15 APRIL 1938, Page 17

The Invincible Rabbit The campaign for the complete extinction of

rabbits in this country seems to be increasing in intensity; and the dieticians have been called in to deny the value of the rabbit as an article of food. It is alleged to be less than half as nutritious as butchers' meat, so-called. Nations differ in their appreciation of rabbit on the table. In some parts of Germany, in older days, even the poorer people would not dream of eating rabbit. In English country places it is among the most popular foods, though the folk have many prejudices as to what is good and what is not good to eat. They will not, for example, eat moorhen, and some will not eat pigeons. The general objection among our labourers to soup, as a washy and useless form of food, is perhaps a hindrance to a catholic taste in food. The variations in the price of rabbits in England are sharp and inexplicable ; and it is said that the population of rabbits goes up and down with the price ; but were rabbits worth as much as hares or pheasants they would hardly be exterminated. The skill of the doe in hiding her nursery from man, from the buck and from vermin, is scarcely credible. She is helped by the power of the young to endure complete starvation during daylight hours. If the exterminators are serious in their policy, they should take some little island where rabbits swarm (Skokholm is one example) and try to clear it. So far, even in that very narrow space, all efforts even to reduce the population have proved utterly futile.