HC Deb 18 May 1954 vol 527 cc1884-5
35 Major Anstruther-Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement regarding a large-scale test of rabbit-gassing which officers of his Department attended in the east of Scotland recently; and whether he is in a position to pass on any lessons as the result of this experiment.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. McNair Snadden)

Officials of my right hon. Friend's Department recently attended a commercially-sponsored demonstration of a power gassing machine. They have reported favourably on the machine. The Department has for some years recommended gassing as a cheap and efficient method of destroying rabbits, and in future it will draw attention to the availability of power machines, which are in some locations more effective than the older techniques.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Can my hon. Friend give the House any idea of the cost of this gassing experiment? My impression is that it is very expensive. Could he consider making a grant towards the cost, under the Hill Farming Act or in some such way?

Mr. Snadden

I am afraid I cannot give a figure in regard to the cost of the experiment, but the cost of the actual machine is about £75—which might be considered to be rather high.

Captain Duncan

How many rabbits are now again in the land which was the subject of the experiment?

Mr. Manuel

Can the Joint Undersecretary say what is the exact scope of this machine; what area it can cover, and whether its range has extended to the Government Front Bench?