PIGEON campaigners have labelled Chester City Council the worst in Britain and condemned a cull of the birds last year as “barbaric”.
The Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS) bestowed the dubious honour following the council’s decision to cull pigeons in St Martin’s House and the Masonic Hall before they were demolished last year.
The move came despite a council policy against culling, put in place in 2001 on PiCAS advice. The group had also helped set up the pigeon coup in Kaleyards, at the Frodsham Street car park.
They say the council has “abandoned” its no-cull pledge and that the “barbaric” act would have actually increase the flock size in Chester by up to 30% within weeks. This is because food levels rise significantly for the remainder of the flock after a cull and mass breeding takes place, potentially leading to a population explosion.
Director of PiCAS, Guy Merchant, said: “It is almost impossible to believe how badly the city council has handled this problem. They are living in the dark ages where this issue is concerned.
“The council has completely ignored the advice provided to them, failed to introduce the wide-ranging package of controls recommended to them and bowed to pressure from the business community to cull.”
Anna Stanley, of Chester Action to Prevent Animal Suffering, said: “All this exercise has done is waste money. I am saddened that the council has chosen to take the inhumane and ineffective route of culling rather than carry on educating the public about the PiCAS system in the Kaleyards.”
Ms Stanley says that, in a meeting with the Pigeon Welfare Group this March, the council failed to mention they had flouted their own policy.
Mike McGivern, Chester City Council spokesman, insisted there has been no culling since and none is planned. He added circumstances meant they had to make an exception to their standard policy.
“Had we not done this, the birds would have been dispersed around the city when these buildings were demolished,” said Mr McGivern.
He stated the council is committed to its no-cull policy, revealing it has collected 137 eggs from the Kaleyards, the Cathedral tower and the tower of St Peter’s church this year. It has also pigeon-proofed the Heritage Centre in Bridge Street and other locations on the Rows.
Recently, two people were issued with £50 fixed penalty notices for feeding the birds in the street and not at the designated feeding area.