HC Deb 06 May 1976 vol 910 cc448-9W
29. Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what funds he has allocated to mount a publicity campaign over the danger of rabies.

Mr. Strang

Due to the considerable coverage readily given to this subject by the Press, radio and television, the publicity costs are expected to be relatively modest. The direct cost of printing and materials to back up the publicity campaign I launched yesterday so far approaches £50,000.

Mr. Pym

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the measures being taken by the Government and local authorities to protect the United Kingdom from the incidence of rabies and to prevent its arrival; and, in the event of an outbreak occurring, what preparations have been made to contain its effects and limit its spread to the minimum.

Mr. Strang

The measures to prevent the entry of rabies derive from the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974. They include stringent import control, quarantine, penalties and publicity both at home and on the Continent. Their implementation involves the efforts and co-operation of the Ministry, Her Majesty's Customs, local and port authorities and the police. In addition, the Ministry co-ordinates defensive measures with Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. For further details I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) on 30th April.—[Vol. 910, c. 191–2.]

Should an outbreak occur, the Rabies (Control) Order 1974 provides comprehensive powers to stamp it out. Contingency planning is well advanced and Ministry officials are working continuously, in association with local authorities and other interests, to ensure that resources are available to meet any possible outbreak. Measures to be implemented would take into account the nature and circumstances of any outbreak. The main measures in an infected area would include restriction of movement of animals in and out of the area, control and confinement of animals in the area, seizure and destruction of strays, destruction of foxes, and prohibition or restriction of animal events and field sports.

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