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Sandwell Council to review controversial geese cull

Sandwell | News | Published:

A Black Country council has announced a re-think of the way it controls the number of geese in its parks following a protest by more than 2,000 people.

More than 200 geese have been removed from three parks and killed by Sandwell Council in the past two years as part of the management of the bird population.

But video released of pest control workers ushering the birds into a van in Victoria Park in Tipton created a furore amongst animal lovers. It sparked a petition by Ian Carroll, from Sandwell Swanwatch, opposing the culling of the Canadian geese and calling on Sandwell Council to end the practice.

The video - recorded by Ian Carroll, a member of Sandwell Swanwatch:

So far, 2,323 people have signed the document. When it reaches 3,000 signatures it will be sent to officers at the council.

But today, Sandwell Council announced it was having a re-think over the way it manages the geese population.

Councillor Maria Crompton, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for highways and environment, said: "There is only a specific period in the year when the geese population can be reduced and this is during their moult sometime during May and June , therefore we have no plans to reduce the geese population at this present time.

"We are presently gauging public reaction and we will review our approach to the management of geese numbers during the coming months."

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In a written document attached to the petition, the group said it aimed to stop the council culling the geese and to promote education on the birds' behaviour.

In a Freedom of Information request to the council, Mr Carroll found the council culled 150 geese in 2013 from Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich and Victoria Park in Tipton, with a further 70 being culled this year from Victoria Park.

The council maintained that the killings were carried out as humanely as possible and only as a last resort.

The move by Sandwell Council to re-think its approach has been welcomed by an animal welfare group.

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Bishopwood Swan Rescue, based near Stourport, deals with calls on injured birds in the West Midlands.

Founder Sandy Lee said: "I don't support the idea of culling the animals - everything has the right to live.

"Yes, they can become a nuisance in park areas, but then people go and feed them, it is a difficult one.

"We get called out to geese injury and we deal with them and try and make the animal better - we would never it ignore."

She added: "If public opinion against it is high they the council should have a think on if it is doing the right thing.

"We will have to see what they do next."

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