HC Deb 25 April 1955 vol 540 cc593-4
9. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the estimated annual financial cost of damage done to crops by pigeons.

Mr. Amory

I can put no figure to the damage caused by pigeons, but it is clearly very considerable indeed. I am anxious to encourage all practicable measures against them.

Mr. Hill

Is the Minister aware that at this time of the year only 8,000 pigeons are required to consume every day over a ton of extremely valuable green crops, such as kale and young clover? Can he tell me what investigations may be going on with a view to the control or elimination, if possible, of these pests?

Mr. Amory

My Department is carrying out research into the movement of pigeons and their distribution over the country. We are also carrying out research into the possible use of narcotics to control them. In the meantime, I would urge every hon. Member in the House to spend any time he can spare in helping to rid us of these pests. Cheap cartridges are available for organised shoots.

Mr. Hastings

What information does the Minister hope to receive about the movement of pigeons?

Mr. Amory

Actually, it is quite an important matter. There has been a good deal of difference of opinion about how far pigeons go, and it is quite important, when we are devising the right measures to control them, to know what is the density of pigeons spread over the country.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

When my right hon. Friend talks about how far pigeons can go, is he not aware that it has been established that a pigeon eats three times its own weight in a day, and would it not be alarming if that also applied to human beings?