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Pest Control

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 27 May 1943

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what species of birds and mammals have, in connection with the control of pests, been listed for extermination and/or quantitative control; in the case of those listed for quantitative control, how is the desired population-level determined and the actual population-level measured; and what machinery is adopted for protecting British fauna from indiscriminate destruction and for protecting rare or beneficial species?

The pest control policy of my Department aims at the extermination of rats and mice, wild rabbits, grey squirrels and wood pigeons, and at reducing the numbers of deer, foxes, moles, rooks, sparrows and pheasants to a point where they cease to be so numerous as to be likely to cause injury to agriculture. It is the responsibility of county war agricultural executive committees to determine, in the light of the circumstances in each area, what steps if any should be taken to effect such reductions. As regards the last part of the Question, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has certain responsibilities under legislation concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals and the preservation of wild birds.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many officers for control of pests have been appointed by his Department and the war agricultural, executive committees; and what scientific or technical qualifications are these officers required to have?

The number of technical officers engaged in pest control on the staff of the Ministry and the county war agricultural executive committees is six and in respectively. No specific technical or professional qualifications can be laid down for posts of this nature. Some of the staff are men with practical experience. Others, although they possess a general knowledge of rural conditions, have been appointed primarily because of their capacity as organisers which enables them to supervise and control the staffs who are engaged in carrying out the actual work of pest destruction.