§ 2.35 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the period of quarantine for dogs entering this country from abroad could be done away with, provided that they are inoculated against rabies.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (EARL WALDEGRAVE)
My Lords, while my right honourable friend and I sympathise with all those who have to place their dogs in quarantine when they bring them to this country, we are absolutely convinced that this precaution must be retained. Strong support for this view was given by a Committee appointed by the World Health Organisation in 1951, which recommended that countries which are free from rabies should continue either to prohibit the import of dogs and cats or to subject them on importation to a long period of quarantine, preferably six months. Unfortunately, inoculation does not confer complete immunity, and I need hardly remind your Lordships that rabies is a terrible and fatal disease, for human beings as well as for animals.
THE DUKE OF ATHOLL
My Lords, while thanking the noble Earl very much for his reply, I was wondering whether the period of quarantine could not be reduced for dogs which are temporarily taken out of this country, and which have been inoculated before they left.
My Lords, I do not think we could contemplate reducing the period of quarantine. I would 966 add that inoculation does not give a complete immunity. In the United States, where inoculation is practised, there are some 4,000 to 5,000 cases of rabies a year.