Foot and Mouth Disease.

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons at on 22 November 1937.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Sexton Mr Thomas Sexton , Barnard Castle

asked the Minister of Agriculture the numbers engaged on research work on foot-and-mouth disease at the present time; and how many research workers have left this work during the past five years?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The research staff, as distinct from laboratory assistants, animals attendants, etc., numbers six. Five research workers have left this work during the past five years to take up other appointments.

Photo of Mr Thomas Sexton Mr Thomas Sexton , Barnard Castle

Is the Minister satisfied that really good work can be done when large numbers are leaving the staff?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I would say that there has been a great increase in the past five years in veterinary appointments and local authorities have appointed a number of these officers so that opportunities for improvement have been increasing. I am well aware that it is important to secure a good staff who are more or less permanently on the work, and I am looking into the matter.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether vaccine against contagious abortion or any other vaccine had previously been used, or was being used, at the time on any of the farms on which foot-and-mouth disease has recently been notified?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

It is not a routine practice to ascertain whether vaccines have been recently used when outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease are being investigated, because the methods of preparing veterinary vaccines preclude the possibility of foot-and-mouth disease being conveyed by such means. The information available, however, shows that pigs were vaccinated against swine erysipelas on one farm six months before foot-and-mouth disease appeared, but the pigs in that case were not affected.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

Will the right hon. Gentleman personally inquire into this matter in order to satisfy himself that the assurance he has been given is satisfactory?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I have personally inquired into the matter because I saw the drift of the hon. Member's question. I am satisfied that no case of foot-and-mouth disease in recent times can be attributed to the use of vaccine for other diseases.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

Has it not been strongly si,spected in recent American cases?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I am aware that there are many suspicions about the origin of foot-and-mouth disease. In this particular case I have inquired into it, and I think it is unfounded.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

asked the Minister of Agriculture in what districts the herds selected for treatment with the CalmetteGuerin vaccine during the last two years were situated?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

During the last two years the vaccine has been issued from the Ministry's Laboratory at Weybridge for the inoculation of five selected herds located in the counties of Lancaster, Salop, Stafford, Warwick and Ayr. In addition, it is understood that two herds in the county of Nottingham have been inoculated with vaccine supplied by the Institute of Animal Pathology, Cambridge.

Photo of Sir Francis Acland Sir Francis Acland , Cornwall Northern

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the general concern over the widespread outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, he will give an opportunity for the House to discuss the matter before the Christmas vacation?

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Edgbaston

The present situation with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in this country, although serious, is not alarming, and there is no reason to suppose that the measures which have proved successful in the past in preventing the spread of the disease and eventually in securing its eradication will not again achieve that end. I do not think, therefore, that any useful purpose would be served by having a discussion at the present moment. My right hon. Friend is carefully watching the situation. He appreciates the desire of the House to be kept fully informed, and will be glad to take such opportunities as are afforded him at Question Time to give hon. Members full information.