HC Deb 19 July 1956 vol 556 cc1366-7
24. Mr. B. Harrison

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that wood-pigeons breed most successfully during the months of August and September; and, in view of the growing menace of this pest, if his Department will campaign during these months for the destruction of their nests and eggs.

Mr. Amory

A survey made in Cambridgeshire last year indicated that August and September were the most successful breeding months for the wood-pigeon. I am anxious that every effective step shall be taken to deal with this menace. Field experiments are now being carried out to determine whether the destruction of nests and eggs can be recommended as a practicable and economical method of control.

Mr. Harrison

Will my right hon. Friend please give this information as much publicity as possible, particularly in the eastern counties, where the wood-pigeon is becoming a very serious pest, not only to peas and those crops, but also to the winter crops?

Mr. Amory

I quite agree with my hon. Friend as to the seriousness of the menace of the wood-pigeon in the eastern counties, and also in several other parts of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Snow

While all this may be very necessary in the interests of agriculture, and one does not dispute that, will the Minister bear in mind that first it was the destruction of rabbits and now it is that of wood-pigeons, and that little by little our countryside is being denuded of life?

Mr. Amory

I know that one has to keep a sense of balance in these matters, but I have no hesitation whatever in saying that both the rabbit and the pigeon are very serious menaces to food production.