Campaigners Fight Proposed Pigeon Feeding Ban

Nov. 29, 2006 – Press Release – 29th November 2006

Save the Trafalgar Square Pigeons (STTSP) has submitted a detailed report to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Government department charged with approving or declining Westminster’s application. The report reveals how the proposed law is disproportionate, unnecessary, impractical and even counterproductive.

The campaigners point out that, in recent years, their ongoing feed reduction programme has led to a massive but humane reduction in pigeon numbers. The successful programme, until recently operated in partnership with the Mayor, has two years to run but would be criminalised by the proposed law, as would anyone dropping a few crumbs for the birds.

“It defies belief that a programme that has been hailed as an example to the world of how to reduce pigeon numbers in a humane and sustainable manner, could suddenly become a criminal offence two years before its completion,” argued STTSP spokesman Niel Hansen.

It is not the first time that Westminster has sought a byelaw banning the feeding of pigeons. Applications in 1993 and again in 1997 were refused on the grounds that such a law would criminalise otherwise law-abiding members of the community. “If it was unacceptable to criminalise otherwise law abiding people in 1993 and 1997, how is it acceptable in 2006?” asked Mr Hansen.

STTSP has also written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, and to Superintendent Peter Terry of Charing Cross police, inviting them to make representations on the proposal to the DCLG. “At a time when they are contending with ongoing and serious threats from domestic and international terrorists, in addition to their general crime-fighting responsibilities, I’m sure Westminster’s police officers are delighted with the prospect of being called to deal with old ladies engaged in a new criminal offence of pigeon feeding,” said Mr Hansen.

For further information please contact Niel Hansen on 07984 368179.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

• A copy of the report submitted to DCLG can be found at http://www.savethepigeons.org/ObjectionToByelaw.pdf. Full background to the campaign can be found at www.savethepigeons.org.

• 2001: Feed reduction programme starts, with birds fed 150kg of corn a day; the amount they had been receiving from the Square’s ousted traditional feed seller, Bernie Raynor.

• 2001 – 2006: In agreement with Mayor, and under expert supervision to ensure bird welfare, the feed is gradually reduced from 150kg per day to current level of 35kg per day. Numbers reduced from 4,000+ to current level of 1,500. Birds learned to disperse following feed, resulting in drop in numbers during day to around 200 – 95% fewer than before the agreement started.

• 2006: Mayor pulled out of feed reduction agreement. With feeding illegal on GLA-owned part of Trafalgar Square, programme relocated to North Terrace, owned by City of Westminster Council.

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