Animal Aid

RUDDY DUCK ACTION WEEK TARGETS WWT SLIMBRIDGE

Posted 1 April 1999

Animal Aid will be at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), Slimbridge on Good Friday (April 2nd) to protest against the organisation's support for the government's planned slaughter of thousands of ruddy ducks. It is understood that the culling has already begun in Anglesey, and is also scheduled to take place in the West Midlands (from April); and in Fife (from September).

The WWT protest concludes a Week of Action directed at the major cull supporters. Demonstrations have also taken place at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Countryside Council for Wales and English Nature. The protests are the opening salvos in a sustained campaign designed to force a cancellation of the planned killing.

Animal Aid protesters - dressed as ruddy ducks and as a 'WWT Bird Killer' - will be informing WWT and the hundreds of holiday visitors what they think of the slaughter programme, which could lead to the destruction of 4,000 birds.

The supposed 'logic' behind the killing is that ruddys, introduced to Britain from North America by the WWT itself, have bred and spread to Spain where they are mating with the endangered white-headed duck (endangered because it has been hunted and its habitat destroyed by people). The result of this mating is an 'impure' hybrid. Those promoting the cull are deeply offended by this mixing of blood, even though the ruddys and the white headed ducks can produce healthy offspring and are therefore close genetic kin.

Plans for a mass slaughter of ruddy ducks in the UK were originally cancelled in April 1997, following protests by Animal Aid outside each of the 8 Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust centres over that Easter weekend. Despite public opposition, the Department of the Environment relaunched the culling project on February 1st, 1999.

Said Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

"The planned slaughter of these ducks is an insane, massively expensive exercise which has no public support and seems designed only to please a small number of obsessives, who are interfering with nature in ways they can neither understand nor control."

Notes to Editors
  • More information: Becky Smith on 01732 364 546.
  • Please see briefing notes and ruddy duck campaign index.
  • Animal Aid's protest will take place at Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Nr. Dursley, Gloucestershire. Photocall: 11.30am.

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