"....there is a safety concern as there is a high number of people cycling and the ducks often walk out in front of them....we would like to take action now before the population becomes uncontrollable"..... quote from licence applicant.
Just when you though that Natural England couldn't get any more controversial, I have discovered that one of the motives cited in a licence application to destroy Mallard eggs was that the duck poses a threat to cyclists!
I know - it sounds like an April Fool joke but alas this turns out to be the truth.
Natural England approved the licence in 2015 which permitted the destruction of 500 Mallard eggs because according to the licence holder "there is a safety concern as there is a high number of people cycling and the ducks often walk out in front of them"
A number of other 'reasons' for needing to destroy Mallard eggs were also provided by the applicant, including the prevalence of duck poo around seating areas.
I am struggling to find the words to express my disbelief and despair that Natural England decision makers thought it appropriate in any way to issue a licence to an applicant that seriously considered ducks to be a threat to cyclists. Surely someone at the agency should have challenged this stupidity at an early stage rather than proceed to issue a licence that legitimized the wanton destruction of wild birds eggs for such spurious reasons. This individual licence holder claimed to have destroyed only 127 eggs in their annual return, although (as we have noted before) it is up to the 'good practice' of the licence holder to submit accurate data. Other licences issued by the agency permitted the destruction of thousands more Mallard eggs.
The staff at Natural England need their heads examining if they think that they can defend this decision. The real or imagined problems caused to humans by ducks could surely be solved much more rationally than resorting to clumsy egg destruction.
"The proposed action is likely to reduce the risk of disease to people" - Natural England
In their application to Natural England, the aspiring egg saboteur described the 'problem' of ducks to Natural England by including the following explanation as part of their reasoning for wanting a licence.
"Mallards congregate around the [location withheld] where they are fed. This includes outside seating areas of restaurants. Faeces are a problem in these areas. Where the Mallards gather in numbers on paths there is a safety concern as there is a high number of people cycling and the ducks often walk out in front of them...."
The applicant goes on to say that "we would like to take action now before the population becomes uncontrollable".
As part of Natural England's assessment of the licence application, they decided in their wisdom that (quote) "the proposed action [destroying eggs] is likely to reduce the risk of disease to people".
Natural England saves us all from 'uncontrollable' ducks...
Natural England apparently agreed that ducks were indeed a threat to the public and so they asked the applicant for details of any qualifications they might have for carrying out the egg destruction. "In previous employment," responded the licence applicant, "I have had experience of oiling Canada Goose eggs." Based on this, Natural England concluded that the applicant was suitably qualified for destroying wild bird eggs in large numbers......
And now we, the general public (and especially passing cyclists...), can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that Natural England has saved us all from the 'uncontrollable' ducks.
Inconsistency and more questions
Incidentally, the licences to destroy Mallard eggs primarily covered the counties of Suffolk and Bedfordshire, and one wonders why the birds apparently pose no such danger to the public in other areas of England. This in itself illustrates the inconsistency of the whole shambolic licensing system.
So there you have it. Ducks posing a menace to passing cyclists by running out in front of them and Natural England taking the astonishing decision to approve the destruction of wild birds' eggs based on this questionable threat, together with the danger of bird poo and the potential of uncontrollable ducks.
Yep, the world has gone mad. And Natural England seems to be at the heart of the madness.
It is time to disband this ridiculous organisation.
If you like what I write about, please consider showing your support by buying me a virtual coffee!
Click the button below! Thanks :)