HC Deb 09 November 1939 vol 353 cc410-1
48. Mr. Horabin

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will take steps to suspend the Ground Game Act for the period of the war as under the present restriction farmers cannot keep the rabbit pest down effectively with the result that many tons of corn and other crops which could be saved for human consumption are destroyed?

The Minister of Agriculture (Colonel Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith)

So far from the Ground Game Act, 1880, restricting farmers from keeping down rabbits on land in their occupation, it confers on them an inalienable right to shoot rabbits on such land. As regards rabbits on other land the powers given to county councils under the Prevention of Damage by Rabbits Act, 1939, which can be supplemented if necessary by the exercise of those provided under the Defence Regulations and delegated by me to county war agricultural executive committees under the Rabbits Order, 1939, should in my opinion be ample to deal with any cases where serious damage by rabbits is reported.

Mr. T. Smith

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is another way of keeping rabbits down, if magistrates would turn a blind eye on some of the lads?