[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sin,—I have been much
interested in the correspondence in these columns concerning the cruelty involved by the use of snares and steel traps. As a farmer who is greatly troubled by rabbits I should like to point out that farmers and others who use snares and steel traps do not do so because they are deliberately callous and cruel, but because it is absolutely necessary to do so until some humane means of destruction have been discovered which are equally effective.
Major Van der Byl must know that it is necessary, if farming is to continue, to keep down rabbits to an absolute minimum. Any farmer who pays his rent with his rabbits is farming abominably badly, unless he has just taken over the farm prom a man who has allowed it to become overrun. The
income derived from the sale of rabbits does not pay for the damage they do. I hope that Major Van der 'Byl will never let himself forget this. Let it be done huffianely if possible, but they are desperately destructive and dangerous, and whether the means are humane or not they must be killed. If we do not destroy them they.will destroy us.
I have tried the so-called " humane " snare, but is it humane?
I ask Major Van der Byl, Is it more humane to let a rabbit struggle miserably through the night than to kill it, an. doubtedly painfully, but in a few moments ? The second thing to be considered is whether it is efficient. Major Vas der Byl seems to think that the humane snare can be used instead of the steel trap. This is definitely not the case, The trap is used at the mouths of earths which are too deep to dig. The snare is used on runs in the open. Both are at present essential. No snare, humane or otherwise, can take the place of the steel trap.
The S.P.C.A. sent me in September last, at my request, one
of these humane snares. It has been in constant use, but has only caught one rabbit although the other snares have caught hundreds. The only explanation that I can give is that the rabbits can see the knot in the wire and avoid it. Finally, I think it probable that if the snare did deceive the rabbits it would not be long before the wire snapped at the knot. I have not tried the Collington netting device nor have I seen a steel trap which kills instantly, but unless they are more humane and more efficient than the humane " snare they can never be used as substitutes for the present methods.
I should be glad if you would publish this letter as it is only fair that your readers should see the other side of this question before they decide that the farmers are exploiting the sufferings of the rabbit for their own profit.—I am, Sir, &c.,
JOHN F. H. CHRISP.
Low Trewhitt, Thropton, Morpeth, Northumberland.