§ 17. Mr. Grant-Ferris
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now announce the character of the inquiry into the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic, and who is to be the Chairman and the members of the Committee.
§ 26. Mr. More
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the terms of reference of the proposed Committee of Inquiry into the foot-and-mouth outbreak will cover the origin of the present outbreak and also the organisation necessary to implement whatever future policy the committee may recommend.
§ 35. Mr. J. E. B. Hill
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in framing the terms of reference for the inquiry into foot-and-mouth disease, he will ask for an early or interim report on the risks inherent in removing the ban on meat from countries where the disease is endemic.
§ 42. Mr. Hazell
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to announce the membership of the Committee of Inquiry into the foot-and-mouth disease and its terms of reference.
§ Mr. Peart
On 15th February I announced that the Duke of Northumberland had agreed to act as Chairman of 1393 the Committee of Inquiry and I gave the terms of reference. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT today the names of those who have agreed to serve as members.
As regards an interim report, I would ask the hon. Member to await the statement that I shall make on 4th March.
§ Mr. Grant-Ferris
May I ask the Minister whether among the members there is at least someone of high legal eminence, because this is the kind of inquiry on which somebody of that character is essential?
§ Mr. More
Would the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the question of the organisation necessary to implement the future policy recommendations will be within the terms of reference? This is a matter which, more than any other, has activated the minds of people in the controlled areas but not on the affected farms. This is a vital matter which must be dealt with.
§ Mr. Hill
In considering the statement which he is to make, will the Minister bear in mind that the whole of the veterinary profession which has worked so diligently to combat this disease is strongly of the opinion, officially expressed through the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association that the ban must be maintained until the Committee has had a chance of considering its necessity and making an interim report?
§ Mr. Kelley
Would the Minister ask the Committee to inquire into the advisability of total slaughter as we are or have been slaughtering strains which were exposed to infection and have probably produced resistant results? Therefore, we are losing the opportunity to produce a strain of cattle which is not subject to the disease.
§ Mr. Godber
While we are glad that we shall be able to find the names of the members of the Committee in the OFFICIAL REPORT, may I ask the Minister whether they mark the completion of the Committee? Will the Committee be starting work in the very near future? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the question posed to him by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition when we last discussed this matter, namely, whether the Committee will meet frequently in view of the need to get on with the work as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Peart
I took note of what the Leader of the Opposition said on the last occasion. I thought my reply was adequate. It was a sensible suggestion. The members of the Committee can act quickly. Perhaps they would like to have another member, but six members with a Chairman makes seven. They can start work straight away.
§ The following are the members of the Committee of Inquiry:
§ Anthony Cripps, Esq., D.S.O., T.D., Q.C., J.P., Recorder of Nottingham.
§ Professor D. G. Evans, D.Sc., PH.D., F.C.Path., F.R.S., Professor of Bacteriology and Immunology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
§ Charles Henry Plumb, Esq., Farmer.
§ Sir Edward Thompson, M.B.E., T.D., Chairman of Allied Breweries.
§ Professor David Walker, M.A., Professor of Economics, University of Exeter.
§ Professor Sir William L. Weipers, B.Sc., F.R.C.V.S., D.V.S.M., F.R.S.E., Director of Veterinary Education, University of Glasgow Veterinary School.