HC Deb 21 September 1948 vol 456 c687
38. Mr. Anthony Greenwood

asked the Secretary of State for War what complaints he has received of foxes and other pests multiplying battle-training areas; and what steps he has found most effective in removing the objects of these complaints.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Shinwell)

I am not aware of any recent complaints about the multiplication of foxes in the Army's battle training areas. Some months ago, however, there were complaints about the multiplication of rabbits in one battle training area. There is no general method of dealing with pests on War Department land, but it is left to the local Command land agent to make whatever arrangements are most suitable to local circumstances. For example, in order to control rabbits, in some places trapping or shooting rights may be let to local syndicates or a gamekeeper may be appointed or an area may be entrusted to a local county agricultural executive committee.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Will the Minister undertake not to seek the advice of the Minister of Agriculture on this matter.

Mr. Keeling

Will the Secretary of State say whether he has any objection to the troops employed in the battle areas hunting the foxes in their spare time?

Mr. Hastings

Would not the foxes serve a useful purpose in connection with rifle practice?

Mr. Paget

Are not the foxes useful in keeping down rabbits and rats?