Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew has taken community concerns over an ongoing cull of Canada Geese in Rodley to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Mr Andrew met residents to hear their concerns about the cull at a peaceful protest last weekend.
The protest followed months of concerns that people are killing Canada geese for sporting purposes. The Dispatch reported in September that shot birds had been found in different parts of Rodley, including on a football pitch.
The cull is legal, provided the land owner gives permission, the shooters have licences and that it is part of a cull for agricultural purposes after all alternative methods have been tried.
Posting on Facebook, Mr Andrew said:
“Given the ongoing nature of the Canada geese cull, I have escalated the concerns that I share with a number of constituents in Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
“This is a difficult issue to address due to existing law but please do be assured I will continue to press the urgency of this issue at the highest levels.”
In his letter to Theresa Villiers MP, Mr Andrew said:
“I understand that it is culling season and that culling can be carried out provided certain conditions are met.
“However my constituents have expressed deep concerns that the conditions laid out to ensure the culls are carried out humanely, while protecting the health and safety of nearby residents, are not being followed.
“Government guidelines state that geese should be culled between the end of May and the end of June due to being unable to fly during moulting season, however these geese are being culled on an ongoing basis and are falling from the sky into the gardens and surrounding fields in the community.
“Moreover, my constituents are reporting extreme stress and anxiety due to the presence of masked gunmen in the area in broad daylight shooting less than 30 metres away from members of the public.”
Read the letter in full here:
West Yorkshire Police have said officers are monitoring the situation.
Rodley Nature Reserve, which is next to where the shootings have taken place, issued a statement on its website condemning the shooting.
Trustees said they had no evidence that any illegal shooting of geese had taken place on the reserve. The statement added:
“The shooter is not on our land and is not allowed on it – he is nothing to do with Rodley Nature Reserve and is shooting on the farmer’s land adjacent to the Reserve, which we sadly have no control over.”
According to regulations the shooters have no obligation to pick up dead or dying birds that have become injured and flown away from the scene to die.
A letter delivered to Rodley households back in September by one of the people carrying out the cull said :
“…We are advising you it is being done for your health and safety and legally, all authorised by the government & the general licensing law of the land and the landowners obligations and the police will be aware of the pest control activity going on.
“WE APOLOGISE FOR ANY DISTRESS TO ANYBODY but it is a much-needed job to be done and cannot be prevented.”
What are the numbers of Canada Geese in the area and what is the legal level at which culling can take place – anyone know?