The use of the gin trap is permissible in Scotland for the capture of foxes and otters only. Arrangements have been made, in consultation with the National Farmers' Union, the Scottish Landowners Federation and the organisations concerned with salmon fisheries, for a survey over the next year of the extent to which the gin trap and other methods respectively are used for dealing with these species.
Thereafter I shall consider further whether the present law should be changed.
Does the Secretary of State realise that this is a very unsatisfactory and cruel device which is banned in England? Is not the law rather ridiculous, in that animals cannot distinguish; they cannot tell that it is confined to otters and foxes? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me something about the experiments which I believe are going on with the contraceptive pill and gas as more humane methods?
There is a later Question dealing with the latter point. The reason for the different legislative procedures of Scotland and England is, once again, the facts of geography. We have far more hills. We have far more wild hill sheeplands. We have had strong representations about the effect the banning of the gin trap would have. It would cause serious losses on these lands. We must balance these factors before we come to any conclusion.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give any progress report about the contraceptive methods for foxes which I believe were at least under experiment before? Has he any information from Canada on this subject?