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Sharp words were exchanged at a meeting of the Denman-Single-<*> ton Pastures Protection Board yesterday, when the Secretary of the Denman M.Z.D.C., Mr. McArthur Onslow, was challenged by Director J. Wright, on a remark that Mr. McArthur Onslow flatly refused to
draw. The incident occurred when Mr. McArthur Onslow was explaining to the directors a plan which had been submitted by the Denman Milk Zone Dairymens Council for the mass eradication of rabbits in the Den man-Singleton area.
As secretary of the Den man M.Z.D.C., Mr. McArthur Onslow had requested an in terview with the Board, which had been cordially granted. Mr McArthur Onslow told the Board that his Council was anxious to carry out an organised campaign of rab bit extermination in theDen man-Singleton district, and sought the co-operation of the Pastures Protection Board. "Rabbit infestation," he said, "is worse now than it has ever been. Rabbits have become such a serious men ace that only by making an outright, systematic war on them can we hope to bring them under control. "I come here as the repre sentative of more than 100 dairymen. They are all willing to co-operate if they have the backing of your Board. "I repeat," said Mr McAr thur Onslow, "This is a Na tional question. Rabbits are getting completely out of hand. We can't dodge the fact. It must be tackled." "I resent that, "Director Wright said, sharply. "Are you claiming that rabbit in festation is worse now than it was, say 12 months ago?"
"I do" "Then you have no con sideration for the work that has been carried out, not only by this Board, but by individual property owners,' Director Wright shouted angrily. "Everything that can be done to control rab bits has been done. And it's been a good job." Interposing, the chairman, Mr R. Clendinning, said that Mr McArthur Onslow's re marks were a reflection on the Board, and on individual property owners who had worked hard to rid their pro perties of rabbits.
INSPECTOR'S OPINION Asked by the Chairman for his opinion, Rabbit In spector Goodchild said that he had been on the job more than 12 months and to his positive knowledge there had been a steady depreciation of rabbits in the Denman-Sing leton area. Mr McArthur Onslow said he was not prepared to with draw his assertion that rab bits were worse now than they had ever been, and that they are an increasing Na tional menace. "Tlie only way to get rid of them is to make war on them," he said. "This is j what the Denman M.Z.D.C. are wanting to do—with I the help of the Pastures Pro tection Board." "I repeat," said Director Wright, "Your remarks are a reflection on the Board and its officers, and on all local property owners who put in time and money to deal with infestation." Mr McArthur Onslow: "I
didn't come along here to make any reflections on the Board or anyone else. I came here to get backing for a plan to clear rabbits out of this area. I am surprised, Mr Chairman, that a director should accuse me of making reflections." "I do say so," said Direc tor Wright. "What you said is a slur and I resent it." "Rabbits-are being attack ed very satisfactorily," said Mr Clendinning. "There is no doubt that they have been reduced considerably." "I am sorry, gentlemen, but I cannot withdraw my statement," said Mr. McAr thur Onslow. "However, I did not come here to make an argument. I came here to enlist your co-operation in making war on rabbits."
PLAN DETAILS "What exactly do you want us to do," asked Dir ector Sheppard. "We're al ways interested in any sound plan to get rid of rabbits." "Our plan,' replied Mr McArthur Onslow, "is to div ide the area into zones and to make a systematic drive to eradicate every rabbit in the region. "What we are asking your Board to do is to give us six rippers and some fumigators, with your insnectors to sup ervise trie operations. Our people will do the rest." Asked by Director Bowman if he could guarantee the co-operation of all members of the M.Z.D.C. in making the drive, Mr McArthur Onslow said "No." "I can't guarantee that. We must make them co operate, i suggest your Board meet our Council and discuss the whole matter with them as soon as pos sible—say in about 10 days." Asked by Director Shepp ard if the Milk Zone Dairy men's Council realised what the cost would be. Mr. Mc- Arthur Onslow said he did not. So far as he knew it would not cost anything. "The members will be frightened when they find out," said Mr. Sheppard. "As I understand the posi tion a charge has to be made for the use of the machinery, and this has to be borne by the property owners using it." Mr. Sheppard said the Board had been trying to find out from the Depart ment what the cost of the machinery was going to be, and what charges would have to be carried to the property owners.
FUNDS AVAILABLE. The Chairman (Mr. R. Clendinning) pointed out that although there was said to be a fund totalling about £500,000, the most that was likely to be allocated to the Denman Singleton Pastures Protection Board was about £1000, or at most £2000, ac cording to the size of the Board. The Rabbit Destruction Authority had told them that rippers would not be avail able for six to eight weeks. The chairman said that there was little doubt but that the cost was likely to be prohibitive. "We will have to take into account that machinery will be hired, that idling in wet weather, and movement of machinery to and from the depot will have to be paid for. But we have no idea what the cost will actually be until we are advised."
COMMISSIONS. Stating that he would go down to Sydney to see Mr. Graham if necessary, Mr. McArthur Onslow asked if any member of the Board had held a commission in the army. Mr. Sheppard re plied in the affirmative. "Then," replied Mr. Mc- Arthur Onslow, "you will re member what we had to do to get things for our men. We had to worry and worry the authorities until we got what we wanted. That's what we'll have to do now to get what we want from the De partment." "It's a good scheme if you can get your people to co operate," Director Bowman remarked. "But would the M.Z.D.C. guarantee payment
of the costs?' Mr. McArthur Onslow . said he had no authority to make any guarantee involving cash. Inviting the Board to meet the Denman branch of the M.Z.D.C. to discuss the plan and see how far their mem bers were prepared to go, Mr. McArthur Onslow said that the M.Z.D.C. wanted to get something going. Director Wright reminded the Board that the idea of grouping for an attack on the rabbit pest was the Board's policy. Mr. McArthur Onslow said that the proposition which his council had authorised him to put gave the Board a chance to act now. Interjecting, the chairman said that the Board was so anxious to destroy rabbits that they would be prepar ed to back any workable plan. If the Denman M.Z.D.C. was willing to co-operate fully, the Board would go all the way to help. But, he said, the Board had to be sure that such a plan would be carried through. That was the important matter. (Continued Inside Page)