October 2nd - A bit grisly, this, but I feel it needs saying. Myxomatosis never really went away, but it seems to be sweeping through South Staffordshire again. This wild rabbit - spotted wandering helpless on a grass verge in Chorley, near Burntwood - is blinded by this dreadful rabbit plague. Introduced from Venezeula to Australia in the early 20th century to control the burgeoning rabbit population, this pernicious disease was accidentally imported to France by scientists. Soon it came to the UK. Causing blindness and tumours, it’s a horrid disease and a prolonged, hideous death. I’ve seen five or six bunnies in this state recently - this one so impaired that it was unaware I was a couple of feet away. I can’t bring myself to kill animals, but I hope foxes or the buzzards strike soon.
There is a light on the horizon. Studies show that the rabbit population - increasing, currently - is becoming gradually immune. Next time you see some agribusiness wonk on TV telling you that science is the solution to agriculture issues, remember this rabbit.
If you keep pet rabbits, take care if your garden backs onto open land, or where they may come into contact with their wild cousins.