AN animal aid charity is urging Highland Council to consider non-lethal methods of controlling gulls after calls were made for a cull.
It was reported last week how a guest house owner in the Crown area of Inverness is begging the local authority to take action against the birds tas she fears they are ruining her business.
The birds are attracted to the flat roof of one of Crown Primary School’s buildings and they can regularly be heard screeching from 2am onwards.
Pat Hayden, chairwoman of Crown Community Council, said she was “all in favour” of a cull.
But UK animal rights organisation Animal Aid has written to council leader Margaret Davidson offering advice on other ways of solving the issue.
Campaigner Tod Bradbury said: “Gulls are a protected species and there are simple, inexpensive and non-lethal methods that can be used to deter them and other birds from nesting on flat roofs.
“It would be a real tragedy if the council adopted methods which resulted in the slaughtering of these iconic seabirds.
“A humane solution is not only better for wildlife, and for those residents who do not wish to see wild animals harmed, but humane methods of deterrence are usually cheaper than lethal methods – thus making them better for the council and taxpayers.
“Their effectiveness means that they are also better for those who are in conflict with the animals.”
An information leaflet sent to Cllr Davidson along with the letter details a range of methods for dealing with gulls including getting people to stop feeding them, dealing more carefully with food waste, blocking access to breeding sites and using wire to prevent them landing in particular areas.
Despite this, Mrs Hayden said she remained in favour of stronger action being taken against the birds, which she labelled a “menace.”
“We have heard stories of visitors to the city centre sitting outside with a drink and something to eat and these birds diving on them,” she said. “That’s just dangerous.
“I’m in favour of any methods that make it more difficult for gulls to land or nest, but at the end of the day surely that is just moving the problem on rather than dealing with it properly?
“If you can give me one redeeming feature of gulls I might change my mind, but as far as I can see they are just a dangerous menace.”
A spokeswoman for Highland Council previously said the council had no statutory duty to take action against gulls but environmental health were in discussions with Crown Primary about how to deal with the birds.