§ Mr. Biffen
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research has been undertaken recently to determine whether Border disease affects cattle as well as sheep; and if he will make a statement on the extent and virulence of this disease.
§ Mr. Strang
Two experiments have been carried out, during 1972–73 and 1973–74, by my Department. These showed that pregnant heifers can be infected experimentally and abort. It is impossible to ascertain whether the disease occurs naturally in cattle as there are no specific diagnostic tests. In sheep the disease causes abortion and the production of malformed lamb. In a susceptible flock losses may be heavy. Apart from abortion, clinical disease is not seen in adult sheep. The disease is not notifiable, so no firm indication of its extent can be given, but it is not uncommon in sheep in the Welsh border counties and occurs sporadically elsewhere in Great Britain.