3 FEBRUARY 1956, Page 29

Country Life


WHEN myxomatosis first began to spread in some of the southern counties of England there Were stories of farmers in other parts offering considerable sums of money for infected rabbits, and it was said that some of them had made long journeys to obtain infected speci- mens. Once again there are rumours of a traffic in rabbits taking place. This time myxo- Matosis-free or immunised rabbits are talked about. It would, 1 fancy, be just as hard to pin down the people concerned in this secretive business as it was to trace anything about those Who hastened the plague on its way. An island oft the coast of Wales is said to be one source of myxomatosis-free rabbits. Whether the trade is as extensive as the story suggests I do not know, but there are rabbits about in some Places that might have been cleared up. This is doe to the disease having lost its power. Obviously rabbits obtained from the small islands round about the coast could soon re- produce the swarms we knew before the plague. one hopes that something more positive will he done to prevent a new wave of rabbits than ‘vas done to curb the deliberate spreading of the disease. One doesn't doubt that a squirrel tail is worth the two shillings that the Forestry Commission put upon it. Rabbit tails under Present circumstances should be worth a great deal more as a once-and-for-all investment, Particularly if the millions of.pounds' worth of damage blamed upon the rabbit was anything near the mark.