§ Mr. Stainton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of concern in Suffolk regarding the incidence of Aujeszky's disease amongst pigs, what programme of research and ultimate elimination is in hand; and if he will make this a notifiable disease.
§ Mr. Strang
The Ministry's Central Veterinary Laboratory has for some time been conducting applied research into the nature of the disease and the improvement of test for diagnosing the disease. In the field, some 250 herds in the pig health scheme were surveyed in 1976 and over 1,100 herds outside the scheme were examined in 1977.
Recorded outbreaks in the last five years varied between 12 and 17 annually, most of them in Yorkshire, East Anglia and the West Midlands. The owners' veterinary surgeons have been advised on control measures and data collected on the epidemiology of the disease.
A close watch will continue to be kept on the incidence of the disease, and the consideration given to improving control measures will include the possibility of making the disease notifiable. There are, however, doubts at the present time about the economic feasibility of a compulsory slaughter and compensation scheme.