Stop the UK grey squirrel cull

  • by: Jojo Huxster
  • recipient: The Forestry Commission, The UK Government, Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Elizabeth Truss MP

The Forestry Commission have drawn up new plans obliging UK land owners to cull tens of thousands of grey squirrels each year, using methods which include poisoning them or trapping and shooting them. Landowners will be paid millions of pounds (£100 per hectare per year for five years) of taxpayers' money to carry out the cull.

In March 2014, Oliver Heald, the Solicitor General, told MPs that eradicating the grey squirrel was "no longer considered feasible".

Andrew Tyler the director of Animal Aid said, "People have been responsible for wiping out the red squirrel, it's an excuse to blame the grey squirrel. The damage they do is exaggerated. Attempts to purge the landscape of them in the past have failed and this will fail too."

As with the badger cull there is no logic in the squirrel cull which will cause untold suffering to a much loved animal. Please sign this petition to tell the Forestry Commission to stop funding landowners killing grey squirrels.

Back in 2008 Rob Atkinson, the head of wildlife science at the RSPCA, said: "It's ethically dubious killing one species for the sake of another. Up until the 1970s you could get a licence to kill red squirrels, so they were the baddies then, now it's grey squirrels. Apart from all that it doesn't work. There's absolutely no point in doing it."

Animal Aid say the grey squirrel is "hated by members of certain groups, most notably those with shooting or forestry interests and some 'conservationists' who believe that the mass killing of greys is justifiable in their quest to boost the numbers of red squirrels"

Dear Forestry Commission, Your new policy to fund landowners to cull grey squirrels on their land is unnecessary and cruel. Culling grey squirrels has not been proven to improve things for red squirrels - it does not work. It is also ethically dubious to kill one species for the sake of another. Please rethink this policy and redirect funds towards researching and implementing alternative no-kill population control methods if they are required at all.
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