The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

MSPCA wants greater transparency and discussion on pigeon management plan

Tuesday, 12 March 2019, 17:38 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta SPCA has declared its position on the country's pigeon management plan, it said in a statement.

Website LovinMalta recently reported that the Cabinet has approved recommendations made by the Environmental Health Directorate to help tackle pigeon excretion and noise. The green light has now been given to the Association of Local Councils to catch pigeons and place them in large cages, where they will then be given certain food that will allow them to die a natural death.

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"The MSPCA cannot support the plan based on animal welfare issues because no information has been released about the agent planned to be used to poison the animals, nor has any information been made public about the cages and equipment used to transfer pigeons around after they are captured. Knowing all too well how many poisons, natural and artificial, produce a long drawn out and painful death, without knowing the actual ingredient, no one should support the claim that it is going to be a humane affair. The MSPCA would like to remind the government that Maltese law recognizes the sentience of all animals and calls for state to intervene whenever animal welfare is being threatened ."

While the MSPCA understands that a short-term strategy is needed to reduce the pigeons because of their detrimental effects on human health, heritage and property, the Society wants to see more long-term and intelligent solutions put in place before the short-term solutions are even considered.

"Short-term solutions need to also be humane. One such-short term humane solution is to build structures for nesting which would allow humans to remove the eggs, preventing them from hatching which was already proposed by the Commissioner for Animal Welfare in 2017. Feeding pigeons is what keeps them coming. If they cannot find food, they will move to other places and are very capable of flying out of Malta in a matter of few hours. How can we be talking about culling if we haven't tried the simplest and cheapest solution yet? Why are we giving up on changing people's attitudes towards littering before making a sincere and sustained effort to try? Why is culling (death) again being proposed as an answer, when time and again culling has been shown to be the least humane and least effective of all options? Culling only makes it possible for more pigeons to move into the vacated habitat and will not produce the result the Directorate of Environmental Health is after. Culling as a solution to a humanmade problem must stop."

The MSPCA would like to hear the position of the current Commissioner for Animal Welfare given that his predecessor had made his position public against pigeon culling as the solution.

The MSPCA is calling on the Directorate for Environmental Health to publish the ingredients planned to be used to poison the pigeons.


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