§ 25. Mr. ANDERSON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers in various parts of the country are complaining of the depredations of foxes, especially among poultry; and whether, in view of the fact that fox-hunting has for the most part been abandoned, and that economy in the matter of food is being generally advocated, steps will be taken to destroy the foxes and to stop the waste of food for which they are responsible?
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, before he answers this question, if he is not aware that it is not the case that hunting has been for the most part abandoned and that in many hunting counties at this moment where the foxes, are specially numerous the process of destruction has already been undertaken and in a most scientific manner; and if in different counties last year more foxes, were killed, to my knowledge, than ever before; and is he aware that the destruction of foxes means the destruction of hunting, and, if hunting, horse breeding; and, finally, is he not aware that a Committee, at the behest of the War Office, 153 has been appointed lately by his own Department for the purpose of ascertaining if something cannot be done to encourage horse breeding in the interests of the Army, which is terribly needed?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Acland)
I believe everything the right hon. Gentleman has said is perfectly true, but it is not much consolation to talk to people who rear poultry about horses when they do not themselves rear horses. No doubt the destruction of poultry, in spite of the very active efforts which have been made, still continues. In reply to the question on the Paper (No. 25), the Board are aware of the complaints to which the hon. Member refers, and have made strong representations on the subject to the Masters of Foxhounds Association. The association has made a most earnest appeal to all hunts, and it is hoped that, as a result of this action, the number of foxes is being and will be reduced. The Board will continue, however, to keep the matter under close observation.