An announcement made in today’s online Express and Star, may well be seen as a positive step in our campaign to try to persuade them to never carry out any further culls of Canada geese within the borough. However, there are more sinister aspects of releasing such statements into the media, without consulting those who are spearheading the campaign.
The council will no doubt be aware that the decision to kill the geese in the manner in which they did it was not only likely to cause controversy, but provide them with considerable bad publicity. This has been entirely of their own making. To go on live radio without being able to answer fundamental questions is also a sign that the councillor dropped in the mess of trying to explain why they took the decision was not entirely clear on what had really happened, nor if the geese had been “humanely killed”- whatever that means.
Councillor Maria Crompton is quoted;
“We are presently gauging public reaction and we will review our approach to the management of geese numbers during the coming months.”
It is important to explore how this story, or update on a story came about, as it is unlikely that the council themselves put out a press release without being asked to make a comment by the newspaper, who had taken note that over 2,000 people have now signed the online petition against any further culls.
To “review” something does not mean changing their mind, it could imply carrying out further culls.
We would also like to add that the petition will not be handed in when it reaches 3000 signatures, but will be left to continue gathering signatures. The paper petition has a target of 1500 signatures, in line with Sandwell Council’s 2014-15 petition scheme, whereby this total,( so long as 10 people live, study or work within the borough that appear on it ), will be considered at a scrutiny meeting. Our petition calls on a senior officer to give evidence at a scrutiny meeting for justification into the decision that has already taken place.
Making a statement such as the council have, and in this medium, could be designed to put people off making any further representations or signing our petition against them. It is easy to read this story as – “oh job well done, now let’s worry about something else.” The council will be relying on kicking the issue into the long grass to hope it goes away- hence the reference to not doing any more culls until the moult period next year. This is another tactic to try to deflect criticism from their past action, without raking over the embers of what led them to the decision, or how it was carried out. We have yet to learn about how the geese were actually killed.
It may well be the case that there has been disquiet expressed privately by Labour members within Sandwell council as to not supporting the action, nor being consulted on it before the action took place. It is therefore imperative that the issue is not kicked into the long grass, that it is not seen to go away, and that people’s voices are honked loud and clear to the council that they do not support any further culls of geese in Sandwell.