§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research his Department is currently sponsoring into the incidence of tuberculosis in deer; and whether he has any programme for the development of vaccine or live-testing techniques; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
A survey is being carried out in selected areas of south-west England on culled wild deer to estimate the prevalence of tuberculosis in free living deer. In addition all wildlife material, including that from deer, that comes to the Ministry's notice, is examined for tuberculosis should there be any cause to suspect its presence. All reports of tuberculosis in farmed deer are investigated. More complete information on the prevalence of the disease will become available when it is made notifiable.
There is no programme for the development of a vaccine for deer as vaccination would adversely affect the interpretation of tuberculin tests. Work is being carried out at the central veterinary laboratory on the development of a blood test for tuberculosis in deer.