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States spends £1,500 on chicken cull

Posted Mon 3rd November 2008 at 09:00

Culling the island's infamous airport chickens cost the States £1,500.

Chief executive David Jeremiah revealed the figure in October.

Mr Jeremiah said: "The General Services Committee noted at its meeting on September 16 that the strategy to relocate the chickens and reduce their number without harming them was proving impossible, due to members of the public continuing to return chickens to the area and feeding them.

"The population, including rodents, had continued to increase and the committee resolved to employ a pest control service to deal with this, which is what was done. The invoice for this has not yet been received but with travel, accommodation and subsistence taken into account, I expect the total cost to be in the region of £1,500."

Mr Jeremiah highlighted the fact the one-off expenditure must be set against the ongoing cost. Frank Dean, the States member responsible for water, recently claimed the airport chickens were costing the States £4,000 a month.

Mr Jeremiah said: "Against this must be set the fact that continuing expense was being incurred in any event, aggravated by interference with the process of trapping/re-homing and the continued feeding of the birds. The rat problem could not be dealt with so long as the feeding of birds continued in the area."

General Services Committee (GSC) members voted to remove the feral flock from La Source, which is close to the Bonne Terre water catchment, in April after claiming it posed a serious threat to the island's water supply. In May, States member Frank Dean said the chickens had pumped very worrying amounts of bacteria into the Bonne Terre catchment. He claimed test results proved the chickens were contaminating the water but refused to make the results public.

The GSC originally gave the public two weeks to re-house the birds but it was fully six months before they were destroyed on October 9 by two pest control workers from Guernsey.

Bird lover Jeanne Mapp, who protested against the culling, said she was shocked £1,500 had been spent.

She said: "I think it is disgraceful. The States could have spent that on something else, such as a new carpet at the airport. It is money that has been wasted."

Mrs Mapp, who organised a public protest and presented a 200-signature petition against the culling, added: "The culling was so unnecessary. There were lots of places the chickens could have gone. The States could have given them a bunker on the edge of the island. It didn't matter to me ? I would have still fed them."

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