Foxes.

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 4th March 1940.

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Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that a great and increasing sacrifice of time and effort is required in order to keep down foxes in Cumberland, where they are a grave menace to the food supply; and whether he is now proposing to take further action to reduce the number of these pests in Cumberland?

Photo of Mr George Ridley Mr George Ridley , Clay Cross

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will give particulars of the special measures taken to bring about a reduction in the number of foxes?

Photo of Mr John Morgan Mr John Morgan , Doncaster

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will make regulations to provide compensation for damage done to farming land by hunting folk riding over sodden or sown fields; whether he is aware that masters of foxhounds are notifying poultry keepers that no payments for poultry killed by foxes will be made during the war; and whether he will take steps to secure compensation?

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the increasing irritation of farmers about the continuance of hunting during war time; the grave consequences to the food supply of the nation now involved in the damage to crops; the depredations of foxes artificially preserved and the wastages of foodstuffs in the feeding of hunters; and whether he will take steps to protect the national interests by vetoing the practice of hunting?

Photo of Mr John Leslie Mr John Leslie , Sedgefield

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the destruction of poultry and of lambs in the lambing season by foxes, he will include, in the special steps to be taken, their destruction in the breeding coverts?

Photo of Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith , Petersfield

I have received no representations by or on behalf of agriculturists, either through County War Agricultural Executive Committees or the National Farmers' Union, in regard to damage done to farming land by the continuation of hunting, and I see no justification for prohibiting the practice of hunting. I am not aware that action is being taken generally by Masters of Foxhounds Hunts to notify poultry keepers that no payment for poultry killed by foxes will be made during the war. In continuation of the replies which were given to the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Leslie) on 15th February and the hon. Member for Clay Cross (Mr. Ridley) on 22nd February, I am able to state that the Masters of Foxhounds Association are taking further steps to bring to the notice of Hunts the desirability of killing the maximum number of foxes during the remainder of the hunting season. The association have also, at my request, agreed to ask Masters to take steps to secure the destruction of foxes in the breeding coverts.

Photo of Mr John Leslie Mr John Leslie , Sedgefield

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that these breeding coverts cover a considerable acreage of land, and surely land was meant for use and not abuse? If the Minister is pre- pared to see me, I can produce evidence showing that destruction is going on throughout the country all the time, in regard not only to poultry but to land.

Photo of Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith , Petersfield

I shall be delighted to see the hon. Member.

Photo of Sir Mervyn Manningham-Buller Sir Mervyn Manningham-Buller , Northampton

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that in this country farmers are supplying hunting establishments with forage free to enable them to carry on fox hunting?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Is the Minister aware that there are many tenant farmers who dare not complain, and is he satisfied that hunting foxes is the most economic and expeditious way of disposing of them?