It's barbaric to cull gulls over a few stolen chips
Whenever wild animals or birds trouble us humans, there follows inevitable, ill-considered demands to cull them.
Every summer millions of people flock to the coast, where many gulls live. In spite of warning notices, some visitors insist on feeding them while others seem to find it impossible to place their leftovers in a bin.
The traditional holiday period happens to coincide with the birds' breeding season and, being fierce defenders of their offspring, the birds will occasionally be aggressive - for a few weeks a year - to those that may have gotten too close to their nests or to their young.
The fact is there are simple, inexpensive and non-lethal methods that can be used to deter birds from nesting on flat roofs or chimneys, or from rummaging in our rubbish - we just don't use them.
Animal Aid has free factsheets available on deterring gulls and a number of other species and we will supply them to anyone who contacts us.
Otherwise, we should show tolerance throughout the breeding season - not least because the gulls are just being good parents, and six of the seven gull species are in decline.
Numbers of coastal gull species are dropping partly because we humans are continually stealing their fish.
It would be a shame if we slaughtered the rest because they steal a few of our chips.