§ Dr. David Clark
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he is giving to farmers to control rats in their farm buildings; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ryder
Advice on rat control in farm buildings is provided by the Ministry's Agricultural Development and Advisory Service. Rat control is needed in order to prevent dangerous structural damage to electrical cables and buildings, to prevent damage to or contamination of stored foodstuffs and, particularly, to reduce risks of diseases being spread to people and livestock.
Farmers should be aiming to remove any existing rats and to reduce the likelihood of further infestations. ADAS can provide advice on effective rat control practices including the appropriate choice of anti-coagulant pesticides, proper surveying of infestations, correct baiting procedures and measures for protecting non-target species. Additionally, farmers are advised on suitable preventative action including proofing of buildings and removal of harbourages. Ministry advisory publications on the subject are: "Keeping rats and mice out of farm buildings" (leaflet 627) "Control of rats on farms" (leaflet 608).