In regards to the Scottish Parliament’s plans to waste taxpayers money on using hawks as a pigeon deterrent, I received a reply from my MSP which was basically the voice of corporate policy telling me they were using hawks and that was that.
The following is my reply.
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I would like to thank you for your response regarding the use of hawks to control pigeon numbers, but I still object to the proposal on the following grounds:
- Pigeons pose a minimal health risk to humans. The belief that they are a danger to human health is a myth spread by the pest-control industry (including the falconers the Scottish Parliament is tendering business from). I can quote the Pigeon Control Advisory Service here “wild birds do not transmit diseases to human beings. The likelihood of a bird passing on a disease to a human being is so infinitesimally small that it is not even worth considering.” You can read the facts on this issue on PiCAS’s web page “Do Birds Spread Diseases?” ( http://www.picasuk.com/do_birds_spread_diseases.html ).
- Pigeons may leave a mess behind, but that should have been considered by the architects who designed the Parliament building. I have been informed by Animal Concern that this issue was raised at the planning stage and was subsequently ignored. It is unfair to harass these birds for simply living, and paying to clean up mess is a far better option than tormenting these poor birds with a predator.
- I do find it absurd to expect an essentially wild animal such as a hawk to agree to a no kill policy. The attempts at using hawks to control pigeon numbers in London show this.
- I accept that using a bird of prey is a mildly more humane way of deterring pigeons, but what good is deterring pigeons? They will just move onto other nest sites in places where the property owners cannot afford their own deterrents, and will probably opt for inhumane and ineffective methods of pigeon control, such as culling. In effect, using any sort of deterrent is passing the Scottish Parliament’s pigeon “problem” onto the residents of Edinburgh, and will they be given money from taxpayers to deal with the pigeon issue being passed on to them?
I would like to urge the Scottish Parliament to drop the plan to use birds of prey as a deterrent, and to persevere with its anti-roosting measures and nest removal policy. In addition, the Parliament should maybe consider installing safe nesting sites for the pigeons, which can be easily accessed by people to continue with the nest removal plan. This provides a sustainable way of reducing pigeon numbers, rather than using hawks to deter pigeons and encourage them to breed where their numbers can go unchecked. Deterrents are only a short-term option and in the long-term are a waste of resources. If the Scottish Parliament wishes to tackle their pigeon problem, they need to go to the source – the pigeons themselves – and reduce their numbers.
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I know I’m fighting a losing battle, but if I don’t stand up and say no, who will?
EDIT: I lost the battle.
Thanks for your further email. Unfortunately the decision had already been taken by the parliamentary authorities without recourse to MSPs. I will however make sure that your views are recorded for the future.