§ 36. Sir W. DAVISON
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the barn owls of Great Britain, which are of great service to farmers in destroying vermin, are gradually becoming extinct; and whether he will take steps to protect these birds from destruction?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Gilmour)
No representations on the subject have been made to me, and I have no power to make Orders under the Wild Birds Protection Acts except on the application of the councils of counties and county boroughs. Under the Wild Birds Protection Act, 1880, the owl is protected during the period 1st March–1st August, and Orders extending this protection to the whole of the year and protecting the eggs of the bird are in force in the majority of counties and county boroughs in England and Wales. The prohibition imposed by the Act and by the Orders applies to owners and occupiers of land as well as to the general public.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Can my right hon. Friend say what steps will have to be taken to place these beautiful birds in the same category as green plovers, which are now generally protected throughout the country?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I cannot say. I think the great majority of counties and county boroughs have already protected them for the full year. I do not know whether anything further can be done.