Gardens. It was only a short time ago that the World Congress of Zoological Gardens was held in Chester, and I had the pleasure of knowing that a constituent of mine, Miss Russell Allen, was chairman of the conference. Although I am four or five miles from Chester at the nearest point, we take a great pride in the zoo there, and everybody is very interested in the policy adopted by the Government with regard to these zoological gardens.

The United Kingdom is very much to the fore in the care of these rare and foreign animals. I remember that during the war the late Lord Rothschild made his daughter, Dr. Rothschild, his animal executrix, and she was somewhat embarrassed all through the war by the docks at Southampton ringing up and saying, "Another couple of his Lordship's cassowaries have arrived." To use a Stock Exchange phrase, Lord Rothschild had bought cassowaries long. He bought cassowaries over the next 10 years, and two arrived every six months. It was rather typical of what happened in war time. These birds occupied valuable shipping space which might have been used to bring food and ammunition to this country, and then Dr. Rothschild had to look all over England to find a home for them. In ordinary circumstances they would have gone to Tring Park and been happy with the emus and gnus but they could not be accommodated there at that time.

I mention that to show that throughout we have been very interested in these foreign species. Our zoological faculties at the universities are strong, and it would put us out of the running in the zoological world if a shortsighted policy such as this were adopted by the Government. We expect from the Minister a justification for taking powers to inoculate or vaccinate foreign animals in zoos when there is no need at all for these powers.

12 midnight.

Mr. John Farr (Harborough)

I support my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple). The answers which he has received to his probing questions in Committee and in the House show that the Government have absolutely no knowledge on this subject. No one condemns them for that, but they would be condemned if they did not accept the new Clause. Even if they did not, they should delay for a couple of years the effect of the provisions relating to zoological gardens, until they have found the answers to some of the questions of my hon. Friend.

For instance, it is certain that there is knowledge abroad on this subject, although the Government apparently know of no research in this country on the dosage rates for different animals. If a year or two were allowed before the Clause applied to zoological gardens, this would enable meaningful research to take place here.

I emphasise what my hon. Friend said about this country being a reservoir for clean animals. It is a reservoir for clean pedigree stock and it is an exchange reservoir for exotic wild animals. People will not be so keen to have from us in future animals for mating purposes or to replenish their stock if they have been subject to vaccination for foot-and-mouth.

There is little risk of infection spreading to or from zoological gardens. Most of them are fairly well isolated from adjacent countryside by towns and pavements. I urge the Minister to think seriously about what my hon. Friend has said and at least to suspend the operation of this Clause to zoological gardens.

Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)

It will not be necessary for me to add much to what has been so ably said already, but I ask the Minister to take this matter seriously. All the history of animal conservation not just in this country is full of single mistakes which have proved irreparable. Again and again a species has disappeared from the face of the earth because someone thought that some small action did not matter. In this year of all years, when the whole world is beginning to realise how far we have gone towards the extinction of certain species, the Minister should take this suggestion seriously, even if he cannot accept the Clause. Otherwise, he may have a considerable responsibility to bear, and these decisions are irrecoverable.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) mentioned one distinguished gentleman who played a considerable part in introducing and maintaining species, and he deserves the thanks of the world. I can think of another. There was a herd of deer, called Père David deer, supposed to be kept only by the Chinese Emperor, and they were the only ones of that species left in the world. When the Chinese Empire came to an end and the walls of the Emperor's palace were broken down, these deer escaped and every one was butchered. Only two or three were left—in the hands of the Duke of Bedford. From that small number, we in Britain at the moment have virtually the only herd of Père David deer left in the world. Foreign zoos, and the Red Chinese themselves, are trying to acquire some of these deer which used to live in China.

At that time, one mistake could have meant that one species disappeared from the face of the earth. I echo that the former Duke of Bedford put on the fence of his park at the time, "You may not like my politics, but please do not take it out on the deer." This was just at a time when people were throwing stones over the fence at these inoffensive animals. I ask the Minister not to take it out on these animals because I happen to be speaking from these benches.

