Letters to the editor of your local paper

(suggested text)
(If you are having difficulty locating the email address for your local newspaper, please email info@animalaid.org.uk or search the Media UK website)
PLEASE REMEMBER TO INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS IN FULL, ALONG WITH A CONTACT PHONE NUMBER AT THE END OF YOUR LETTER OR IT MAY NOT GET PRINTED.

Grey Squirrel

Dear Letters Editor

Around 17000 species are currently threatened with extinction but the red squirrel is not one of them. In fact, across their wide range – which stretches from Scandinavia to Italy and from Ireland to Korea – red squirrels are doing well. Killing grey squirrels in an attempt to ‘preserve’ reds is disingenuous, unnecessary and the methods used – poison, smashing their skulls or using body-crushing traps – are utterly inhumane. It is also a tremendous waste of valuable conservation money that could be used to help species in genuine need.

Rats

Dear Letters Editor

Rats are highly intelligent, clean and beautiful animals who are lured into suburban gardens by debris beneath bird feeders and tables. To kill them for having the audacity to feed themselves from the mess that people have created is intolerant and obscene. Rats are not to be feared, but anyone preferring their gardens rodent-free should tackle the perceived problem at the cause and clean up their act instead of ordering the deaths of wild animals by toxic chemicals that cause suffering and pollute our environment.

Pigeons

Dear Letters Editor

Culling pigeons is neither an effective nor a humane way to control their numbers. Such culls inevitably have to be conducted over and over again, as new birds move in when others have been killed. This is, no doubt, how the multi-million pound pest control industry ensures its profits stay high. Animal Aid urges [insert council name] to stop wasting taxpayers’ money and – if it can’t adopt a ‘live and let live’ policy – instead seek long-term solutions through the highly respected Pigeon Control and Advisory Service or through a humane deterrence expert.

Boar

Dear Letters Editor

Once again, animals in the wild are to pay with their lives because of mistakes made by people. Boar were introduced to the UK by farmers and hunters with the sole aim of killing them, either for profit or for fun. That some have escaped and established themselves after centuries of persecution means that they finally have a chance to live a natural existence.

There are an estimated 1,000 boar living in the wild, which makes them a rarity. Despite this, some people rank perfect lawns and bluebells more highly than the right of wild animals to live freely and feed themselves. With natural habitats dwindling, and wildlife suffering from human intervention, it is remarkable that a new species can survive and thrive. We should be thrilled that boar can live freely in Britain, and not see them as a ‘pest’ whose life – if inconvenient to us – can simply be snuffed out.

Badgers (England)

Dear Letters Editor

Allowing a badger cull in England is an absurd victory for prejudice over proper research. The government’s own Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB concluded that killing badgers would not significantly reduce bovine TB and could make matters worse because it causes the badgers to disperse to new areas.

But the government plans to allow farmers in England to pay for their own culls in regional areas. In terms of spreading TB, this could be even worse than a full national cull, as it makes the dispersal problem more likely. Of course, any cull is a waste of money and will mean cruel deaths for thousands of badgers.

If the government really wants to reduce the incidence of TB – and other diseases – in farmed animals, it needs to: generally improve the animals’ living conditions, because stressed animals are more vulnerable to disease; close down overcrowded intensive farms where disease spreads rapidly; and ban long-distance transportation of animals as this can turn a small local outbreak into a national – or international – disaster. It would also ensure that strict biosecurity was observed on farms and at markets.

Badgers (Wales)

Dear Letters Editor

Allowing a badger cull is an absurd victory for prejudice over proper research. The government’s own Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB concluded that killing badgers would not significantly reduce bovine TB and could make matters worse because it causes the badgers to disperse to new areas.

Despite this and the strong opposition to a cull by the public, the Welsh Assembly Government is pressing ahead with a cull across Pembrokeshire. If it the really wanted to reduce the incidence of TB – and other diseases – in farmed animals, it would: generally improve the animals’ living conditions, because stressed animals are more vulnerable to disease; close down overcrowded intensive farms where disease spreads rapidly; and ban long-distance transportation of animals as this can turn a small local outbreak into a national – or international – disaster. It would also ensure that strict biosecurity was observed on farms and at markets.