At the start of this campaign several large national organisations were contacted concerning the manner in which Sandwell council had acted in terms of both ordering the clandestine destruction of birds in two of their Green flag parks and also the welfare standards involved. Birds were crated up and confined in a trailer box- in nothing like their natural surroundings- transported to a farm environment and then allegedly one by one having their necks broken.
The RSPCA were not interested. This was surprising given the fact that they had become involved in the Windermere goose campaign in 2012, where no actual birds had been killed, but vocal opposition, including from this large organisation managed to avert such a draconian action. Perhaps Sandwell is so little known outside the West Midlands that it doesn’t matter what goes on there- and there is little chance of winning any PR here by speaking out. I for one would like to know why a post code lottery appears to exist for geese for this large behemoth of an “animal welfare” charity?
Animal Aid however are very different. Their ethos appears to be active and less passive than other top table “animal welfare” organisations- in that they are not about aggressive self PR – and they actually do care about the animals. Director Andrew Tyler and his team wrote letters to the council , sent a consultant to look at the two parks and produce a report, and have followed these up with a stark message put to the council setting out two paths that they can take- choose non-lethal methods of site management which will work and gain respect or carry on with abhorrent culls which will win little public acclaim.
As part of the quarterly Outrage magazine, I was asked to write an article about my experiences with this campaign and others where sheer persistence, has hopefully made some difference to the welfare of birds. Individual birds matter whereas to the conservationist, only the conservation status of a species matters. I am glad to say that I am not a conservationist.
So in Summer Edition 2016 there it is. I consider myself as part of a group of individuals that has hopefully stopped the council from continuing down a clandestine unchallenged path.
To read more about issues concerning white phosphorus poisoning of wildfowl at Rattlechain lagoon, visit the website here.
There are of course still many unanswered questions surrounding the bizarre pictures of geese being “released” that I was sent, and the silence of SMBC councillors to condemn the fact that their officers had both lied to the public and misled them on the need to kill any birds. It was their officers failings to manage sites that facilitated any later claims that geese numbers were “out of control” etc, which of course they were not.
Given that Animal Aid are what I consider to be animal advocates and have helped tremendously in this struggle, I decided to join them as a life member. I would encourage others to join Animal Aid in some capacity , and please be assured that your donation will go towards active campaigning and investigations rather than passive administration.