Wednesday, 5 March 2008


Radio 4 has this uncanny knack of taking a subject in which you thought you had no interest, and drawing you in so you're hanging on its every word.

That happened to me this morning with In Living Memory, discussing myxomatosis in rabbits:
Contemporary history series.

Chris Ledgard recalls the outbreak of the early 1950s which almost wiped out the country's entire rabbit population, to the consternation of animal lovers but to the relief of farmers desperate to protect their crops.

I ended up so enthralled that I had to delay my plans by half an hour, to hear the whole programme. The history in Australia, the introduction of the disease to the UK (seemingly deliberately) and the mixture of those who were glad of the disease to control the rabbit populations (often those in agriculture) and those who thought it was a death too cruel to inflict deliberately.

They even brought in Beatrix Potter and how many people in Britain's response to the situation was influenced by our childhood memories of the nasty Mr MacGregor.

The Australian government encouraged the deliberate spreading of myxomatosis in rabbits, whereas here the prospect of introducing a new disease into nature was generally perceived as a more unwise option.

I have to say, I am on the side of the Peter Rabbit lovers.

1 comment:

Claire said...

Yay, the Pips is back! and with a pro-rabbit posting too. Am happy.