HC Deb 25 January 1940 vol 356 cc773-4
53. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, to reduce the great amount of annual damage done to our food supply by rats, he will consider making a free issue of approved rat poisons which are harmless to other animals, or providing, free, the services of professional rat catchers where required?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

In view of the fact that the provisions of the Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act, 1919, require all occupiers of lands and premises to destroy any rats that may be on those lands and premises, and to keep them free from infestation, I do not consider that there is sufficient justification for the expenditure of public funds in the manner suggested.

Sir J. Lucas

Does not my right hon. and gallant Friend think that as the annual damage done by rats is believed to be about £12,000,000, it would be much cheaper to spend a few thousand pounds upon rat-catchers than to lose such an amount?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am not aware of the figure mentioned.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Is rat-catching a reserved occupation?

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