HC Deb 21 April 1939 vol 346 cc667-8W
Sir T. Rosbotham

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can give the quantities of foreign hay and straw and the quantities of materials made from foreign straw, such as straw rope, straw envelopes and other straw packing imported into this country during the past year; and, in allowing these importations, what precautions he is taking to prevent the transmission of disease, such as foot-and-mouth, and pests so dangerous as the Colorado beetle?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The following quantities of the undermentioned materials were imported into the United Kingdom during 1938:

Hay and straw as feedingstuffs for animals 33,740 tons.
Straw, grass, rush, etc., manufactures imported as —
(a) Plaiting straw, etc. 391,222 lbs.
(b) Straw envelopes for bottles 475,363 gross.
(c) Mats and matting 77,381 cwt.
(d) Other descriptions (value given only) £63,902.
As a precaution against the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease the Foreign Hay and Straw Order of 1912 prohibits the importation from countries where foot-and-mouth disease exists, of hay and straw for use as fodder or litter for animals. Other Orders require the destruction of hay and straw from any source ("home" or "Imported") after its use for packing merchandise. The Departmental Committee on foot-and-mouth disease in 1925 expressed the opinion that prohibition of the importation of packing straw could not be justified and subsequent experience corroborates this view. I am further advised that the possibility of the accidental introduction of a Colorado Beetle with hay or straw is very remote and would not justify the imposition of special restrictions.