by Alan Jacques
A LIMERICK-based animal rights group, who don’t want seagulls to become public enemy number one, have swooped in to remind people that these birds are not only “intelligent and sensitive”, but are also a protected species.
The Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) says it is alarmed at recent reports of problems faced by some people who complain that gulls are encroaching on their personal space.
“We may be getting a dose of our own medicine,” says ARAN founder John Carmody.
“For as long as we can remember, people have destroyed the marine environment, sucked our seas dry of fish and other marine life that gulls and other wildlife rely on, and as a result these birds are coming inland for refuge and of course for a bite to eat.
“People are enticing these already disturbed birds to eat our refuse and pick food off the streets that’s being thrown away by the very people who are complaining,” he added.
Earlier this month a man required a tetanus shot after being attacked by a seagull while swimming in Fenit, County Kerry. Like something straight out of a Hitchcock horror, the swimmer fought off the gull but it returned to attack him again and drew blood from his hand.
In another Stuka dive bomb attack, again in Kerry, two mature ewes died after being attacked by a flock of seagulls. In a separate incident, a motorcyclist was knocked off his bike in a hit-and-run attack in Waterville.
“ARAN doesn’t want the seagulls to become public enemy number one. We’ve enough politicians to choose from in that regard, but we hope that to help solve the problem businesses will keep their refuse covered and people will keep their food covered when in the vicinity of these birds and try not to feed them,” Mr Carmody advised.
“It’s also important to remember that these birds are protected so anyone contemplating doing a hit on them will face prosecution if caught, so don’t.”
The Limerick animal rights group pointed out that gulls are “intelligent, sensitive birds, who, like all wild animals, just want to feed themselves, find somewhere safe to live and protect their young”.
ARAN is suggesting humane solutions for businesses if the birds are creating an issue for them.
“We encourage these businesses to get in touch and we’ll help solve their issue. But more importantly, ARAN wants people and nature to thrive together, so let’s see these birds as being a joyous gift to an already dull and cruel society.”