§ Major OWEN
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can give the latest information about the prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease in the Argentine; what further precautions have been undertaken by the Argentine authorities to secure that carcases exported to this country are free from disease; whether the agreement arrived at on the occasion of Lord Bledisloe's recent visit, to the Argentine has been implemented; whether the same arrangements with regard to inspection obtain in those continental countries which export pork to this country; and, if not, whether steps can be taken to enable trade to be resumed on normal lines?
With regard to the first, second and third parts of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the replies I gave yesterday246W to my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Hurd). Conditions in the European pork trade are not comparable with those in the chilled and frozen meat trade from South America, for infection from the carcases of European pigs was proved to be responsible for outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Lanarkshire in 1926, whereas no cases have been definitely traced to South American meat, although there has been experimental evidence that the bone marrow can remain infective for a period which covers the voyage from South America. The risk of infection is therefore much greater in the case of continental fresh carcases, and I have no intention of withdrawing or modifying the existing prohibition on their importation.