HC Deb 04 December 1952 vol 508 cc1736-7
16. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that an alternative trap for the destruction of rabbits is now available, and of the cruelty involved in the use of the present gin-trap, he will arrange a date when the latter will be prohibited.

25. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Agriculture the considerations that have, up to this date, prevented him from forbidding the use of gin traps for snaring rabbits.

Sir T. Dugdale

As I said in answer to a Question on 1st August, I have no power to prohibit the use of gin traps. Supplies of the new "Imber" trap have been delayed owing to a manufacturing difficulty, but are expected to be available early in the New Year for testing under working conditions in the Ministry's contract service. It will consequently be some time before we can tell how the new trap performs under everyday conditions.

Mr. Freeman

Is the Minister aware that the gin trap has already been banned in six other European countries, and that there are at least 10 or 12 alternative methods of destroying rabbits? Can action be taken to prohibit this cruel and barbarous method of catching rabbits, which also catches other animals and causes great suffering?

Sir T. Dugdale

Yes, Sir, but we must be certain that what we put in its place will do the job humanely. We must have these tests to see how this new trap will operate over a period of time.

Dr. Stross

Does the Minister's answer mean that by next spring at the latest we may expect action by him in this matter?

Sir T. Dugdale

No, Sir, it does not mean that there will be action in the form of legislation. It means that I hope we shall have the results to go on. The reason I gave a lengthy answer today is because I implied in my answer on 1st August that these traps would be introduced by the autumn of this year. But that is impossible, owing to manufacturing difficulties, and I wished to make that clear to the House.

Captain Pilkington

Since this question has been under consideration by my right hon. Friend's Department for a very long time, can he expedite the matter?

Sir T. Dugdale

We are doing all we can to get on with it.

Mr. H. Hynd

Will the N.U.R. be consulted about this? The "National Union of Rabbits" may have decided views on the subject.