Animal Aid


Posted 12 October 2005

The announcement that £3.3 million of public money is to be used in an attempt to mass slaughter Britain's ruddy ducks has been condemned by national campaign group, Animal Aid, as an 'obscene and wasteful attempt at imposing genetic purity on nature'.

Ruddy ducks were imported to Britain from North America in the 1940s, by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, to serve as an 'ornamental' species. A small number of birds escaped and began reproducing.

Some of these ducks are now said to be flying from Britain to Spain and mating with the endangered white-headed duck - birds who have been hunted to near extinction and have had much of their habitat destroyed. The ducklings produced are considered 'impure' by leaders of top table conservation groups such as the RSPB, English Nature and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Their 'solution' is to mass slaughter ruddy ducks. The RSPB, in particular, has pressed relentlessly for their destruction.

The new announcement of EU and UK government money to pursue the 'eradication' of the UK ruddy population comes in the wake of a number of 'trial culls' that has seen thousands of ducks shot - many on their nests. Several, according to official reports, had to be shot numerous times and took more than an hour to die.

About half of all UK landowners with ruddy ducks on their land have declared that they will refuse access to killing gangs. The government responded by indicating that it would pass measures to allow compulsory access.

Said Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

"The mating of the ruddys and their close genetic kin - the white-headed - is nature's way of ensuring the survival of the white-headed duck. The killing of ruddy ducks is yet another example of the arrogance of some old world 'conservationists' who believe that they can shoot and poison their way to environmental harmony. The slaughter of the ruddy ducks is a vicious, insane, massively expensive and logistically impossible exercise. It has no public support and seems designed to please only a small number of obsessives, who are interfering with nature in ways they can neither understand nor control."

Notes to Editors

  • Further Information: Andrew Tyler 01732 364 546.
  • For full background, see the Ruddy Duck Campaign Index
  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast quality interviews

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