Do Squirrels Screw In The Woods?
TRAPPING is cruel, shooting is tricky and poison is dangerous. If only there was a way to stop the grey squirrels advancing through Britain from breeding in the first place.
That was the thinking behind a government project aimed at protecting red squirrels from their foreign cousins by giving the grey invaders contraception.
But the £1 million project is set to end in failure and disappointment because the pesky creatures just won't take the pills....
The three-year project is part of a study funded by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Forestry Commission. Separate trials have focused on giving contraceptives to wild boars and parakeets.
Although animal rights groups have backed the use of contraceptives, the squirrel trials, using captive greys, are taking place at a secret location due to fears of attack from animal-rights extremists.
No it isn't April 1st.
The Forestry Commission used to offer a sixpenny bounty on squirrel tales - a simple market mechanism that could be reintroduced except ..
But Natalie Smart, of the SSPCA, backed the criticism of the plan. "Offering a monetary incentive to kill doesn't make good sense,'' she said.
But Ross Minett, director of welfare group Advocates for Animals, said: "There is no scientific or ecological justification for this. Even when millions of pounds are spent over a number of years, it's next to impossible to cut the number of grey squirrels. This will lead to carnage in the countryside."