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In my opinion: Protecting wildlife can have some unforeseen results

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

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We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers not according to some papers I have read recently. Sutherland council in Scotland is to spend £30,000 ridding the town of gulls following attacks on people and children.

Apparently the final straw was when a large seagull took a sausage roll from a young child's hand.

It looks like there's no austerity if the council can spend £30,000 on a gull cull, I wonder how the council is going to get rid of thousands of wild gulls.

In Cornwall some people are trying to get their councils to cull seagulls. Some people in Falmouth have been firing indiscriminately at the local seagulls. Seagulls are just following their natural instinct as scavengers and red kites are the same.

I had a letter in the Western Morning News more than eight years ago about seagulls and red kites. I said the worst misfortune that could befall our kites is unmitigated success, like seagulls.

I said as long as they remain fairly rare and a novelty, they have a future as a tourist attraction. The trouble will come when they become plentiful like seagulls and start moving in urban area.

The RSPCA is offering a £1,000 reward for the conviction of whoever poisoned two red kites near the Hertfordshire villages of Hexton and Pegsdon. The RSPCA is offering the money but laying people off to save money.

Since the red kites were reintroduced the kites multiplied to an extraordinary degree and can be seen circling menacingly in large numbers all over the home counties and beyond.

Some people want red kites numbers cutting down.

They have been taking farmers chickens and people's pets, school children have been attacked and had their lunches stolen by marauding red kites.

One lad had to be given a tetanus jab when is arm was slashed by one of the birds. One pupil said they swarm around while you are eating and sweep down to grab food out of your hands.

Anglers want a cull of large numbers of cormorants, farmers want a cull of sick badgers, gamekeepers tried to get some control on the increasing buzzard population.

Why have these problems arisen?

Successive democratic governments, often listen to those who shout loudest or have the largest wallets. They have interfered with a natural state.

It's not suggested that such legal interference is intended to do harm quite the reverse.

But the results are not foreseen or even desired.

The protection of all wild birds by human intervention has allowed nature to take its course, with unintended results.

Criminalising all control of predators has allowed these species to proliferate, to the disadvantage to other species.

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