HC Deb 16 December 1949 vol 470 cc339-40W
Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture to state the recent measures taken to prevent the introduction of fowl pest into the United Kingdom; if a satisfactory explanation has been found to account for the large number of outbreaks which occurred in the islands and coastal districts of Scotland during October; and if he is satisfied, as a result of the recommendations of the British mission which recently visited Hungary, that effective measures are now being taken to prevent infected poultry carcases being sent to this country.

Mr. T. Williams

The sources from which it has been suspected that infected poultry carcases may have been received are Hungary and Poland. As regards Hungary, arrangements have been made with the Hungarian authorities whereby poultry carcases sent to Great Britain will be drawn only from areas where all poultry have been vaccinated against fowl pest; and birds affected with fowl pest or which have been in direct contact with affected birds will not be used for supplying the British market. These arrangements (which also include other conditions) should be effective in preventing infected carcases being sent to this country, but as a check, samples for testing at my Department's Veterinary Laboratory are to be taken from consignments as they are received in Great Britain. Very few consignments of poultry have, however, been received since the arrangements were made, and sufficient sampling results are not yet available for the effectiveness of the arrangements to be assessed. As regards Poland, arrangements have been made with the Polish Government for a veterinary mission to visit that country within the next few weeks to endeavour to arrange with the Polish authorities for effective measures to be adopted to prevent the despatch of infected carcases to Great Britain.

There is no satisfactory explanation of the cause of the original outbreaks of fowl pest that occurred in the Orkney Islands (in which imported carcases are not distributed) but the spread of infection to other islands and coastal districts of Scotland is probably due to sea-birds.