HC Deb 01 December 1967 vol 755 cc203-4W
Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much of the foot-and-mouth vaccine from Pirbright has been retained for possible use at home; and how much has been exported in the last two months.

Mr. Peart

Production of foot-and-mouth disease vaccine at Pirbright in the past two months has been mainly of vaccine from types of virus exotic to Europe. The only vaccine exported has been of the Middle East A type and this was limited to 50,000 doses. Production of vaccine suitable for use against the current 0.1 strain has been commenced and 200,000 doses are available. This will shortly be increased as production gets under way when about 200,000 doses will be produced each week.

Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied that his powers to close public footpaths and rights of way across farms in prohibited areas or where there has been an actual outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease are adequate; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peart

The power to close footpaths and rights of way across any field or farm premises in a foot-and-mouth disease infected area is given by Article 11 of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Infected Areas Restrictions) Order of 1938. Inspectors of the Ministry or of the local authority invoke this power whenever the need arises.

Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the cause of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease near Stratford-upon-Avon during the summer.

Mr. Peart

One can never determine with certainty the origin of any outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Investigations have shown that on circumstantial evidence the most probable cause of the outbreak in Warwickshire during the summer was unboiled swill.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of imported meat has come from South America in the last three years; and what proportion from countries where foot-and-mouth diseas is not endemic.

Mr. Peart

The information in respect of carcase meat and offal is as follows:

Percentage of total imports from: 1964 1965 1966
Countries without, or with long history of freedom from, disease 67.6 75.1 71.9
Other countries 32.4 24.9 28.1
(South American figure in brackets) (26.4) (18.6) (22.9)

Mr. Whitaker

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in view of the present foot-and-mouth epidemic, in order to protect animals in Great Britain, he will now take steps to ban all hunting, coursing and beagling.

Mr. Peart

I understand that hunting has ceased throughout the country. Hunting (which would, I am advised, include beagling) together with racing or coursing or training for racing or coursing of hounds or dogs is prohibited in an infected area by Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Infected Areas Restrictions) Order, 1938.