HC Deb 21 May 1931 vol 252 cc2192-3

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether it is his intention to exterminate all grey squirrels in this country; what method he proposes to adopt for killing them: whether he is satisfied that this method will cause a minimum of suffering to the animals concerned; and will he consider the desirability of refraining from destroying those in public parks and similar places?


I have no authority to undertake the destruction of all grey squirrels. But a conference of the organisations concerned in the occupation and ownership of agricultural land, respectively, was recently convened by the Ministry and confirmed the opinion that this pest causes extensive damage and is widespread and increasing in numbers. The conference asked the Ministry to issue a leaflet describing the damage done by and the methods of destroying these pests. As regards public parks and similar places, I have no jurisdiction, except in the case of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Some years ago, it was decided to exterminate all grey squirrels then in the gardens, and, as new infestations appeared from the surrounding districts, to take steps to destroy them. I am satisfied that, with a view to preventing the spoliation of the gardens, the policy of extermination is necessary.