HC Deb 21 November 1960 vol 630 cc77-9W
55. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a further statement on the foot-and-mouth disease situation, including the numbers of livestock slaughtered and the compensation payable.

Mr. Vane

Up to midnight yesterday 148 outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease had been confirmed since 6th November. Of these 71 were in East Anglia, 21 in the North-East of England, 1 in Cumberland and 44 in Scotland.

Restrictions on the movement of cattle were extended on 15th November to central England and on 20th November to the whole of the Orkney Islands to enable us to trace cattle which had passed through infected markets. My right hon. Friend 'has now been able to lift the controlled area restrictions in England, and will lift those in Scotland as soon as the necessary enquiries are complete.

To date 10,540 cattle, 11,326 sheep and 5,099 pigs have been or will be compulsorily slaughtered. The cost of compensation is likely to be about £700,000.

56. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of the circumstantial evidence collected by his Department that the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease originated with infection brought by Argentine beef, he will notify the Argentine authorities that, as from an early date, consignments to this country will be accepted only from meat works which undertake to draw their supplies of cattle and sheep exclusively from districts declared free from foot-and-mouth disease.

Mr. Vane

There is no evidence as yet that the present series of outbreaks can be definitely attributed to infected South American meat. My right hon. Friend is advised that it would not be practicable to restrict imports in the way suggested by my hon. Friend. I would remind him, however, that meat imports from South America are only allowed from approved frigorificos which are inspected by the Department's veterinary officers in South America.

Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has considered the information, sent to his predecessor on 4th April, 1959, by the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight, concerning a method of providing immunity from foot-and-mouth disease; and whether he will consider instructing his Department to investigate thoroughly and to test the product used in such a method with a view to its possible use in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Soames

Foot-and-mouth disease is not endemic to this country, and the Government's policy is to use all practical safeguards against its introduction and to slaughter animals infected or in contact with the disease. It does not permit vaccination or other prophylactic measures, so I would see no advantage in investigation of this product.

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