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THE FARMER.

Pedigree Shorthorns for New Zealand.

“ The Times ” reports that the Hon. T. Bussell, of New Zealand, was a buyer of both Clydesdales and shorthorns at Lord Dunmore’s sale, and he also bought two Valuable fillies at Mr Martin’s important ■ale in Dumbartonshire, which was held on Thursday, the day following that at Dunmore. Mr Bussell, however, made a ■till more noteworthy purchase of four very high-class young shorthorn bulls of fashionable pedigrees from the herd of Mr B. Oliver, of Whittlebury, consisting of one of the purest bred Oxford in the Kingdom—Oxford Bpyal, by the 3rd Duke'of Glbster, Mr Cheney’s celebrated Duchess bull, and from 10th Maid of Oxford, a cow sold to Earl Bective at the l«ht Qaddesby sale for 1600 guineas ; prince Wild Eyes and Duke Winsome, "two exceedingly well-bred animals of the Wild Eyes tribe, the former by Grand Duke 22nd and out of Velvet Eyes, the latter by the same sire, and from Winsome 6th, bred by the Duke of Devonshire, and so highly prized at Holker ; n !«r> a son of the 7th Duke of Tregunter and Grand Duchess Fawnley 3rd, the fomsr a pure-bred Duchess bull, bred by tifflpw*! Gunter, the latter a well-bred cow of mixed Bates and Knightly blood. Mr Bussell has one of the largest shorthorn herds in the world in New Zealand, and a herd of pure-bred Herefords almost as large, and for the latter he has been enabled to select some of the best-bred in England of the white-faced breed, such as Cuomassie, the Royal first - prize calf at Kilburn. and who has been unconquered at all other shows this year; Horace 2nd, who won a Royal second prize at Bristol j and a full sister to Leonora, Mrs Edward’s champion cow, who has been first in the Royal lists since calfdom.

Stoats and Polecats for New Zealand,

The following letter, signed “ Curtis H. Anderson, New Mexico,” appeared in a late Issue of the “ Held ” :

Sir, —Seeing two letters in your issue of July 6 with regard to the importation of utoate «"<i polecats into New Zealand for the destruction of rabbits, 1 should like to say a few words on the subject of an experiment which, if successful, would be of the greatest importance to the landowners and holders, and to the general prosperity of the southern portion of that colony, and one which, I think, neither Professor Newton nor Mr Harting—to judge from their letters —are sufficiently well acquainted with. In a matter of tins kind it is to be hoped that 1 little attention will be paid to the opinion of private individuals at home with no interests at stake, who do not understand the state of affairs there, but that the welfare of a large community will he fully taken into consideration: and, as the now general depression in those parts shows, the rabbit nuisance question none which can by no means be lightly

—Not iw- tKS-pR?SBTTr aa|ffeaßroii ihwtirely owing to the rabbits ; bad seasons have put the finishing stroke upon the unlucky squatters whose runs were already much impoverished by their depredations

