15 MAY 1941, Page 11

Pigeon-Menace Even some country-people are, however, short of vegetables, and

I myself have occasionally been supplying neighbours who, in other years, sometimes supplied me. The main cause brings up another case in which the price of an article of food is both wrong and absurd. Tons of spring vegetables have been destroyed this year by wood-pigeons; tons more, to say nothing of agricultural crops, will probably be destroyed before the end of the summer. Yet the price of wood-pigeon in London is, I hear, at least half a crown. The situation in which the gardener is urged to grow more vegetables only to have those vegetables devoured by a bird, which in turn is sold at a luxury price because of its apparent scarcity, is too much for me to explain. At monotonous intervals, for about five years, I have been saying something about the wood-pigeon on this page. With the rat and the rabbit it is our most serious menace to food-production. Continually we have been promised organised pigeon-shoots, pigeon-weeks, and all manner of efforts at extermination : all half- hearted. And until there is a serious national campaign against the pigeon we must, I suppose, continue to foster a situation which might have delighted Butler or Swift: grow more vegetables for food, feed more pigeons on the vegetables, and then buy the pigeons back so that you have more food. In that way, as in the story of the negro who traded his horse for a load of hay and then borrowed the horse back so that it could eat the hay, we at least have what the negro called eciprocity.