HC Deb 31 July 1924 vol 176 cc2277-8W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the fact that there was an increase of 40 per cent. in the cases of anthrax from 1922 to 1923, and that the increase is continuing: and what steps, if any, the Ministry of Agriculture is taking to deal with the situation?


I am aware that there was an increase of 40 per cent. in the number of cases of anthrax in 1923 as compared with 1922, but there has been no increase in the first, half of 1924 as compared with 1923, though the increase over 1922 is maintained. I would point out, however, that the incidence of anthrax is low, the total number of animals affected throughout the country in 1923 amounting to only 844. The eradication of anthrax is a difficult problem, inasmuch as investigations have gone to show that about 80 per cent. of cases in this country occur on farms on which there has been no previous outbreak, and that infection has been brought to the farm by foodstuffs or manure, etc., from abroad. There is also reason to believe that foodstuffs become infected during transit in countries of origin, and consequently it would hardly be practicable to attempt here the disinfection of the very large quantities of materials involved, even if this could be done without otherwise damaging it The Ministry has sought the co-operation of shipping companies with a view to keeping foodstuffs, skins and bone manure separate on the voyage. This will be beneficial in minimising risks of infection; but will admittedly meet only part of the complicated and difficult problem for which a solution is being sought.

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