25 February 2000

Rabbits to blame

YORKSHIRE Dales farmers have hit back at a national park ecologists claims that they are to blame for the destruction of rare vegetation in the dales because of overgrazing by sheep. The farmers said that rabbits were causing a lot of the damage to plant life in the internationally important limestone areas around Malham, Ingleborough and Wharfedale. "Rabbits are the biggest over-grazers", said farmer Edgar Darwin. "The national park authority should do something themselves rather than blame over-grazing by farm animals." &#42