Mr. w. E. Garrett
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are his plans for the extension of the brucellosis eradication programme; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Strang
Of the estimated 165,000 or so herds in Great Britain containing animals which are testable for brucellosis, 91,255—over 55 per cent.—are now participating in the voluntary and compulsory brucellosis schemes. The participation rate in terms of cattle is even higher, with 59-62 per cent. of all testable animals now in compulsory or voluntary scheme herds.
As in Scotland, for which proposals for further eradication areas will be announced shortly, compulsory and voluntary eradication progress has continued well in Wales. More than half of Wales is already covered by compulsory eradication powers, and with a further area coming into the programme in November next year the available veterinary staff will be fully utilised for 1975 and most of 1976. However, we have decided that compulsory eradication should be extended to South Glamorgan and the remainders of West Glamorgan, Mid-Glamorgan and Gwent on 1st November 1976. This will mean that, with the exception of part of Clwyd, the whole of Wales will then be subject to compulsory powers.
In England, compulsory eradication commenced in Essex and Cambridgeshire 616W on 4th November of this year, and will be extended to the remainder of Cumbria, the counties of Bedford and Hertford, and the eastern parts of Devon and North-West Somerset on 1st November 1975.
When we announced these extensions last May we had hoped to be able to include Surrey and the former county of Berkshire in the list, but the shortage of veterinary manpower prevented this. However, there has recently been an improvement in recruitment to the State Veterinary Service, and we have decided that eradication can now start in the counties of Surrey and Berkshire and in the Vale of the White Horse district of Oxfordshire on 1st November 1975; in the county of Lincolnshire and the Rutland district of Leicestershire, the remainders of the Craven district of North Yorkshire and the Ribble Valley borough of Lancashire, and the whole of the borough of Burnley and the Pendle and Hyndburn districts of Lancashire on 1st November 1976; and in the remainder of Lancashire and the Sefton district of Merseyside on 1st November 1977.
We shall undertake a further review of the eradication programme next spring in the hope that the scheduling of further areas will then be possible.
I must, of course, make it clear that the progress of the brucellosis eradication must continue to be subject to any demands on staff caused by further out breaks of epidemic or exotic disease, which must always be given priority.