I have had a little to do with the handling of small dear, both in East Africa and in this country. The scientists still do not know quite what it is that happens when one handles a deer. It is not just a matter of the animal dying from shock, as I saw to my infinite regret, when I took part in moving Chinese water deer from one part of a country to another for conservation purposes. They were treated with the utmost care but they nevertheless developed a painful form of paralysis of their hind limbs and had to be destroyed. Nothing had been done to them except handling but this induced a sense of shock and fear which resulted in the unhappy ending I have described.

At this time, if the hon. Gentleman insists on going ahead with the Bill as it stands, we shall be running considerable risks for no good reason. Anyone who knows Chester Zoo or any other better class zoo knows that the chance of spreading infection between the enclosures and from them is negligible. Most of the enclosures in such zoos have no contact between them. We still are waiting for the hon. Gentleman to say that he knows of a case which has taken place, but even if there has been one—and it would be very rare—presumably protective measures were taken and presumably the zoo concerned was closed.

The hon. Gentleman may say that the new Clause would not comply with what he is trying to do but I am sure that my hon. Friend would be happy if some other method of achieving his objective were found. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not think that this is just a light-hearted exercise on our part. All of us who have stayed for this debate are thinking in serious terms in that this action might create an irrevocable situation from the point of view of getting rare species again in this country.

It will be no good the Government, if they persist in this course, coming back to the House, as they can in other cases, and saying "We made a mistake and we are sorry, so we shall relax the restriction". Once this has been done, there is no question of going back on it. I press the Minister in Conservation Year to realise that this is not just a light-hearted plea on our part but to take it seriously and see whether he cannot find some way of preventing the dangers. We do not even know yet what the effects of vaccination are on different species, and it may well be that it would cause the death of certain species. I ask him to treat this matter very seriously.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

Have the Government been in touch with any national and international authorities and others with great knowledge of animal behaviour about this matter? I would be happy to hear the hon. Gentleman tell us whose advice has been taken and of the information given to the Government by authorities on this subject on what the effects of vaccination on these animals would be. I would also like to know why it is that this provision in Clause 99 was suddenly found to be so necessary. Unless there is a vital reason for introducing a provision of this kind, it should be dropped. Why has it suddenly been found necessary—I have not seen reports of these animals contracting foot-and-mouth disease—to take this step?

I fear that too many rules and regulations are imposed simply because somebody in Government says, "Nothing has been done on this subject before. Let us legislate on it". Hon. Members should oppose the introduction of legislation unless it can be shown that it is vital.

As my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) pointed out, many of the rare and exotic animals in zoos have been brought here at great expense. Important herds have been established. Some will be in danger of extinction—I can think of one herd of deer that probably will be—if we take arbitrary action to implement Clause 99.

Whenever I have clashed with the Minister over legislation affecting ponies and other animals he has been reasonable. He will accept that my hon. Friends and I have not remained here till this late hour merely to be unreasonable. We accept the dangers involved in the spread of diseases like foot-and-mouth, but we trust that he will be reasonable over this.

The provision says, in effect, that zoo owners shall make application for exemption from Clause 99, and not that the Minister shall exempt them. It gives the right hon. Gentleman discretion to use his judgment, having received advice from his officials and after taking account of the various circumstances of the zoo in question.

I can see nothing in our request with which the Minister can quarrel. It is a request, not a demand, for the Minister to put in the Bill words that would allow a future Minister to use his judgment, and act reasonably and in the best interests of agriculture and of the animals in zoos at the time in accordance with what he believed to be right. I hope that the Minister will either accept the Clause as it stands, or at least accept it in principle, and say that he is prepared to do something to implement it.

12.15 a.m.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

My hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) has spoken very persuasively, but I find the contents of his new Clause disturbing and I cannot give it the same wholehearted support as my hon. Friends do. I do not lag behind them in a desire to preserve, here or elsewhere, as many exotic animals as possible, but I question whether the Clause provides the right method.

My hon. Friends have rightly said that these very rare and exotic deer, and other types, are difficult to handle, which means that it is hard to know whether or not they have contracted the disease until they are at death's door. In Derbyshire there is a very famous herd of ordinary deer, and during the recent foot-and-mouth epidemic it would have been excessively difficult to discover whether any of them had contracted the disease. If it had been found that one of them had gone down, it would have been too late to preserve the herd.

