HC Deb 25 January 1945 vol 407 cc966-7
53. Colonel Clarke

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the conviction at Whitchurch Petty Sessions last November of an employee of the Hampshire War Agriculture Executive Committee for setting spring traps in the open; and whether he is now prepared to withdraw his permission from war agricultural committees to use traps in this way.

Mr. T. Williams

My right hon. Friend is aware that an employee of the Hampshire War Agricultural Executive Committee was recently convicted and fined for setting spring traps in the open without previously obtaining the authority of the Committee. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative. I would add, however, that committees have been instructed that open trapping should only be authorised in cases where no other means of rabbit destruction would be effective.

Colonel Clarke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in the opinion of many who are fully qualified to judge and are just as anxious as he is to reduce rabbits to a minimum, there are other alternative ways equally efficient and less destructive of other animal and bird life; and that in this particular case there were found in the traps, two blackbirds and a misselthrush with broken legs and other birds hanging on trees also with broken legs? Is he further aware that blackbirds and thrushes are mainly beneficial to agriculture?

Mr. De la Bère

Why not be humane?

Viscountess Astor

Remember that you are kind people, and try to be humane.

Mr. Speaker

The Noble Lady must really restrain herself. I am a little tired of this constant interruption. We had too much of it yesterday.