HC Deb 13 March 1958 vol 584 cc63-4W
31. Sir R. Robinson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the present period of quarantine on dogs entering the United Kingdom was first fixed; what is the present purpose of continuing this abnormally long period of quarantine; and whether in view of the constant improvement and greater security of modern preventive medicine, he will consider shortening this period.

Mr. Godber

The general requirement of six months' quarantine for dogs entering Great Britain from abroad dates from at least the beginning of the century, but with some variations before 1918. This quarantine period is necessary because the incubation period for rabies can last as long as six months and symptoms of the disease may not appear until towards the end of it. Rabies is a terrible and fatal disease and, like his predecessors, my right hon. Friend is not prepared to take the risk involved in shortening the period. Inoculation of dogs does not confer complete immunity.