THE rabbit menace engaged the earnest attention of the delegates to the conference of the Institute of Stock Inspectors today, when a motion urging a survey of the existing machinery of control was carried unanimously.
It was moved by Mr. F. F. Forster (Goulburn), who emphasised that owing to favorable conditions throughout the State, the rabbit pest was becoming more dangerous to stock owners. The depredation of pastures by rabbits would undermine all the good work that scientists were doing.
Mr F. T. Yeomans (Narrandera), advocated that the work of rabbit destruction should be placed under one responsible department, preferably the Department of Agriculture. It was well known that members of Pastures Protection Boards had been "outed" because of their insistence upon faithfully doing their job in the matter of rabbit destruction.
"We stock inspectors might be rabbit inspectors, but only in name," added Mr. Yeomans.
Claiming that there was no active control in the western division, Mr. D. J. O'Neill (Condobolin) said a netting barrier was necessary to stop the waves of rabbits from the west.
It was, however, a national problem and not one for individual P. P. boards.
In moving that the Department or Agriculture be asked to take a more active interest in the work of rabbit destruction, the president (Mr C. J. Woollett, Lismore) said that where the P.P boards were falling down on their jobs—as was obvious in some districts—the department should take action to prevent irreparable damage to the pastures.
The motion was carried unanimously.
On the motion of Mr. Yeomans, the conference agreed that it was advisable that much heavier penalties should be inflicted upon persons convicted of sheep stealing.
Mr A. R. McNiven (Holbrook) said that so rife was sheep stealing on the Upper Murray that pastoralists recently formed a defence committee and had agreed to offer a reward—probably £100—for information which would lead to conviction.