HC Deb 19 January 1971 vol 809 cc708-9
21. Mr. Charles Morrison

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will now make an announcement about brucellosis eradication orders.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the statutory Orders for this year's compulsory area eradication programmes. These will be laid, as necessary, after the areas themselves have been selected and announced in the spring.

Mr. Morrison

What discussions has my hon. Friend had with the N.F.U. about compensation? Has any agreement been reached about it?

Mr. Stodart

We are, as my hon. Friend knows, to bring in a flat rate of compensation for this, and discussions have been held about it.

Mr. David Clark

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, especially in areas of high distribution and retailing of milk, there is considerable concern and distress about brucellosis and that we welcome his decision to go ahead with eradication schemes? But this is also a human disease. Can he not complete the process and bring pressure to bear on the Government to make brucellosis a notifiable disease in humans?

Mr. Stodart

In all my speeches on the subject I have tended to point out that the human disease has been underrated. I believe that it is considerably worse than it is held out to be. I will draw the attention of my right hon. Friend to what the hon. Gentleman said.

Mr. Maclennan

What increase has there been in brucella-free stocks during the past year? Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that it is such as to enable these eradication orders to be introduced soon?

Mr. Stodart

We understand that the schemes will be able to go ahead with a sufficient reservoir of stock. If the hon. Gentleman would like precise figures, I will try to let him have them.