Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust determined to continue bird mutilation despite backlash

In mid May, an open letter was sent to the Chief Executive of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) in a bid to encourage debate on the controversial practice of pinioning (the partial amputation of a bird’s wing) which is carried out on thousands of birds held captive in WWT centres up and down the country. The WWT had gone on record stating:

FFF website banner“WWT is fully accountable to everyone who supports us and we aim to be as open and transparent as possible. We welcome the debate which aims to ensure good welfare for wetland birds”.

Previous statements have suggested that pinioning is carried out in the interests of visitors to the centres who, the WWT claims, benefit from getting up close to wildlife.

Since the launch of the CAPS Fight for Flight campaign, various polls and surveys have demonstrated widespread opposition to pinioning, including amongst WWT visitors.  82% of WWT visitors surveyed are opposed to pinioning and two other independent polls showed 97% and 98% of the general public want to see the practice banned. CAPS will be meeting with Government officials in the coming weeks to pursue the possibility of seeking an end to the cruel procedure but, in the meantime, had called upon the WWT to lead the way by putting an end to the partial amputation of birds’ wings of its own accord.

Despite the stated desire for debate, the response to the open letter which was received by CAPS in the last few days confirmed that there is no room for discussion on the WWT’s stance and no apparent desire within the organisation to bring about an end to the mutilation of birds.

The letter stated simply: “I understand and appreciate that while our opinions may differ, both our organisations are working towards creating a more positive future for animals, in this case birds”. No attempt was made to respond to the concerns raised by the public or the WWT visitors.

Said CAPS Director, Liz Tyson:

“Despite public claims of welcoming debate and being accountable, the reality would appear to be very different. It is disappointing to see the views of the public, including visitors to the WWT centres, being dismissed out of hand and the WWT continuing down the line of “business as usual”. Of course, this debate is about far more than public opinion; it’s about the birds and it’s about protecting them from being permanently disabled by zoos. We will continue to pursue an end to pinioning using all available avenues”.

79% of visitors to WWT centres surveyed said they would not return, or are unsure whether they would return, while pinioning persists. One respondent said:

“I was horrified when I found out about this practice. I used to visit Martin Mere regularly and support what I believed to be a sanctuary. Now I never want to visit the place again.”


Join the ‘Fight for Flight’ campaign today to end this cruelty!

rotated FFFJoin CAPS in campaigning to see the cruel practice of pinioning – the mutilation of birds to keep them in captivity – banned in the UK.

Below are just some of the ways you can help. Please don’t delay – join us in the Fight for Flight!

SIGN the petition

READ the full report

WRITE to your MP to ask that they support the call to ban pinioning
Click the link and enter your postcode to find out who your MP is. Write to them to ask them to support this important campaign.

DONATE to the campaign today!Beangoose copy
Your donation today will help us to campaign at local and national levels to put an end to this cruelty.

CONTACT zoos to find out if they pinion birds
Pinioning is widespread but rarely talked about by the zoo industry. Get in touch with your local zoo to find out if they pinion birds. Ask them how many birds are subjected to this practice and let us know what you find out. Zoos for which we lack information can be found here.

BOYCOTT nature reserves, parks or other outdoor centres that hold captive wildlife
Some zoos promote themselves as nature reserves or other types of outdoor centre. If you are unsure whether a reserve or centre that you would like to visit holds captive animals, call ahead and find out. Let them know why you won’t be visiting if they do hold captive wildlife.

GET INVOLVED in peaceful demonstrations
Got a zoo near you? Get in touch with us to receive free campaigning literature to use on information stalls or demonstrations. We can help you organise your demo – just let us know if you need advice or help.

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