Beatrix Potter kept rabbits in her garden at Hill Top. They weren’t pets; they were for the pot. I don’t know how she despatched them, but whatever method she used the chances are that she would be committing a criminal offence under the law as it stands. The other day Mr Raymond Elliott, who is a window cleaner, was convicted of a criminal offence under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act for drowning a grey squirrel which he had caught in a trap. These traps are sold by the thousand and we use them here. The RSPCA has decreed that the only way to stay on the right side of the law if you want to kill squirrels or any wild animal is to take it to the vet and have it put down with a lethal injection. If an animal has been killed by lethal injection it is against the law to eat it, which will put anyone who keeps rabbits, ducks or chickens for the pot in an impossible dilemma. The reality is that the Animal Welfare Act will make criminals of most farmers and owners of small-holdings and indeed the many gardeners who, like Mr Elliott who want to protect their plants and their crops from squirrels. Is there any justification for killings squirrels if we don’t eat them? Yes, because they are a scourge, particularly in a area like Cumbria where they are driving out the red squirrel. Let’s not forget that Tufty was a red squirrel- grey’s were unknown in Beatrix Potter’s day.