Defra want to scrap the Rabbit Clearance Order - what do you think?

Rabbit by Laurie CampbellAs part of a drive to sweep away “red tape ” Defra claim:

This order has no effective impact. The general obligation to control rabbits has not been effectively enforced for some years now.

and so they propose to scrap the order because they feel it falls into a category of regulations that:

…are no longer being used so have no impact on anyone.

Before we respond to Defra we would be interested to know what you think of this proposal so please take our short survey below.

Background to the Rabbit Clearance Order

Pre-myxomatosis (accidently introduced in 1953) rabbits were the major vertebrate agricultural pest, causing an estimated £1.4bn of annual damage at today’s prices. The Pest Act 1954 sought to address this by giving Ministers the power to make rabbit clearance orders imposing general obligations upon occupiers of designated areas to control rabbits on that land (either by killing or taking them, or preventing damage by them). Rabbit Clearance Order No 148 consolidated all such extant orders covering England and Wales.

More about the history and current status of the rabbit can be read here.

Create your own user feedback survey



at 20:27 on 25/11/2015 by Ian Whittaker

Strange - there would be carnage in the countryside without predator control yet there is also a rabbit problem. Which is it? Perhaps there is a correlation between billions of bunnies and intensive predator control. We might need more foxes, stoats & buzzards. This countryside management lark is clearly more complicated than reaching for the gun or snare at any opportunity. Less is more?

rabbit controle

at 16:36 on 24/11/2015 by ian haddon

Paves the way for the next step, full protection?


at 14:15 on 24/11/2015 by Steven coles

I think they should scrap it,also the big national companies should stop introducing myxomatosis.because we all know it goes on,British rail,the coal board etc.


at 8:55 on 24/11/2015 by P.miller

Having lived on this Dorset farm for 50 yrs I have noticed fluctuations in the rabbit. Numbers over the years. But. I am rather concerned by the lack of numbers in the past year although I have seen no evidence of mexi. So I see no problem in defra lifting the restrictions. Yours Mrs p miller

Rabbit clearance debate

at 8:25 on 24/11/2015 by Tobi

Personally growing up surrounded by farms producing many different fruit and veg, I have seen the rabbits have little impact on crop production. I am sure some crops would apeal to rabbits more than others but im yet to whitness this. Our local farmers shoot the rabbits but only for there own dinner, and by no means in a bulk manner. To sum up, I think scrap the ban. Landowners can draught in rabbit shooters for free from there local shooting club if necessary. I've never seen them be a problem

Rabbit Clearance debate

at 20:40 on 23/11/2015 by Will Organ

I take on board the points of view from the two pest controllers who have based their business partly on the legitimate need to control rabbits. I am not sure how important the actual Rabbit Clearance Orders are to this though. The drive for their services seems to me to be commercial needs of the landowner/ business occupier. If the Orders set a requirement on the landowner to clear rabbits that implies they could do sued if the don't and, as I am not aware this has happened in my memory, perhaps that is why the government sees them as no longer relevant. I would just explain that my interest in rabbits is just to shoot a few each year to eat. From that point of view, I suppose I don't actually want them eradicated ( as unlikely as that is)

Rabbit Clearance debate.

at 19:41 on 23/11/2015 by Bernard Skally

I understand what Malcolm is saying and I agree with him.I don't think any legislation should be scrapped. Anyone who thinks rabbits are in decline should think again.

Rabbit Clearance Debate

at 16:56 on 23/11/2015 by Malcolm Mellor

I also totally echo the sentiments of Barry Luckhurst.. As a Norfolk based professional pest control specialist - ''Country Pest Control'',. my main occupation through the winter months is virtually constant rabbit control -(gassing,ferreting, night shooting) especially on farms adjacent to railway embankments, where there are often large concentrations of rabbits. It would be sheer folly to scrap the order, and feel DEFRA are taking the easy way out by even considering to do so. Some people say rabbits are in decline - don't believe a word of it !. Malcolm - www.countrygardenandpest.co.uk.

Rabbit Clearance debate

at 19:48 on 21/11/2015 by Barry Luckhurst

As a professional rabbit controller & clearance specialist based in East Kent, travel all over England eradicating & controlling rabbtits. I've seen grown men & women reduced to tears because of the humble Coney. They need to be controlled. & would meet with anyone to discuss problems faced by landowners , & damage done by rabbits. Right now I am ferreting, longnetting etc a farm growing Blackcurrants. Then onto a leading English winery & vineyard in kent. To eradicate a major rabbit problem ! So , rabbit clearance is Essential & any exsisting orders or legislation should not be scrapped ! Barry www.oldeenglishpestcontrol.co.uk

Make a comment

Cookie Policy

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better online experience. If you continue to use our site without changing your browser settings, we'll assume you are happy to receive cookies. Please read our cookie policy for more information.

Do not show this message again