22 JULY 1927, Page 15

THE HORRORS OF THE STEEL TRAP [To the Editor of

the SPECTATOR.]

am one of those monsters who employ steel traps for the destruction of rabbits, and, although I must admit that your correspondents have not exaggerated the sufferings of the animals, I feel that they do not understand the problem with which farmers and foresters are contending.

We do not trap rabbits for fun, or even for profit, but unless we destroy the vermin they will destroy us. On my small farm, in spite of ruthless warfare, the annual damage to crops and young trees runs into three figures. My personal loss is not a public disaster, but my failure to produce corn, beef, milk, and timber means that a considerable section of the public will suffer. I would rather see a rabbit die in an agony of hours than know that babies in the neighbour- ing town are dying all their lives for want of nourishment.

Unfortunately the only effective weapon is the steel trap. I have heard of a humane trap, but no one can tell me any- thing about it. If there is such a thing I should welcome particulars. We employ the stop-snare when possible, but these are only effective in the dark and when the rabbit is on the run. If the snare is visible the rabbit avoids it. Ferreting is only possible at certain seasons. In the spring, when damage is worst, the ferret enters the hole, gorges itself on the young rabbits, goes to sleep and is never heard of more. We would all welcome a humane method of extermination— especially the trappers, who are, as far as my experience goes, a humane class of men ; but little will be gained by screaming about the brutality unless the difficulties of the problem are fully grasped.—I am, Sir, &c., AGRICOLA.