Ruddy protests come to Scotland

Posted on the 13th August 2003

Two days of Scottish protests will be staged on the 13th and the 14th August against the government's decision to eradicate the entire UK population of ruddy ducks - many of them located in Scotland.

Organised by Animal Aid, the demonstration will start in Glasgow on Wednesday the 13th and make its way to Edinburgh the next day. Centrepiece will be an impressive trailer, which will parade the streets broadcasting the message about the plight of the ducks. Clad in ruddy costumes and carrying large banners and posters, the demonstrators will congregate in Buchanan Street at 11.30 am and begin distributing leaflets to the public.

Ruddy ducks are being targeted because some of them have reportedly flown from the UK to Spain where they are mating with the endangered white-headed duck – endangered because it has been mercilessly hunted and its habitat destroyed. The result of the mating of the ruddy and its close genetic kin, the white-headed, is an ‘impure hybrid’. Despite grass-roots opposition from their memberships, those who run the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) are offended by the idea of genetic impurity and have pressed the government into this attempted genetic cleansing of nature. There have already been two major ‘trial culls’ in which thousands of ruddys have been killed – many in Scotland. Animal Aid has led the campaign of opposition to the slaughter.

It was in March this year that the government announced that it was committed to total eradication of the ruddy population – a bird brought to the UK as an ‘ornamental’ species by the WWT. The government announcement followed a ‘rehearsal’ slaughter that accounted for nearly 3,000 ruddy ducks – many killed on their nests.

Fifty per cent of landowners who were approached refused to allow the killing gangs on to their land. The government is now considering passing a law to gain compulsory access.

Says Animal Aid Campaigns Officer, Becky Lilly:

“It is disgraceful that the government is committed to this morally repugnant and scientifically illogical slaughter programme. It is particularly disturbing that top-table conservation groups such as the RSPB and the WWT are the main movers for this scheme. They should be focussing their efforts on saving animals and their habitat rather than promoting ethnic cleansing projects. Since so much of the slaughter has already taken place in Scotland, we want the Scottish public to know what is being done in their name and with their taxes. We are confident of continued widespread support.”

For more information on the ruddy duck cull, please visit Animal Aid’s website,, or call 01732 364546 for an action pack.

Notes to Editors

  • The demonstrators will be congregating at Buchanan Street Precinct in Glasgow on Weds 13th August, and by the empty shop at the corner of Charlotte St in Edinburgh on Thurs 14th. In each location there will be a photocall at 11.30 am.
  • For Glasgow interviews, please contact Helen Robinson of Clydeside Animal Action on 07967 252838. For Edinburgh interviews contact Becky Lilly of Animal Aid on 01732 364546.
  • For a full detailed background on the ruddy duck campaign click here.
  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast-quality interviews.

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