HC Deb 26 April 1995 vol 258 cc549-50W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reports he has had from markets in the United Kingdom on the prevalence of sheep scab. [21033]

Mrs. Browning

Last spring, the state veterinary service launched a month-long surveillance exercise at sheep markets to identify the prevalence of sheep scab in the country and to establish a benchmark for further checks. The result indicated that sheep scab had increased from the levels recorded before deregulation.

To help reduce the spread of scab the Government announced a joint industry—Government publicity campaign together with a significant increase in the official veterinary presence at markets. Only 46 out of 2,809 market visits conducted between 1 September 1994 and 3 March 1995 resulted in the detection of sheep suspected of being affected with scab. In total, only 363 animals had to be withdrawn and treated for sheep scab; a further 107 suspect animals were sent direct to slaughter.

The SVS have just repeated last year's exercise and the findings will be compared against those for last year. The results are currently being collated and will be announced shortly. The provisional indications are, however, that the amount of scab found at markets has significantly decreased.