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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 11:32 GMT
MPs condemn duck cull
Tourists in Ibiza
Ruffling feathers: Tourists and ducks have similar aims
A group of MPs has condemned government plans for a nationwide cull of the ruddy duck to protect another species from extinction.

The Spanish white-headed duck is said to be threatened with extinction as a result of cross-breeding with ruddies heading south for winter.

But the group of MPs, led by the former Sports Minister Tony Banks, compared the mating habits of the ruddy duck to those of Brits abroad.

They have tabled a Commons motion noting that "mating in Spain is an annual ritual practised by many British holidaymakers".

Mating in Spain is an annual ritual practised by many British holidaymakers
Commons motion
The motion also calls on the UK and Spanish governments to show as tolerant an attitude towards ruddy ducks as they do to British tourists.

Around 6,000 ruddy ducks could be shot by government-paid marksmen because they breed too successfully.

Welfare split

Under pressure from the Spanish, the UK Government has already carried out a limited cull of 2,500 ducks in three regions.

The trial has been so successful the government now intends to widen the cull to kill the remaining 3,500 ducks that continue to live in Britain's lakes and reservoirs.

Ruddy duck
The duck was imported in the 1940s
Animal welfare campaigners have been divided on the issue.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds backed the move, saying it was important to prevent introduced species from wiping out native species.

But campaign group, Animal Aid, said the cull would be immoral.

In a statement on its website, Animal Aid said: "White headed ducks have been brought to the point of extinction because they have been mercilessly hunted in Spain and their habitat destroyed.

"Mating with the robust ruddy duck is the white headed duck's means of survival. We should leave them to it."




SEE ALSO:
R.I.P. Ruddy duck
03 Mar 03 |  UK
Duck cull sparks outrage
28 Jul 02 |  UK News
Ruddy ducks down and out
02 Feb 99 |  UK News
Feathers fly over duck cull
15 Sep 99 |  Scotland


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