Saturday, 25 September 2010

Squirrel pie anyone? Don't ring the RSPCA

I like squirrels. The pesky little blighters have been my favourite animal since I was a small child - during which time I created a whole world populated entirely by the darling creatures. However, I recognise that not everyone shares my interest and indeed that grey squirrels (not to be confused with the Black Russian I've pictured) are quite serious pests.

So go ahead and cull them - there's plenty to go at and (as I discovered not long ago) make a pretty tasty pie. But whatever you do, don't ring the RSPCA for advice - they're clearly on some kind of deal with the pest control industry!

As Rev Douglas Drane discovered:

"I caught one of these vermin in a humane trap but when I called the RSPCA I was told I could not let it go because it posed a threat to red squirrels, which are not native to Gloucestershire," he said. I was also told I could not kill the animal myself and that risked prosecution if I did. I had to get a pest controller to come and do the job - at a cost of £70.

"I was dumbfounded by the RSPCA's response. What on earth am I supposed to do if I can't kill the squirrel or release it? I have done everything by the book. But it shows the law is an ass. It clearly needs to be changed."

And it's not just the RSPCA who are conflicted about squirrels. BBC Gardeners Question Time was accused of censoring panellists' comments on controlling pests like rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits and wood pigeons. And there are the real nutters like Animal Aid:

Their comments have been roundly attacked by Andrew Tyler, the director of Animal Aid, an animal rights group. He said: "The whole premise of gardeners killing squirrels is hateful and bigoted. It's the worst kind of intolerance. People should cherish them. But there is a concerted attempt to characterise them as vermin and a threat to the red. Gardeners who should be nurturing life and respecting life shouldn't be taking this bigoted view."

Look Andrew, if you and your mates over at the RSPCA want to hug bunnies that's fine by me. But please leave the rest of us who live in the real world to deal with the vermin and pests attacking our farms, out gardens and, in the case of squirrels, our electric wires. And, when we've killed the squirrels cook and eat them.



JuliaM said...

I would ask if Andrew takes the same approach to rats and cockroaches, but I suspect the answer would be 'Yes!'...

manwiddicombe said...

Interesting that you've used an image of a black squirrel .. .. .. they are a non-native species that have recently been found in the wild in the UK and guess what? They are a threat to the grey squirrel population because they are more aggressive. I think I've found a solution to your grey squirrel problem .. .. .. ..

Newmarket Pest Control said...

This story has been picked up by quite a few commentators.

I have a slightly different take on it. Its certainly not illegal to kill the squirrel yourself; I think what the RSPCA were getting at was would the gentleman be capable of ensuring a quick and human end. If not then he would be liable to prosecution for animal cruelty under the appropriate legislation. We all have a duty of care to trapped animals and to esnure a human end. Thus by employing a professional the responsibility becomes their's- they should also be experienced in this work.

This sort of story has also been exacerbated by the recent squirrel drowning prosecutions.

So,.....not illegal to kil them yourself, just make sure you know what you are doing to stay within the law.

By the way, RSPCA in cahoots with the pest control industry.......pull the other one