24 July 1998
It’s Slaughtership Down in East Sussex

HUNDREDS of thousands of rabbits are to be culled on the South Downs near Eastbourne this winter in one of the largest eradication programmes in Britain since the myxomatosis virus was released in the Sixties.

Eastbourne Borough Council – which approved the culling because it blames the rabbits for contributing to soil erosion – has come under intense criticism from animal rights campaigners and local residents.

Its plans to gas the rabbits or shoot or kill them using ferrets or hawks.

A council spokesman said it was not something the council “took enjoyment from”, but added that it had a legal obligation to maintain the South Downs. The Ministry of Agriculture was forced to abandon the use of gas to control badgers years ago after scientists showed that they could suffer a slow, lingering death in their sets.

  • The Times 24/07/98 page 6
  • The Daily Telegraph 24/07/98 page 1