asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the last case was notified to him of Newcastle disease in poultry in the United Kingdom.
The last notified outbreak of Newcastle disease occurred on a very small scale in Buckinghamshire in April 1978.
What steps is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that we remain comparatively disease free?
The policies that we have adopted have been designed to achieve the highest possible animal health status. Under the new policy applied from September 1981, the use of vaccine is banned. A slaughter policy would be followed, with the cost of compensation met by the industry, in the event of an outbreak. Complementary import controls were introduced to minimise the risk of importing the disease.
Is there not a substantial incidence of disease in poultry in France? Does that not underline the necessity of maintaining the present policy?
Yes. That is why we firmly stand by our right to maintain the policy.