RSPB target of week of action

Posted on the 2nd March 1999

Animal Aid is to launch a Week of Action in protest against the government's planned slaughter of thousands of ruddy ducks.

The culling is scheduled to take place in the West Midlands and Anglesey (both from April); and in Fife (from September).

The Animal Aid actions are to be directed at the major cull supporters – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, English Nature and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. They will be the opening salvos in a sustained campaign designed to force a cancellation of the planned killing.

The supposed ‘logic’ behind the planned slaughter is that some ruddy ducks are allegedly flying from the UK to Spain where they are mating with the white headed duck and producing a ‘genetically impure’ hybrid. Those promoting the cull are deeply offended by this mixing of blood, even though the ruddys and the white headed ducks can produce healthy offspring and are therefore close genetic kin.

The cull plans have caused furore amongst RSPB members, with hundreds leaving in protest. Previous trial culls have resulted in protracted suffering for a large proportion of birds.

Thousands of campaign postcards will be distributed across the country urging bird lovers to withdraw all financial support for the RSPB until the society changes its mind over the cull. In addition, a major RSPB reserve – Minsmere in Suffolk – will be the scene of a demo and leafleting on March 27.

Other demo locations so far announced are English Nature’s Peterborough headquarters (March 31) and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve and HQ in Slimbridge, Glos. (Easter Friday).

Ruddy duck supporters will be on hand – appropriately attired and in vocal mood – to make plain their disgust over the slaughter plans.

Said Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

“The planned slaughter of these ducks is an insane, massively expensive exercise which has no public support and seems designed only to please a small number of obsessives, who are interfering with nature in ways they can neither understand nor control.”

Notes to Editors

  • Demo details:
    Saturday March 27, RSPB Reserve in Minsmere, Suffolk. Photocall car park 11.30am.
    Wednesday March 31, English Nature headquarters, Peterborough, Cambs. Photocall 2pm.
    Good Friday, April 2, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Glos. Photocall 11.30 near toilet block.

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