asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, to abate the cruelty involved in the use of the gin trap, he will extend the subsidisation of Cymag to winter as well as summer months; abolish or modify the relaxation of the law against setting spring traps for rabbits elsewhere than in rabbit holes; arrange for military or transitionally unemployed labour to clear rabbits by humane methods and to clear lop and top in woodlands to facilitate the use of such methods; and revive the former research by the Bureau of Animal Population into the ecology of the wild rabbit.
As regards the first and second parts of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir T. Moore) on 25th October and 15th October respectively. The assignment of labour to rabbit control or lop and top clearance is within the discretion of county war agricultural executive committees, having regard to the relative urgency of the numerous claims on labour from the standpoint of food production. The Agricultural Research Council, in reviewing the research programme of the Bureau of Animal Population, Oxford, in consultation with the University and with my Department, will give due regard to the suggestion made in the last part of the Question.