§ 2. Mr. Hurd
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration the Advisory Committee on Myxomatosis has given to the question of making it illegal to traffic in rabbits so as to reintroduce rabbits into areas which have been cleared by myxomatosis; and what action he proposes to take.
The Myxomatosis Advisory Committee consider that the restocking of land with wild rabbits should be made illegal. I am hopeful of early legislation on the subject.
I entirely agree with what my right hon. Friend says on this matter. I understand that a private Member has introduced a Bill in another place with this object in view, and the Government will give immediate consideration to that Bill.
§ 7. Mr. Hurd
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of the risk that myxomatosis in mild form may become endemic among wild rabbits, causing lingering illness but not killing them, he will take the advice of the Advisory Committee on Myxomatosis on the desirability of amending the Pests Act, 1954, to allow the distribution of the most lethal strains of myxomatosis.
In view of the opinions expressed when the Pests Bill was before the House last year, I doubt whether any useful purpose would be served by referring the matter to the Myxomatosis Advisory Committee at the present time.
§ Mr. Hurd
Would my right hon. Friend take into account the very vast change in public opinion in the past year, and also recognise that, as we are likely to have myxomatosis for all time, he might as well make it fully effective and with as little cruelty as possible? Will he seek the views of the Advisory Committee on Myxomatosis?
I think that in its second report the Advisory Committee on Myxomatosis said it would reserve judgment on this matter, but I will keep my ear as close to the ground as possible.