§ 76. Sir Clive Bossom
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now appoint a controller of foot-and-mouth disease operations whenever it becomes necessary to open more than one local control centre; and if he will seek to give this controller emergency powers in order to apply effective and consistent control measures throughout areas declared infected.
§ Mr. Peart
The local foot-and-mouth disease control centres in the West Midlands and in other parts of the country274W are in the charge of my regional veterinary officers fully supported by my regional controller and all the regional staff. The overall supervision of the work in this epidemic is carried out by my senior veterinary staff at headquarters who are in close touch with my administrative staff.
I am satisfied that I have sufficient powers under the Diseases of Animals Act to enable me to take the required measures, and I am also satisfied that effective and consistent control measures are applied throughout the areas declared to be infected.
§ 77. Sir Clive Bossom
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the fact that the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has become so widespread, if he will take steps, by legislation or otherwise, to take over control and to enable him to direct local authorities on the type of disinfectant pads or baths and the type of equipment to be used and to take any other action that he considers necessary for limiting access to roads.
§ Mr Peart
While I understand the reasons that have led to this wish for disinfection on roads, I am advised that such action is unlikely to be of significance on roads away from infected areas; and even in and near these areas, it is best to concentrate manpower and material on disinfection at the farm gate. My officials have had no difficulty in getting local co-operation in closing roads for a short time where the disease situation warranted this action.
§ Mr. Temple
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now set up an independent committee to study the problems which will arise for farmers following the termination of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in this country.
§ Mr. Peart
After this epidemic I intend to set up an independent committee to examine both our policy and our arrangements for dealing with foot-and-mouth disease. The problems of rehabilitation and restocking within the areas affected require more urgent consideration, which I have already set in train. I shall be discussing these problems with the National Farmers' Union.