I share my hon. Friends' desire to preserve these various species, but I warn them of the danger of saying that in these zoos there shall be no vaccination, which is what the Clause seeks. It asks that the Minister shall be able to give a certificate of exemption from vaccination in these zoos.

Mr. Burden

At the Minister's discretion.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

It would give the Minister discretion to grant a certificate of exemption. Lack of vaccination of these animals could mean their extinction. To say that foot-and-mouth disease cannot get into zoological gardens is to tempt fate too far. These places could be a base from which the disease could go out. No one knows how foot-and-mouth is carried. The success of my hon. Friends' arguments could mean the extinction of these particularly rare and exotic species.

Mr. Temple

Does my hon. Friend know whether or not dosage rates are prescribed for these various species?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

I was about to turn to that aspect. So far, I have been destructive in my criticism. There is already a fair amount of knowledge about the amount of vaccine that should be used on some species but, in addition, the Government, in conjunction with zoological gardens and university departments, should undertake research to determine minimum vaccine dosages. It is essential to get information from abroad concerning some of these exotic species. We should also put in hand immediately research to find what dosage is tolerable of these animals. There are the worries that I have, although I found the arguments of my hon. Friends very persuasive.

Mr. Mackie

I know the interest of the hon. Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) in this subject. He raised it in Committee and he has questioned me about it before. I am grateful to him for his remark about the Government through the Parliamentary Secretary, giving him some replies. I also compliment the hon. Member on the industry he has shown in research about animals. The hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) asked why this was necessary and suggested that the Government were doing it for the sake of doing it.

Mr. Burden

All Governments.

Mr. Mackie

I do not criticise hon. Members for not taking an interest in agriculture, but do they realise that in 1967–68 we had an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease which, in direct compensation, cost the country just under £30 million? In consequential losses an amount up to about £100 million has been quoted. Do they think that the Government should not do something to take precautions which we think necessary? The hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Scott-Hopkins), who has been in the Department, appreciates this. He cast some doubt on the proposed new Clause.

Mr. Burden

The hon. Gentleman has pointed out the loss that is occasioned if animals have foot-and-mouth disease. If exotic animals were given an injection and the handling of them caused them to die, would compensation be paid to their owners?

Mr. Mackie

No, consequential loss by vaccination—which is a different point altogether—would not be paid for. If an animal died because of vaccination, the value of that animal, but not the consequential loss would perhaps be paid for, but that is a different point altogether. Because of what happened in 1967–68 and following the Government committee report, we have taken the action of putting this provision into the Bill.

If this disease breaks out, animals have to be slaughtered. That protects not only other animals but the animals in the herd itself. This does not mean that I do not appreciate all that the hon. Member for the City of Chester said about the difficulties of catching delicate animals, but he knows that a tremendous number of them are cloven-hoofed animals and are susceptible to the disease. Coypus, hedgehogs and other animals are susceptible.

Several hon. Members have asked what research we have done and how much we know about this subject. The Animal Virus Research Institute at Pirbright is the world authority on foot-and-mouth disease, including vaccines for the disease. All the advice the institute can give is available to the Department. We are in touch with many other areas of research into the disease, including the Pan-American one at Rio de Janeiro. We will consider whether any extra research needs to be done and also look into the question of the amount of vaccine required to ensure that animals are not hurt should they have to be vaccinated.

Mr. Temple

The Parliamentary Secretary has said that the Animal Virus Research Institute is in touch with all these things, but he may have overlooked the fact that on 16th March, when I asked him what his Department had done in conjunction with other Departments in connection with experiments on animals other than cattle, sheep and pigs with inactivated vaccine, he said that no experiments had been conducted. This is the background to the Clause.

Mr. Mackie

That does not in any way invalidate what I have said, which was that Britain has the main research institute at Pirbright for foot and mouth. That institute is in contact with the work which is being done the world over. Its advice is available. I am prepared to tell the station that we should like as much information as we can get.

