A leading animal rights campaigner has accused park keepers of being cruel and lazy for killing some of Britain’s most beautiful birds.
Park keepers — who complain that the birds destroy grass, spread disease, scare the public and cause mess — routinely destroy Canada geese and gull eggs by dipping them in paraffin or pricking them with needles.
Animal rights campaigner Carla Lane, who wrote TV series Bread and The Liver Birds, said: “Park keepers are just like everybody else. They can’t stand the fact that animals poo. If they put up a sign to tell the public they were doing this the majority would be horrified.”
But Andre Farrer, press officer for the RSPB, defended the practice: “It is legal and entirely appropriate to moderate wildfowl populations.”
Paul Creighton, head ranger at South Ribble Borough Council, said the birds spread cryptospirosis, which can cause salmonella. He said numbers were the problem at places such as Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve and the council has won certification from DEFRA to paint the eggs with castor oil to stop them fertilising.
He added: “We’ve got to look after nature and not let it be dominated be one species that’s not indigenous to this country.”
Steve Smith, head of parks for Oldham, said he had asked conservationists from Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust site Martin Mere in Lancashire to write a management plan for the 200 geese at Alexandra Park. He said: “We don’t want to do anything to alienate the public. It could backfire publicity-wise.”
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