*File photo
*File photo

The SPCA is urging Conservation Services to review their procedures after the third incident since November 2012 where members of the public have come across significant numbers of dead and dying birds of all species following an operation to poison feral chickens.

In the first incident near the Grotto Bay Hotel the SPCA were called out as a result of a cat being poisoned and found 3 collapsed feral chickens in the vicinity. Enquiries revealed that workers from the hotel had collected a large number of 'dead' birds and placed them in the trash compactor by the kitchen. Once the machine had been switched off and the bag retrieved 10 dead chickens were recovered along with an unconscious Cockerel.

The second incident the following day concerned mainly sparrows and doves which were found littering the grass near the Blue Hole Car Park. An unconscious chicken was also recovered.

Today members of the public out walking in Lagoon Park found a similar sight when they came across Starlings, a Kiskadee and some ground doves that had eaten poisoned bait. A starling and the Doves were still alive when found by the public.

Inspector Roberts said "Whilst an argument can be made for controlling the feral chicken population this should be done in a humane and responsible manner. I had a meeting with Mr. Pettit from Conservation Services when they initially started the program and was given a copy of the Governments Feral Chicken Management Plan. It seems clear to me that when we get large scale poisoning of non-target species then they cannot be following their own guidelines. There have been incidents of cats being poisoned in addition to wild birds. I have spoken with Mr. Pettit and again had assurances that they will look closely at how they undertake these operations."

" I would urge anyone finding significant numbers of dead birds or even birds that look as if they have been poisoned to contact the SPCA on the 24 hour emergency number 737-1108. Even though feral chickens are considered by many to be a pest that does not mean that they can be treated inhumanely or cruelly. Only Conservation Services staff using approved methods can lay poisoned bait for feral chickens anyone else is committing an offence under The care and Protection of Animals Act 1975".

The SPCA is interested in any reports of cats or dogs being poisoned so please ask your veterinary Surgeon to contact the SPCA Inspectorate Department who will investigate.