HC Deb 02 June 1960 vol 624 c1629
38. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is aware of the possible danger to animals in the use of crops treated with narcotics for the purpose of killing wood pigeons; and whether he will make a statement with particular reference to the experiments carried out near Newmarket in the last six months.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. John Hare)

I am aware that there is a possible danger to animals from crops treated with narcotics. So far their use has been restricted to official experiments to ascertain whether or not narcotics can be used safely. In the experiments carried out by my officers on one farm near Newmarket, wheat treated with narcotics has been laid and some 300 wood pigeons and about fifty other harmful birds were caught. No animals have been reported as affected.

Mr. de Freitas

May I ask the Minister to be extremely careful before encouraging this practice, in view of how little we know about possible danger to wild life, not only animals but birds?

Mr. Hare

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that that is so. That is why I am carrying out this very strictly controlled experiment under my own auspices on one farm.