Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Myxomatosis horror still lingers on today

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit
Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit
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I am building a rabbit-proof fence. Strange you might think. I thought Les Stocker loved all wildlife. But there’s the rub. My rabbit-proof fence is to keep rabbits in not keep them out.

Back in 1953 somebody introduced myxomatosis to Britain to try to wipe out all the rabbits.

It nearly did with only a meagre few surviving this most hideous of diseases. We are all horrified at chemical warfare, just imagine our horror at germ warfare.

But this is the nightmare we inflicted on fellow animals in the 50s.

It is still around. Many is the time that an infected rabbit is seen sightless grazing by the side of the road.

He isn’t blind. He only can’t see because of the bacteria clogging up his eyelids, ears and other areas.

Underneath all this crusty abomination is a rabbit fighting a virus nothing to do with these symptoms.

He can overcome the virus but that bacterial affliction makes sure that he cannot see and cannot protect himself. He will soon perish.

Us humans hate to see this appalling disease and are often in turmoil as to what to do with the ‘myxi’ rabbit we find by the side of the road.

So many are brought into Tiggywinkles that we have worked out a treatment that can conquer that bacterial invasion. Unfortunately there are no ways of combatting the actual myxomatosis virus other than the rabbits immune system taking over.

We now have a whole cacophony of treatments to counter the bacterial infection even treating and releasing those iconic eyelids.

Many rabbits overcome the virus, some we have to put to sleep.

But now those bright eyed survivors have their own rabbit proof area where they cant bother anybody and nobody can bother them.