MIKE EVERETT, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said of pigeons, in The Big Issue Magazine, February, 2001: “The whole ‘rats with wings’ thing is just emotive nonsense. There is no evidence to show that they (pigeons) spread disease.”

The Chief Veterinary Officer, when addressing the House of Lords in 2000 on the issue of pigeons in Trafalgar Square was asked if the large number of pigeons in the Square represented a health risk to human beings. The Chief Veterinary Officer told The House that in his opinion they did not.

Charlotte Donnelly, an American bird control expert told the Cincinnati Environment Advisory Council in her report to them: “The truth is that the vast majority of people are at little or no health risk from pigeons and probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than contracting a serious disease from pigeons.”

If there was any real chance of pigeons spreading disease to human beings we would see epidemics amongst pigeon fanciers that race pigeons and spend much of their time in dusty pigeon lofts.

We would also see all those involved with the rehabilitation of pigeons in wildlife hospitals worldwide dropping like flies. The facts speak for themselves. Pigeons do not spread disease and if we need to get rid of pigeons on the basis of the fact that there is “potential” for them to pass on diseases to human beings then we need to get rid of all feral birds.

At the end of the day 99% of so called “pigeon problems” are, in reality, people problems. It is human beings that create the waste upon which pigeons feed and if we cleaned up our act we would have considerably fewer pigeons to worry about. So is it really the feral pigeon that is vermin?

Mrs Pickering