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States still planning to cull airport chickens

Posted Wed 23rd July 2008 at 08:00

The States of Alderney is still planning to cull a flock of feral chickens which roost near the island's airport.

Chief executive David Jeremiah told the Journal a cull may become "inevitable", especially since a number of birds have been returned to the La Source site.

Mr Jeremiah said: "We have tried to deal with this in a way that meets both our objective of clearing birds from the area and the concern expressed for the welfare of the birds.

"The number of birds removed would have substantially resolved this had it not been for the fact that some have since been returned and further ones simply dumped there. This has been aggravated by members of the public continuing to feed them ? both with grain and with household scraps. This is, in itself, a threat to public health as it attracts and sustains rats.

"In the absence of a higher level of co-operation, a cull, which will have to be ongoing if further birds are dumped there, may, regrettably, become inevitable."

The General Services Committee (GSC) announced its intention to kill the birds in April after saying they presented a serious threat to water quality in the Bonne Terre catchment.

Members of the public were given two weeks to re-home the birds.

At the time, GSC member Frank Dean said tests showed the water near the chickens contained "very worrying" amounts of bacteria.

He said: "The samples of water taken were at the limits of safe treatment and therefore pose a threat to public health.

"A sample taken at the airport contained minimal amounts of bacteria but the sample taken immediately after the chicken area contained very worrying amounts."

However, Mr Dean said the results of the tests would not be made public.

He said: "I do not believe it is necessary to make the test results public."

Mr Dean was approached about the issue before the Journal went to press but forwarded a request for information to Mr Jeremiah.

Bird lover Jeanne Mapp, who continues to feed the flock on a daily basis, said: "Feeding the chickens does not attract rats because every bit of food I give them is eaten.

"It would be a lot worse if I left the chickens to die of starvation. That scenario would attract hundreds of rats to the area."

Mrs Mapp, pictured above presenting a petition to save the chickens to Mr Jeremiah, added: "These birds are a landmark and have lived near the airport for at least 15 years.

"A lot of people will be very upset if the States carries out its threat to kill them."

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The Guernsey Bereavement Service has made three visits to Alderney over the past few months and would like to continue to help you. We are visiting the island again on Tuesday, 23rd February 2024 and would invite anyone who feels they would like Bereavement Counselling to telephone the Bereavement Service Office on 257778 to make a time to meet one of our counsellors.

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