HC Deb 09 February 1971 vol 811 cc260-1
6. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now make a further statement on the dangers of brucellosis, to humans and animals.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

My right hon. Friends are fully aware of the brucellosis risk to both human and animal health, and are determined to expunge the disease from our cattle population as soon as practicable. Introduction of the new Brucellosis Incentives Scheme has speeded up progress in this direction, and the first compulsory eradication areas are to be announced in the spring.

Sir G. Nabarro

While commending my hon. Friend on his choice of words, which precisely fits my needs in this context, may I ask whether, although progress is being made towards the desirable state of totally expunging brucellosis in humans, it would not be better to regard brucellosis as a prescribed industrial disease?

Mr. Stodart

; This is under consideration by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the right hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) on 20th November last.

Mr. John Wells

Will my hon. Friend draw the attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) to the fact that this disease in humans has recently been rechristened "The Kissing Disease"?

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

While congratulating the Minister and his hon. Friend on adopting the scheme that we introduced for the eradication of brucellosis, may I ask whether the hon. Gentleman is aware that it is vital now to get on with the area eradication schemes? He promised us a date some months ago. Can he say when area eradication schemes will be announced, because farmers are waiting for this information?

Mr. Stodart

We are awating the final results of the screening tests being carried out by the Milk Marketing Board. I hope to be in a position to give the House this information in the next few weeks.