Victory for the monk parakeets!

Posted on the 27th January 2010

Last night (Nov 9th) at the Hertsmere Borough Council Executive meeting the issue of whether DEFRA should be permitted to cull monk parakeets on Council-owned land was finally decided in favour of the birds.

Papers both supporting and opposing the cull had been submitted by DEFRA and those campaigning to save the feral monk parakeets respectively. But while local campaigner Simon Richardson spoke for 10 minutes in defence of the birds – and was supported by four Borough Councillors from both sides of the Chamber – DEFRA did not attend the meeting, which the Leader of the Council said was ‘frustrating’.

Following the submissions, the Council decided:

  • To deny DEFRA any automatic right to enter Council-owned land to cull parakeets and to refuse permission for any further shooting of the birds on Council-owned land.
  • That any future decision to allow DEFRA to enter Council-owned land to remove the birds would be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate Council environmental officers.
  • That DEFRA would have to make a very good case on public health grounds to be permitted to enter Council-owned land and if that should happen, no shooting would be permitted. Any work undertaken to remove nests and birds must be by approved contractors under veterinary supervision and, where possible, all birds and nestlings must be taken to nearby aviaries, not killed.

Borehamwood resident and bird campaigner, Simon Richardson, said:

‘I am very pleased to see that shooting in our parks and woodlands has been prohibited and that in future DEFRA will have to make a very convincing case, with supporting evidence, each and every time they wish to carry out any activities against the monk parakeets on Council-owned land. Our Council has listened carefully to all the arguments and evidence presented and acted where it can to ensure the birds are treated humanely. We thank them for this ethical stance. It should not be forgotten that the birds are still in danger from DEFRA’s shooting and culling operations in private gardens in Hertsmere and elsewhere in the UK. Our campaign to save the feral monk parakeet and halt DEFRA’s eradication programme therefore continues. I hope our Council’s sensible decisions set a precedent for other local authorities and influence any private individuals against allowing DEFRA access to their property to destroy the birds.’

Fellow resident and campaigner, Christine Brock added: 

‘I am delighted that the Council has listened to its constituents, thousands of whom have voiced their concerns over Defra’s actions. I hope now, thanks to the reasonable and humane decision the Council has made, these charming and harmless birds will remain a permanent fixture in Borehamwood.’

Kate Fowler, Head of Campaign with national campaign group, Animal Aid, praised the local campaigners:

‘This is a great day for the wild birds, and it is due to the hard work put in by Simon and Christine, and the others who worked so resourcefully to protect the parakeets. I would like to thank them and also Hertsmere Borough Council for its ethical stance and this very sensible and compassionate decision.’

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