Monday, March 31st, 2014
Last July, CAPS’ groundbreaking Fight for Flight campaign exposed conservation charity, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), for shooting native birds dead in order to prevent them from interfering with their collections of captive birds; most of which have had one half of one wing amputated in order to prevent escape.
The WWT was heavily criticised, both for the continued practice of mutilating birds, known as pinioning, and for killing those animals that would naturally make their home in the UK’s wetlands. The Trust was unapologetic over the killing of species such as coots and moorhens, but told a national newspaper that the charity’s ethics committee had committed to an end to the killing of mallard ducks.
Following a recent request made by CAPS under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, it seems the concession to stop deliberately killing mallards was an empty promise as it can now be revealed that the WWT have requested permission, as recently as October last year, to kill a further 135 mallard ducks.
Said CAPS Director, Liz Tyson:
“We are awaiting final figures to see exactly how many birds have been killed by the WWT over the last 18 months but were extremely disappointed to see that, despite a public promise to stop killing mallard ducks, the trust continues to seek shooting licences for these birds. We remain staunchly opposed to the WWT policy of shooting native birds in order to prevent them interfering with captive birds which have been deliberately maimed by the charity. The whole situation is wrong”.
A paper authored by Ms Tyson and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Animal Ethics this month put forward the case for an end to the shooting of native birds by the WWT and for an end to the practice of pinioning more generally.
The Fight for Flight campaign was recently taken up by ENDCAP; a coalition of leading European animal protection groups. The campaign will be extended to other European countries in the coming months.
Ms Tyson added:
“This news that the WWT have reneged on their promise to stop killing mallard ducks comes at a time when the killing of healthy animals by zoos is under very close scrutiny. The deaths of Marius the giraffe and a family of lions at Copenhagen Zoo as well as lions at Longleat Safari Park have raised serious questions over the zoo industry practice of killing under the auspices of conservation. That the WWT is killing native birds that would naturally make their home in the area that the zoo has chosen to locate its captive collections adds a new, and disturbing, angle to the whole debate”.
Contact the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust today to demand that they stop killing birds, and bring an end to the cruel practice of pinioning; the amputation of half of a wing in order to render birds permanently flightless. At present there are around 5,650 pinioned birds in WWT centres in England alone and licences in force to kill at least 200 birds.
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
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.