HC Deb 05 August 1943 vol 391 cc2445-6
48. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Agriculture the position with regard to the allocation of steel for the purpose of trap manufacture; and whether he is aware that great difficulty is being experienced in exterminating rabbits owing to the heavy cuts that have been made in the allocation of steel?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. Tom Williams)

It has been necessary for my Department to reduce the allocations of steel for the manufacture of rabbit traps. I am not aware of the serious difficulty referred to in the second part of the Question. Trapping is only one of the methods employed in the campaign for the extermination of rabbits. Other methods of exterminating rabbits are gassing, snaring, ferreting and shooting. The rabbit population has been reduced, and the number of trappers is smaller, so that fewer traps can be handled. I shall be glad, however, to examine any particular cases which the hon. Member may know of in which inability to buy rabbit traps has prevented the extermination of rabbits.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Can my right hon. Friend tell us what is the present rabbit population of the country?

Mr. Williams

Plus one.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Will the right hon. Gentleman encourage to the best of his ability the less cruel methods of exterminating rabbits, such as gassing?