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Fowl Pest

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

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52.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many cases of fowl pest have been notified to his Department; how many fowls have been ordered to be slaughtered; how much has been paid out by way of compensation; and what steps are being taken to prevent the further spread of this disease.

56.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many cases of fowl pest there have been recently; how many suspected cases; and what steps he is taking to prevent further outbreaks.

The number of outbreaks of fowl pest confirmed up to 2nd May is 147. In addition, 160 suspected cases have, on investigation, proved to be negative. About 16,000 birds have been slaughtered at an approximate cost in compensation of £12,000. Since the most likely source of infection is the feeding of uncooked poultry waste, I am making it obligatory for all poultry keepers to boil such materials before allowing their birds to have access to them. The importation of live birds and hatching eggs from countries in which fowl pest is prevalent is not being permitted, and officers of my Department and of the Ministry of Food are examining the possibilities of minimising the risk arising through the importation of dead poultry.

In view of the very big and serious increase since I asked a Question last week, in that there are some 47 new outbreaks, and in view of the fact that one of these new outbreaks is in Prescot, Lancashire, where there are possibly more poultry than in any other part of the country, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the moment has arrived for some drastic action to be taken, and will he bring some pressure to bear on the Minister of Food to stop the importation of dead fowl as well as of live fowl?

I understand that there is a Question to my right hon. Friend later on the Order Paper.