It would take up too much of your valuable apace to go into statistics, showing tits almost incredible number of rabbits killed in Otago, and the cost incurred within the last few years ; how the stock - carrying capability of the province has been diminished, and how the whole southern portion of the Middle Island is suffering m consequence. Suffice it to say tb«t many men formerly in good circumstances have been utterly ruined, mid many more are on the verge of ruin, while all their efforts have been as yet fiitile in anything like extirpating the vermin or preventing them from increasing. One who has not lived in a rabbitinfested district can form little idea of the destruction they work, and the way in which formerly well grassed, fattening country is made desert Every means that could be thought of has been tried in vain, to, get rid of them. In aome parts where the ground i* more favorable for working, they have been kept in check for a time, hut only to appear in larger numbers from the more inaccessible breeding grounds. J g |t to be wondered at that the sufferers are anxious to import any animals that are likely to aid in the destruction of such enemies 1 Are the pheasants and other game to be considered in a crisis sush as this ? , , And who, pray, "are so simple as to think that any of the Musteliadse will confine their destructive operations to rabbits ?” It is certainly deplorable to think that the game will go too, but what, again I ask, is that compared with a calamity of this kind ? and much exaggerated it cannot be. I do not consider that the benefit to accrue by importing polecats and stoats, even in as great numbers as possible, would be felt for a considerable time, but anything that can be looked to even in the far future as a means of eradicating the rabbits ought to be hailed with joy. However enthusiastic a sportsman may he, he loses somewhat of his ardor when he finds he cannot make bread and butter for himself and family on account of the preservation of the game. Would Mr Newton or Mr Harting kindly place himself for a few moments in the position of a,Southland squatter. Say he has a good run, and his sheep or cattle, as the case may be, are doing well and multiplying, , ’ . • , Soon he looks forward to a little shootings a"d say his pheasants and Californian quail have increased and multiplied in like manner. Then rumors of rabbits come, and shortly a few outrunners themselves, which, he does his best to find out and kill; then they begin to come more thickly and in pieces in the bends of the creeks and rivers the grass begins to show signs of being decidedly eaten down. In two or three years from that time he finds that, notwithstanding all his efforts, however strenuous' the rabbits have increased, the grass Is destroyed and eaten out; in place of -20,000 or 30,000 sheep he has „.ly shoot- .balf that number, and these am w-etched’y poor and flying J scarcely auy.'a-iibiua, and little wo n in the worst efniditinn. He does not know what to do to help himself. SeU hh property be

cannot j tharc are no buywi, He still struggles on, trying everything in his power for the eradication of the pests—the same as he hasdone from the beginning. The hawks—and they are numerous—are strictly preserved, and likewise the woodhens, which occasionally kill the young rabbits. The children are encouraged to look well after the cats and kittens in the winter time, and these are turned out in the spring, conveyed in sacks with much mewing to distant parts of the run, from which they seldom return, having a good time of it and plenty to eat. Needless much longer to spin out the story. What are the pheasants and quail to him now ? A thorough sportsman at heart, what are they compared with his prospects in life? Would he not be only too glad if the place was overrun with polecats and stoats, so long as the rabbits were gone, and he saw the grass growing and his stock thriving once again 7 ■ The bank carries him on as long as it can,’ and when this can assist him no longer, he has to go out, as many a good honest fellow has lately done in Southland, ruined, and with a wife and family on his hands. Would Mr Newton or MrHarting then write two such letters as those published in your issue of July 5 ? I think not. No doubt pole cats will in future years become a nuisance in New Zealand, if they increase in the same way as almost every hardy imported animal does there ; but, at the same time, in however large numbers,' they can hardly affect the welfare of the country in the same way the rabbits are now doing, and most assuredly the two cannot exist together in numbers. Bunny must at last go to the wall and high time too.

Mr F ewton seems afraid of the poultry. But why should the poultry become a prey to the polecats 7 lam living at present in a country infested with skunks in great numbers, much more impudent and ruthless enemies of the fowlhouse than polecats, and yet my hens live and lay eggs, and why 7 For the simple reason that my fowlhouse is built so that skunks can’t get in.

As for the rare native birds Mr Harting mentions, the kakapo, kiwi, and native quail, I fear they have little chance of surviving in any case, and they will soon disappear with the advance of civilisation without the aid of polecats If they would climb the mountains, and catch some of the keas, and other rare birds, perhaps the squatters about the Wanaka Lake would only be too glad, as this peculiar bird, although not much bigger than the common green parrot, is very destructive to sheep in the high mountain ranges, and particularly in that picturesque part of the country. My letter is longer than I intended, and I now close with the hope that nothing may be done to try and prevent the unfortunate laedowners in Otago from introducing any animal into the country that may be of help in exterminating the rabbits ; and I cannot call it by any other name than short-sighted policy, seeing that a large part of the island will have to be abandoned, and the colony will suffer in consequence, if something of the kind is not attempted soon.

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THE FARMER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 21, 13 November 1879

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