We will not rush about vaccinating animals for vaccinating's sake. Zoos are not often likely to be in the middle of an area heavily populated with cattle, sheep and pigs. If a zoo happened to be so situated, its animals would have to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease. Many zoos are in urban areas and are as well isolated as we would wish. Naturally, we would look at the epidemiology of the disease before we rushed in to vaccinate.

The Clause is unnecessary because it appears to give a complete discretion in deciding whether to issue a certificate of exemption to a zoo. Moreover, a certificate having been issued, subsection (3) would enable us to withdraw it "at any time". The present powers in Section 9 of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1950, provide that the Minister may cause to be treated with serum or vaccine … any animal or bird which may be within the categories specified in that section. This is considered sufficient to give us adequate discretion for dealing with animals in zoological gardens.

I appreciate the interest that hon. Members have in the survival of these species which can easily be killed, but there is a risk. There is a risk to the animals themselves, and there is a tremendous risk that there could be a huge loss to the nation. I assure all hon. Members that this will not be done recklessly. I do not understand the hon. Member for Gillingham thinking that we are just doing this for the sake of doing it and that we have given the matter no thought. He said that the Government rushed about doing things for the sake of doing them.

Mr. Burden indicated dissent.

Mr. Mackie

That is what the hon. Gentleman said. We have given considerable thought to this matter. We will consider the matter carefully before acting.

I am sure that, with that assurance and the assurance that under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1950, we have this discretion, the hon. Member for the City of Chester will not wish to press his new Clause.

Mr. Burden

If the hon. Gentleman will look at HANSARD tomorrow, he will find that it was a general remark which I made to the effect that all Governments nowadays, on too many occasions, come to the House with rules, regulations and legislation, often apparently without good reason; and I wondered whether this was such a case.

Mr. Mackie

That does not apply to this Government.

12.30 a.m.

Mr. Temple

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for that careful reply to the debate. On both sides of the House, we are genuinely concerned with the welfare of our animals, and particularly the rare animals about which we have been speaking. I was aware that in certain circumstances the Government have general powers with regard to vaccination. What concerned us, and should still concern us, is that they have no information as yet about how to deal with rare and exotic species.

The Parliamentary Secretary has given an assurance that his experimental stations will look into the matter, but I must warn him that my advice is that this is a complex and difficult business. Each species will have to be examined over a long time, a period of years, and a situation might well come upon us in which vaccination had to be done at a moment's notice because a zoo was within a ring. No one can anticipate where or when the next outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease will come.

At this stage, all we can do is press the Government as hard as we can to ensure that they are in a state of readiness, with their veterinary officers equipped with the necessary information for carrying out with the utmost humanity the job which will fall upon them of vaccinating in an emergency.

Sir F. Bennett

Can my hon. Friend tell us of any case in recent years when an infection has derived from or extended into an enclosed zoo? The Minister was asked that question but he did not answer it.

Mr. Temple

I can assure my hon. Friend that there have been no cases——

Mr. Mackie indicated assent.

Mr. Temple

The Government now confirm that there have been no cases within zoological gardens.

Mr. Mackie

I had quite a lot to answer, and I am sorry that I forgot to mention that there had been no cases in this country within living memory, though there have been cases abroad.

Mr. Temple

I am obliged for the various interventions. I am advised that there has been very little experimental work done in other countries, so that if the hon. Gentleman is to communicate with countries abroad he will find the cupboard almost bare of information. As I say, I believe that this work will be extraordinarily costly, it will present extreme veterinary difficulties, and it will take a considerable time.

We have made our point by bringing the matter before the House tonight. I hope that the Government are now seized of the difficulties and that they will take the appropriate action.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

We have had a number of major debates on a series of very important subjects today. Unfortunately, we lost an hour or more at the start, but we have had debates of enormous value and have cleared up a number of important points.

We shall be meeting after the Easter Recess for debates on the remaining new Clauses and Amendments, and I understand that we shall also have the Third Reading in one sitting. Bearing that in mind, I move this Motion. I beg to move, That further consideration of the Bill, as amended, be adjourned.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be further considered this day.