Thursday, 4 May 2017

Public Enemy Number One?


Odd news that East Devon District Council is to introduce the possibility of an £80 fine for 'feeding gulls' in their area (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-39771759). A number of other councils (e.g. Bath) are also said to be considering similar actions. That would make the treatment of the poor, old gulls vastly differently from other birds (who also have bacteria in their droppings- one of the arguments used against gulls) who are actively encouraged by a profusion of garden feeding devices or Red kite feeding centres. Gulls (not really 'sea-restricted' birds) are opportunistic feeders who take the fish guts jettisoned by fishermen, stale bread and the odd pasty with equal gusto. Without properly designed waste bins, they will simply take human food waste from containers near fast-food outlets et cetera. I suspect it will often be quite difficult to prove intention when prosecuting people for this 'offence'. Did the individual intend the gull to take the piece of bread thrown to the ducks? Did he/she deliberately allow the gull to take the last bit of pasty? Gulls do have a PR problem compared with other bird species but they are only doing what they are designed to do.

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Pat Bateson

I have just noted the obituary of Sir Patrick Bateson 1938-2017 ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/14/sir-patrick-bateson-ob...