Stoke & Staffordshire

Geese cull costs Stoke-on-Trent City Council £7,500

More than 1,000 geese and 4,000 eggs were destroyed by a Staffordshire council last year.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said Canada geese are a "problem" in the area's parks and it has a duty to its citizens to control the population.

Stuart Willows, from Wildlife Management Services, said: "It's not getting any better and it's all about numbers - they're fighting for food."

But animal campaigners said alternative methods should be used.

Mr Willows, whose company is employed by the council to carry out the cull, said they use egg control and round up the birds before they are "humanely destroyed."

'Aggressive birds'

He said: "The numbers are bad but [culling] does have a significant effect. If we didn't destroy the eggs in particular then we would have dozens more geese.

"Purely and simply it's pest control and it's a necessity."

He said the council has been culling geese since 2004 and the geese are rendered to be used as biomass for fuel.

In a report, the council says: "The city's parks provide lots of nesting territories and abundant grass and vegetation, producing a wide range of problems.

"Being aggressive birds they will act in defence of their nests and will attack other waterfowl and even humans who approach too closely.

"The greater the number of breeding pairs on any lake the greater the potential for attack."

It also said the birds can produce droppings at a rate of one every six minutes which can make paths slippery.

The report said: "It is clear that in the light of its duty of care for all park visitors the council must be proactive in its management of geese populations within its parks."

The charity Animal Aid said alternative "humane deterrents" could be used.

Head of campaigns Kate Fowler said: "Culling like this is old-fashioned - it might be called pest control but it's a knee jerk reaction.

"It doesn't work and the evidence is in the fact that such measures have to be taken year after year."

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