An account of the spread of the disease during 1954 was published in the Second Report of the Advisory Committee on Myxomatosis. The disease continues to spread steadily.
I think the hon. Member will recollect that I answered a Question on that point last week. Additional damage from foxes was to be expected. What has surprised us is how little positive evidence we have had that the additional damage has been as widespread as we expected.
§ Mr. G. Williams
Can the Minister tell us whether it is intended to have definite clearance areas to exterminate this pest altogether in certain parts of the country?
I think my hon. Friend is referring to rabbits. If he is referring to rabbits, that is the intention following the passage of the Pests Act.
§ 20. Major Anstruther-Gray
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the case of a hare contracting myxomatosis; and whether he will have this case investigated and confirmed.
The Veterinary Laboratory at Weybridge has confirmed that the car case of a hare recently found in Northern Ireland was affected with myxomatosis.
I know of no confirmed cases of myxomatosis in hares other than this one in Northern Ireland, except on the Continent.
§ Major Anstruther-Gray
May we take it from my right hon. Friend's reply that his Department will follow up any reports of this kind, so that they may be confirmed or denied?
§ Mr. Usborne
Have there been any cases in this country of other animals 534 besides rabbits having myxomatosis? One hears that badgers sometimes get it. Is that true?
No. There has been no case, to our knowledge, involving any animals other than rabbits and this one hare in Northern Ireland.