§ Mr. W. J. Brown
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that, in the considered view of the Agricultural Research Council and the National Veterinary Medical Association, the tuberculin testing of cattle is far from reliable; if he will take steps to speed up research into the production of an adequately-standardised tuberculin; and will he take steps to amend the law which permits the sale in open market of cattle reacting to the tuberculin test, thus contributing to the spread of the disease rather than to its eradication.
I think the point my hon. Friend has in mind is that no tuberculin yet produced is a wholly reliable specific diagnostic agent for bovine tuberculosis. The comparative test now employed, however, in which both mammalian and avian tuberculins are used, provides the most reliable means so far discovered of distinguishing reactions due to bovine tuberculosis from those due to other causes. Intensive research on tuberculin problems is continuing. With regard to the last part of the question, control on the lines suggested would, I am afraid, not at present serve any useful purpose in view of the much larger number of untested cows which, if tested, would react.