Speak up for Squirrels!

Express your views to MPs about the ban on rescuing and releasing grey squirrels.

grey squirrel with nuts

A group of MPs called the Environmental Audit Committee are investigating “invasive species”. They are keen to hear views from members of the public, so it is important to take this opportunity to stand up in defence of grey squirrels! All you have to do to share your thoughts is make an account, and politely post your comments in the forum (see link below). The main questions that the forum is asking are: Would you know what to do if you saw an invasive plant or animal in your garden? Do you know your responsibilities as a landowner? Who do you think should be responsible for invasive plants and animals? You may wish to respond to the questions above, but please also take the opportunity to speak out for grey squirrels and other animals classed as ‘invasive’. Below we have added a few suggested points you can include:

Points for all animal 'invasive' species:

● It is unproductive and unfair to lump in animals and plants together. Taking steps to eradicate a plant that has no sentience or capacity for pain is completely different to doing the same to an animal.

● Exceptions to any legislation designed to address invasive species need to be made for already established species.

● Animals such as grey squirrels, Canada geese and Muntjac deer are already well established and so should be awarded the same legal protections as any other wildlife.

● An animal’s origins do not impact their capacity to feel pain.

● It is unethical to undertake wide-scale killing of any species of animal solely because of their origins.

Points specific to squirrels:

● Many people do not consider grey squirrels to be an ‘invasive species’ as they have been in the UK for so long.

● Grey squirrels are used as a scapegoat for deforestation and other environmental changes that have impacted red squirrel numbers.

● Laws which would make it illegal to rescue and release a grey squirrel are barbaric, and would cause distress to both members of the public and wildlife rescue staff and vets.

● Any squirrels rescued and released in areas where they are far from red squirrels will have absolutely zero impact on red squirrels, so it is ridiculous to use this as reasoning to euthanise them or keep them in captivity.

● Rescue numbers are not significant in terms of the overall grey squirrel population.

● The new measures against grey squirrel rescue are being adopted in the name of helping red squirrels. But red squirrels are not an endangered species. They are plentiful in the rest of the world, wherever the habitat is suitable for them.

● The colonies of red squirrels that exist in England today are artificially maintained, with extensive captive breeding, nest boxes and supplementary feeding – like large zoos. It is for the most part a harmless exercise, but only as long as it does not involve cruelty to another species of squirrel.

● The pox virus is used as a reason to kill grey squirrels, yet accounts for only a small percentage of the deaths of red squirrels. Far more red squirrel deaths are caused by cars.