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Myxomatosis (Statements)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 15 April 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will issue a weekly statement on the spread of myxomatosis among rabbits from now until the autumn.

My right hon. Friend will certainly report from time to time on the spread of the disease into new areas. Weekly statements do not seem justified at present. If later the rate of spread of the disease increases, I shall be willing to consider it.

Can my hon. Friend tell us the areas in which the disease has appeared to date and give an assurance that the Advisory Committee, which has produced such a good report, will continue to watch very closely the extent and character of the outbreaks and, in due course, make another public report, so that everybody may know the position?

Yes, I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. The Myxomatosis Committee is a standing committee. It will continue to watch the development of the disease and my right hon. Friend and I will be able to give the House reports on how it spreads in the course of the next month or two. There are now 17 established centres of infection, five of which have been confirmed in the past month.

So that we may all understand this interesting discourse, will the Parliamentary Secretary say what myxomatosis is?

Myxomatosis is a very unpleasant disease caught by rabbits, and recently broke out in this country. It came over here last autumn.