HL Deb 01 June 1954 vol 187 cc1070-1

4.33 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Carrington.)


My Lords, I beg to ask the Minister whether he can give some assurance to the House, before this Bill receives its Third Reading, that some real attention will be paid to the risk to the agricultural industry of foot-and-mouth disease through lifting the regulations in regard to swill. Could he make some statement about that and give an assurance to the agricultural community?


My Lords, may I follow up that comment—because I ventured to intervene on the Second Reading debate—by calling the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, to the fact that it was the Ministry of Agriculture's veterinary advisers who asked for the sterilisation scheme to enable them to control foot-and-mouth disease during the war, and who pressed for more and more sterilisation plants throughout the war. It was the Ministry of Agriculture representatives who reported to the Waste Food Board, at their regular and frequent meetings held during the war, first, the number of primary outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease since the previous meeting, due to the feeding of unprocessed swill, and, secondly, the number of secondary outbreaks which had arisen from the primary ones. The Waste Food Board were also told that the virus of foot-and-mouth disease had been found in the untreated salvage from Argentine meat. That was confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture Research Station at Weybridge. Further, the Board were informed that there was no record of a single case of foot-and-mouth disease having occurred in a pig or other animal fed on sterilised swill. That emphasises the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Glyn. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, will not take this as a debating point, but he suggested that, because there is an Order, the whole thing would be controlled. With due respect, I think that is like arguing that there is no crime because there is a law to prevent crime. I will leave it at that.


My Lords, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Burden, will not take this as a debating point if I say that he is quite out of order in raising this point at this stage of the Bill. There is nothing in this Bill about the processing of kitchen waste other than that it allows local authorities to do so. Strictly speaking, I think the noble Lord was quite out of order, but I am quite prepared to answer his point and that of my noble friend. I know that both of them are interested in this question and the animal health repercussions which devolve from it.

As I said, I think, on Second Reading, and as I certainly said in a Written Answer to a Question which the noble Lord, Lord Glyn, asked me about a week ago, the Report of the Gowers Committee will be published some time towards the end of this month, and I am quite certain that part of it will deal with the collection and treatment of kitchen waste. We propose to continue the system of licensing of collectors of kitchen waste in the scheduled areas until there has been an opportunity of considering the recommendations of the Gowers Committee. Licences will be granted if the collector's plant has been approved by the Ministry's veterinary officers, and subject to compliance with certain conditions for safeguarding animal health. As I also said on Second Reading, I think this is a question of balance between animal health considerations and the amount of waste food which can be collected. In my view, until such time as we have read the Gowers Committee Report and have made up our minds on it, we have struck the right balance.

On Question, Bill read 3a with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.