HC Deb 22 March 1967 vol 743 cc1706-7
35. Mr. Charles Morrison

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied that the licensing system for strychnine poison for the destruction of moles adequately controls the use of this poison; and if he will make a statement.

32. Mr. Awdry

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he proposes to alter the regulations relating to the use of strychnine.

Mr. John Mackie

The retail sale of strychnine for controlling moles is restricted by the Poisons Rules to persons who produce a permit signed by an authorised officer of one of the Agricultural Departments. Permits are issued only to applicants who show that they need strychnine for mole control, and know how to use it. These arrangements are kept under review by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, who is responsible for the Poisons Rules, and my right hon. Friend, and we are satisfied that no change is necessary.

Mr. Morrison

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether any consideration has been given to restricting the granting of licences to rabbit clearance societies only? Bearing in mind that strychnine is an extremely dangerous poison, can he say whether there has been any research into alternatives for controlling moles?

Mr. Mackie

There has been a considerable amount of research into the control of moles. Meantime strychnine, unfortunately, is the best method. We cannot find a substitute. We are reviewing the rabbit clearance society situation, and will take into consideration what the hon. Member has said. We know the difficulty with strychnine if it is not properly used.