HC Deb 13 February 1961 vol 634 cc904-5
3. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidance he gives to rabbit clearance societies about dealing with rabbits on common land; and if he makes a grant towards destroying such rabbits before they spread to adjoining farm land.

Mr. Soames

My Department deals with rabbits on common land. The Divisional Pests Officer should be informed if rabbits on commons are causing trouble to adjoining farm land.

Sir A. Hurd

To avoid duplication of the matter, would not it be better if the local rabbit clearance society were authorised and paid by the council to deal with rabbits on common land adjoining its area? It seems to me that at the moment there is a good deal of overlapping, and it is not always very effective in the result.

Mr. Soames

My Department is responsible for doing this on common land. It is always possible to make arrangements, and indeed in many instances it has been possible to make arrangements for the local rabbit clearance society to act, so to speak, as agents of the Department and receive a payment from if. If my hon. Friend knows of any instances where he thinks this should be done and is not, and agreement could be reached, perhaps he will let me know. I will then look into it. But I know that in many instances it has been done.

Mr. Snow

Is the Minister aware that many fellows like to go rabbiting over the weekend? Why should not they have their sport protected?

Mr. Soames

There is plenty of scope for killing rabbits in this country, but we want to get this pest down and held down.

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