§ 9. Mr. C. Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research is being undertaken into the incidence of flukeworm and the means of 1341 combating it; and what steps are being taken by his Department to eradicate this pest.
§ Mr. Godber
Special studies of liver fluke by my Ministry's veterinary laboratories, including extensive field observations, have been in progress for some years. The fluke attaches itself to mud snails. Farmers are advised to kill these snails by the application of powdered bluestone, and to keep grazing animals away from any place where the snail cannot be controlled. Efficient drainage helps a great deal to keep the fluke down. Efforts are being made to develop a system of forecasting severe attacks so that precautions can be taken in good time, but I do not think there can be any question yet of eradication.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is the Joint Parliamentary Secretary aware that in the year 1956–57 40,000 ewes died in North Wales as the result of this pest? He has stated that it is partly due to faulty drainage, and can he now say what positive steps have been taken by his Department to improve agricultural drainage in those areas where flukeworm is serious?
§ Mr. Godber
I realise that this is a serious problem in North Wales, as it is in many other parts where it is abnormally wet. The hon. Gentleman must admit that a considerable amount has been done in encouraging drainage, and I think the other measures which I mentioned in my Answer would be of help if they were strictly observed.