Religious Right Claim Thwarts Council Attempt to Deal With Nuisance Seagulls

AP Photo
The Associated Press

Plans to crack down on people feeding seagulls – which encourages vicious attacks on people and animals by the birds – have been blocked because it may offend Hindus and Jews.

Council officers in the Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno, North Wales, wanted to issue on the spot fines for people caught feeding seagulls after the birds grew ever bolder. Seagulls have been known to attack holidaymakers at beaches all along the coast, putting people off visiting.

But the officers have been advised that the fines would contravene peoples’ religious right to throw scraps to the birds, as some religions encourage care of animals.

The peculiar advice came to light when Jim Jones, head of tourism and leisure at Conwy Council tweeted: “We looked at the issue of fines, but were told it’s the right to feed birds within some religions!”

It is not clear who issued the advice, nor which religious the ban would supposedly offend, although The Telegraph refers specifically to Hinduism and Judaism. Christianity does encourage judicious care of animals – for example Deuteronomy 22:6 advises the faithful: “If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.” However, the government is not normally known to be particularly exercised about taking care to avoid offending Christians.

Nuisance seagulls have made headlines a number of times in the last few weeks, after a spate of highly aggressive attacks by the birds which left at least one pet dog dead and a concert pianist injured. Postmen in North Wales have been prevented from completing their rounds thanks to the birds flying sorties overhead. The problem has become such that Prime Minister David Cameron declared his intention to start a “big conversation” about what to do about the murderous birds.

Seagulls are protected which means that they can’t be culled, but around the country hundreds of gull eggs have been smashed to stop the birds proliferating. Last week, Breitbart London reported how a mother who feared for the safety of her young children after her Yorkshire Terrier was pecked to death in their back garden was warned that disturbing the birds would be a criminal offence.

“I think this is a very difficult subject and I think it is a dangerous one for the Prime Minister to dive in and come up with an instant answer with the issues of the protection of seagulls, whether there is a need for a cull, what should be done about eggs and nests and the rest of it,” Mr Cameron told BBC Cornwall, adding:

“I think a big conversation needs to happen about this and frankly the people we need to listen to are people who really understand this issue in Cornwall, and the potential effects it is having.”

Dai Evans, 57, from Llandudno said: “The seagulls are a total menace, I can’t believe they’re being protected by human rights. It seems like nothing can be done to get rid of these birds – it’s political correctness gone mad.”


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