At least 60 feral chickens shot dead in cull
MORE than 60 feral chickens have been shot dead as part of a cull organised by Environmental Health officers.
The cull was ordered after complaints that the birds were causing a nuisance at three different locations, but has sparked anger from many Islanders who have described the action as inhumane and unnecessary.
Natasha Rushton said she had been walking her dog in Rue des Vignes, alongside Jacksons Garages, in St Peter when she heard shooting, and challenged the people involved, who said they were working for Environmental Health.
‘I love to see the chickens on the road-side and they don’t do any harm, so it was really upsetting to see them being shot out of the trees,’ she said. ‘It’s barbaric – like something from another age.
‘It was a dark, wet evening and I imagine they thought there’d be no one out to see what was going on.’
A spokesperson for Environmental Health confirmed in a statement that approximately 65 chickens had been shot by licensed contractors at three sites.
‘The department has received complaints from several residents about nuisances caused by feral chickens and cockerels. This includes the noise from cockerels crowing from the early hours of each morning to the destruction of land and other wildlife caused by persistent scratching.
‘Due to the rate at which chickens can breed it was decided to undertake necessary pest control measures – these measures used are considered best practice for the humane removal of feral chickens and cockerels.’
Ms Rushton questioned the method used, and said she would no longer walk her dogs in Rue des Vignes: ‘I don’t see how going round in the dark with guns and torches can be best practice – it’s just horrible.’
As well as Rue des Vignes, chickens have been culled at a second site in St Peter – Rue l’Aleval, also known as German Road, which joins St Peter’s Valley next to the Victoria in the Valley pub – and also at Vallée des Vaux in St Helier.
Deputy Inna Gardiner, of St Helier, raised the matter with the Environment Minister during States questions last May after complaints from residents living in Vallée des Vaux.
Environment Minister John Young told the Assembly that being woken up by cockerels was ‘part of the countryside thing’, but acknowledged that not everyone might feel that way.
Many Islanders have taken to social media to protest about the cull, with a number questioning whether the action was necessary.
Meanwhile, a St Mary resident lost eight of his pure-breed chickens as a result of a dog attack at the end of last week. Jim Drew said six birds were killed by the dog, while another chicken had to be euthanised and an eighth bird has gone missing but was presumed dead. Neither the dog or its owner have yet been identified. Full story: Page 7.
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