§ MR. FELLOWES (Hunts, Ramsey)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture if he can state the number of outbreaks of swine fever which have occurred since the Act came into operation on 1st November; whether he is aware that large numbers of pigs are now being imported from Ireland into England, and that Ireland is rife with the disease at present; and whether the system of scheduling infected areas, and prohibiting the movement of animals therefrom, which was practised by the Board of Agriculture in the case of pleuro-pneumonia, is being also enforced by the Board in the case of swine fever; and, if not, what restrictions are imposed by the Board on the movement of pigs in Great Britain in order to prevent the distribution and spread of the disease, either from Ireland or from infected districts in Great Britain?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. H.GARDNER, Essex, Saffron Walden)
Up to the end of last week swine fever has been ascertained to exist on 350 sets of premises since the recent Act came into operation. With regard to the imposition of restrictions on movement, I am well aware of the value of such measures in preventing the spread and distribution of disease; but until we have obtained complete information as to the localities in which it centres, we cannot take any action in this direction without giving rise to more inconvenience and loss than we could justify. We have, however, kept on foot the various restrictions on movement imposed by the Local Authorities prior to the 1st November last; and with regard to Ireland, I may remind 1355 the hon. Member that similar efforts are being made to stamp out the disease in that country as we are making here, and the facts before me do not warrant the belief that the disease is so rife there as to render it necessary for us to interfere at the present time with the large and important trade in swine between the two countries.