HL Deb 19 December 1983 vol 446 c582WA
Lord Kilmany

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether in view of the serious and fatal incidence of grass sickness among horses and ponies both in England and Scotland they will consider classing this scourge as a notifiable disease, since until this is done it is impossible to obtain details about its incidence on either side of the Border and this lack of information gravely handicaps all research projects.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)

Grass sickness does not satisfy the criteria for making a disease notifiable. There is no certainty that an infectious agent is involved and there is no evidence that the disease is capable of spreading in the way normally associated with a notifiable disease. Neither is there any evidence that it is a risk to human health. In view of this situation, the Government consider that the research being funded, for example by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, provides the most appropriate means of seeking to establish the cause of the disease and how it might be treated.