HC Deb 06 March 1970 vol 797 cc171-2W
Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further measures he intends to take as a protection against rabies; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

In view of the further case of rabies which has occurred in a dog after release from quarantine, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I are proposing to set up a committee of inquiry to look into all aspects of our rabies policy in the light of the latest scientific knowledge and recent experience. I am glad to say that Mr. Ronald Waterhouse, Q.C., has agreed to act as chairman of the com- mittee. The names of the remaining members will be announced as soon as possible. The committee's terms of reference will be: To review the policy and precautions against rabies in Great Britain and to make recommendations".

In the meantime, pending the report of the committee, my right hon. Friend and I consider it necessary to take two further precautionary measures against the introduction of rabies. First, we intend to make an Order as soon as possible prohibiting the import into Great Britain of dogs and cats, including exotic canines and felines, except from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Secondly, we are making an Order extending the period of quarantine for dogs and cats already in this country from eight months to twelve months. This Order will take effect from 12th March. These measures will be reconsidered in the light of the committee's report and recommendations.

I greatly regret the inconvenience which will be caused to some people by these interim arrangements.

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