HC Deb 12 November 1970 vol 806 cc256-7W
Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if the National Research Development Council has given funds to research teams for mastitis projects;

(2) what research into mastitis detection in England and Wales has been financed by public funds.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

In most cases work on the detection of mastitis cannot be distinguished from the more general research into the condition. A considerable programme of research on mastitis has been undertaken for many years by the National Institute for Research in Dairying, and this Department and a research project specifically on detection is being assisted by the National Research and Development Corporation.

Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what are the symptoms and effects of mastitis in dairy herds;

(2) what methods are currently used to minimise the incidence of mastitis in dairy herds;

(3) what inspection methods are adopted by his Department for detecting mastitis; what is the incidence of their visits; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

The main symptoms of clinical mastitis are a swelling of the udder and an alteration in the appearance of the milk. Sub-clinical mastitis reveals no symptoms. The condition leads to loss of milk yield and quality. Summer mastitis is an acute form of the disease which occurs in dry and maiden animals.

Detection of mastitis is normally a matter for individual farmers and their veterinary surgeons, and, except in the case of tuberculous mastitis, our Department does not make inspections for this purpose. The resources of the Veterinary Investigation Service are, however, available for diagnosis and consultation.

More effective control measures are now available as a result of work undertaken by the National Institute for Research in Dairying and our Department. These are based on the practice of good routine dairy hygiene and the use of therapeutic agents, including antibiotics. These measures should permit more effective control of the condition and the reduction of economic losses, and our Department is now taking steps to make them more widely known.