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Cruel blow for airport chickens

Posted Mon 22nd September 2008 at 11:00

Alderney's infamous airport chickens had a potential lifeline snatched away from them earlier this week.

The Journal understands that a number of the feral birds were given the chance to roost on land at the back of the airport ? a move which delighted protestor Jeanne Mapp.

However, a U-turn has since been performed and the chickens will not be re-housed as originally planned.

The setback has upset Mrs Mapp who has campaigned to save the chickens ever since the General Services Committee said the birds would be culled in order to protect the island's water supply.

Mrs Mapp said: "When I heard some of the chickens had been offered a home I was absolutely delighted.

"However, it has since transpired the chickens aren't wanted, so it looks like we're back to square one."

On Monday evening a source informed the Journal around half a dozen chickens would be moved from their La Source base. The source also said Mrs Mapp would be allowed to continue feeding the birds.

However, the situation changed dramatically on Tuesday morning.

This latest move means the chickens could still be culled by the States.

Several signs have recently been put up at the bottom of the airport road warning members of the public not to feed the birds. The signs also state the catching of chickens and rats is ongoing in the area. Furthermore, a pen has been placed in La Source with the intention of catching the birds.

The States' chief executive, David Jeremiah, said the GSC has always been willing to compromise over the chickens.

He said: "The Committee has always been prepared to compromise, which is why we have put so much time and effort into catching and relocating the birds."

Mr Jeremiah went on to criticise people who continue to feed the birds.

"It is the interference by others feeding, releasing and returning birds which has prevented the process being brought to a conclusion.

"The offer of an area to which birds can be taken was made. But, as I have said before, a cull could still become necessary it the Committee does not receive full public co-operation in this process. At present we are still trying to avoid this."

The States originally gave the public two weeks to re-house the birds when it said they posed a "serious threat" to the island's water supply in April.

However, fully five months later, the birds are still in La Source. Mrs Mapp organised a sit in to protest against the plans in May. She also encouraged more than 200 islanders to sign a petition urging the States not to cull the chickens.

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