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Foot-And-Mouth Disease

Volume 415: debated on Monday 12 November 1945

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55.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease there have been this year; how many of these occurred among pigs and may have been attributable to swill made from imported meat.

During this year there have been 122 outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain of which 60 have been original cases, that is, cases not traceable to previous outbreaks in this country. Fifty-six of these 60 outbreaks started in pigs, and in 29 of them the outbreak has been attributed to infected swill. In a number of other cases swill may have been the cause, but the evidence is less clear.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there have been, so far as I am aware, no outbreaks at all among those who have been supplied with swill from the American camps in this country? In view of the absence of foot-and-mouth disease in North America, does he not think that fact is rather significant?

Yes, Sir, but the hon. Member must be aware that America does not import meat from sources from which this country imports, and must continue to import, meat. Perhaps that fact will add to the explanation.

What steps has the Minister taken to ensure that swill is properly processed?

The hon. Member is well aware that we are doing all that we can to persuade people who use swill to observe the Order, and, by means of our inspectors, to see that the Order is observed.

Cannot the Minister use a little more compulsion in these cases, because, according to his own reply, the disease arises from lack of proper processing of swill?

56.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how much money has been spent on research into foot-and-mouth disease in the last 10 years.

During the last 10 financial years about £250,000 has been spent on the research work undertaken by the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Committee.

Will the Minister consider substantially increasing the amount of money and time devoted to research into what is a serious, and may be a devastating, disease?

As against an average of £25,000 per annum spent on this disease, some £37,000 was spent last year, and I have no intention of reducing that sum.