Animal Aid has long been concerned about the growing tendency to scapegoat various animal species for the vices and excesses of human beings.
Some species are being targeted because they are deemed to interfere with modern agricultural or 'game' bird production systems; others, because they are regarded as urban ‘pests’ or ‘health risks’.
Wild animals are already facing immense challenges from climate change, habitat destruction, pesticide use, loss of hedgerows, the urbanisation of gardens, roads traversing their environments and the ever-increasing urban sprawl. And those who do survive are often blamed for encroaching on our space! From the politically motivated badger cull to the ‘gene cleansing’ ruddy duck cull, wild animals pay the price for human demands.
Animal Aid calls for tolerance, for compassion and for a willingness to concede space to the natural world, even if that means unpopular species thrive at the expense of more favoured ones. It is morally obnoxious to dictate which species can live where and to kill those that do not fit into the grand scheme, and yet this is how much modern conservation is conducted.
Animal Aid argues that we must face up to our own shortcomings and take constructive action that remedies the damage. Blaming animals is both morally obnoxious and self-defeating. It is literally a dead-end to imagine that ecological harmony can be restored through the barrel of a gun or through the use of body-crushing traps, snares and poisons.
The grey squirrel is a figure of hatred among certain groups, notably those with shooting or forestry interests, and certain ‘conservationists’ who believe that the mass killing of greys is justifiable in their quest to boost the number of red squirrels.
In two English counties, badgers are being shot in a government-sanctioned cull. The wild animals are said to be a 'reservoir' for bovine TB – a disease that affects cows, and can be spread by farmers moving cows around the country and putting infected slurry on large tracts of land. The poor welfare conditions of cows, their cramped housing and lax biosecurity all add to the likelihood of the disease spreading. Instead of cleaning up their act, farmers blame badgers.
The Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs – Defra – is attempting to wipe out the UK population of these beautiful birds because some are said to fly to Spain and mate with the endangered (through hunting) white headed duck. The result is an ‘impure’ hybrid, which won’t be tolerated by top table conservation groups and Defra.
Humane Wildlife Deterrence
Animal Aid encourages tolerance but there are times when we may need to deter an animal from a particular area, such as a squirrel who has taken up residence in your attic. Thankfully, many unwanted visitors can be deterred quite easily.
Once you know what attracts an animal to your home or garden, it can be changed. Often, the problem is that we leave food out or bins unsecured, but it may just be that your garage or rooftop is a cosy place out of the rain. For more information about humanely deterring wildlife, download Alternatives to Culling and the associated factfiles on birds, squirrels, foxes or mice and rats.Download our Alternatives to Culling report Read the factfiles Order a hard copy