Duck cull slammed for being ‘needless’

Ruddy duck
Ruddy duck

A SCHEME to kill ducks in Wigan has come under criticism from an animal charity which claims to have more humane alternatives.

The controversial decision to kill off ruddy ducks in Wigan has been described by Animal Aid as “inhumane and unnecessary.”

The programme attempts to eradicate the “feral” North American birds which are threatening the globally endangered white-headed duck in Spain say Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The cost of the five-year eradication programme, which is due to finish in two years time, was revealed by UKIP party leader Nigel Farage in questions to the EU Commission about grants being paid to conserve the white headed duck.

Scores of ducks are believed to have been killed since the programme started in 2007 which was reported to have cost £1.4 million.

Helen Ascott, author of the Alternatives to Culling believes the Ruddy duck programme is pointless.

She said: “So far it has cost around £1,000 per duck and is an utterly pointless task. Not only is it inhumane but it is almost impossible to stop birds breeding. The Ruddy duck is now native to over 20 European countries and the nature of animals mean they will breed.

“This obsession with purism in our species is quite odd and I don’t understand why we are trying to do it. The majority of conservationists would not agree with the scheme and therefore hide the location of ruddy ducks anywhere and coupled with the fact that there is no such thing as humane culling, it is a complete waste of time money and the opinion of the majority.”

The report urges authorities to seek humane, cost-effective, long-term solutions to complaints relating to wild species, and to encourage residents to do the same.

A council spokesman confirmed cull was a DEFRA scheme with no involvement or funding from Wigan Council or the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.