HC Deb 12 July 1984 vol 63 c642W
Mrs. Roe

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's policy on Newcastle disease in the light of recent developments; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jopling

I have held urgent discussions with representatives of the poultry industry on future policy for the control of Newcastle disease in the light of their announcement on 25 June that they were unable in future to finance the present slaughter policy. Although present veterinary evidence indicates that the disease is under control, I can understand the fears of the industry that problems might recur.

Agriculture Ministers have decided that the slaughter policy will end on 28 September when the present insurance arrangements undertaken by the industry expire. At the specific request of the industry, and to prepare for this change of policy, the use of inactivated vaccine and of one type of live vaccine (Hitchner B1) will be permitted from 16 July. If there is any outbreak of disease between now and 28 September when the slaughter policy ends, the affected poultry will be slaughtered, together with any contacts directly exposed to infection, and compensation will be paid. In conjunction with this action, appropriate vaccination of any poultry which are left on the premises involved will be undertaken. The flock will be monitored until it is considered safe to lift restrictions from the holding. Any necessary tracing and other investigation and advisory work will continue.

Existing research work on the pigeon virus will continue, as will monitoring of the disease position in pigeons. Newcastle disease will of course remain a notifiable disease after 28 September.

It will be necessary to change the existing regime applied to imports once sufficient time has elapsed to permit an adequate level of vaccinal protection to be established in the national flock.

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