Page last updated at 19:37 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 20:37 UK

Warning over damage to crow traps

Crow
It is not illegal to trap crows or destroy their nests or eggs.

Interfering with legally set cage traps in the countryside is an offence and people will be charged, Tayside police have warned.

It follows a case on an estate in Angus where the door was pulled off a cage and the crow inside released.

The bird was being used to attract other crows into the trap.

A person controlling carrion crows can legally shoot them, use cage traps or destroy their nests and eggs to stop them preying on other animals.

The crows feed on the eggs and chicks of other birds, particularly those that nest on the ground, such as lapwings, redshank, curlew, partridge and grouse.

They can also kill or injure new-born lambs or sheep that have gone over on to their backs.

Alan Stewart, Tayside Police wildlife and environmental crime officer, said that the Scottish Government required those who hold a licence to control the birds to follow strict conditions

"It is seldom in Tayside now that the right to control birds in this way is abused by the operators," he said.

"Conversely, I receive reports all too often that legally set traps are being damaged or interfered with.

We would like to see a prohibition on the use of any trap that uses a captive live animal to catch another animal
Ross Minett
Advocates for Animals

"This interference is completely unfair on people who are carrying out their job in accordance with the conditions of the general licence that allows them to do so.'"

Ross Minett, from Advocates for Animals, said: "Unfortunately different animal species are valued and therefore treated differently in our society.

"So-called 'pest' species such as crows and magpies, which simply behave in a natural manner, can be demonised and do not have the legal protection given to other species, despite the fact that they can of course suffer just as much.

"We would like to see a prohibition on the use of any trap that uses a captive live animal to catch another animal. They are inhumane and the 'decoy' birds in particular can suffer terribly.

He warned however that even though they wanted a ban on the traps they did not support illegal activities, such as damaging legally set traps.




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