Natural England approved the destruction of more than 4,500 Mallard eggs and birds under licences issued since 2018 - I am waiting for them to explain why...... but I already have my suspicions .....and the whole thing stinks....
A number of years ago, whilst out rambling, I fell face down into a cow pat. It was very unpleasant. It was also hilarious, especially to those who witnessed my misadventure - but you know, it's a funny thing, I didn't find myself wanting to go and kill the cow that left the offending pat.
So why is it that some halfwits are seeking to kill birds simply because of an irrational fear of bird droppings, citing the poo as a public health and safety issue? Of course, it seems ridiculous (to those of us who have a modicum of common sense) that the first thought occurring to those who happen across animal faeces is to apply for a licence to kill the animal responsible for the poop. And yet that is exactly what is happening, in these strange times, where health and safety paranoia has taken over from rational thinking.
Bird Poo - A Threat To Public Health And Safety? Really???
As I've reported in earlier blogs, Natural England, the country's official nature watchdog, has been handing out licences to unknown individuals and authorities (their identities kept private) to kill hundreds of birds - coots and moorhens for example - simply because they are pooping in parks. Natural England decided that the bird's droppings present a significant danger to passers-by, who they seem to suggest would be unable to take evasive action and might slip on the offending pieces of poo.
Whilst researching one example case where Natural England approved the killing of coots due to the birds' vulgar habit of going to the toilet, I was informed in an email from Natural England's Operations Director that "A highly significant amount of fouling to pubic areas was evident." I think he meant public rather than pubic but, either way, the agency clearly decided that the droppings presented such a serious health and safety risk that licences were issued to destroy hundreds of the birds. When I broke the story, readers were understandably outraged.
I know the vast majority of sensible people in this country would be opposed to the killing of wildlife simply because that wildlife, in common with every other living organism, has to defecate.
Approved: Destruction Of Thousands of Mallard Eggs
I'm currently in the process of investigating, through another of my now ubiquitous freedom of information requests (still the only way to obtain data), just why Natural England have been busy approving the destruction of thousands of Mallard eggs. My hunch is that it might have something to do with the danger presented by their droppings - the Mallard's droppings that is, not those emanating from Natural England whose droppings are surely gold plated and therefore present no risk to public health....
The Mallard is one of Britain's most loved birds, a favourite duck, immediately recognisable, comical to watch and altogether a delightful addition to the nation's wildlife.
Oh dear but Natural England have apparently decided that we have too many.
Licences Issued To Destroy 4,500 Mallard Eggs Since 2018...
So, since 2018, they have issued licences approving the destruction of more than 4,500 Mallard eggs and birds.
One licence permitted the 'oiling and pricking' (aka destruction) of 1000 eggs to 'preserve public health'.
Another single licence approved the destruction of an unbelievable 2000 eggs which they said might prove to be a risk to health and safety and air safety.
Other reasons given for the destruction of hundreds more eggs were 'falconry and aviculture'.
The agency also issued licences to shoot the ducks for damaging crops, presumably outside of the 'open season' for shooting Mallards when the birds can be freely killed for what is laughingly known as 'sport'.
Although the Mallard is not considered to be of conservation concern, one wonders how long this will remain the case when, in addition to the hunters, Natural England are themselves on an unseasonal and unpalatable killing spree of their own.
I'll await the details of the Mallard licences. I expect that those issued to 'preserve public health', will, as with the Coot licences, be due to an irrational fear of the danger posed by their droppings - but we'll see. Perhaps Natural England will for once present a convincing case as to why they decided that thousands of wild birds eggs needed to be destroyed.
Has anyone ever, ever, died due to a close encounter with duck poo? It seems unlikely. I survived having my face immersed in a cow pat, perhaps that instilled in me a sense of balance, not to say humour. I think many of us would gladly accept the risk involved in encountering a bit of bird poo if it meant saving the life of the 'offending' creature.
Our petition calling for a complete overhaul of Natural England's licensing system, - covering ALL of our native wild birds - can be signed HERE
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