Between January 2013 and January 2017 over 11,000 animals were culled in London’s Royal Parks according to information released via the Freedom of Information Act, requested by animal rights organisation Animal Aid. As a result, more than 75,000 people have signed a petition calling for this culling of healthy animals to stop.
Figures show that 8,400 mammals and 3,240 birds have been culled in Bushy Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park and St James’s Park.
The petition was started by Natalia Doran who runs a squirrel rescue and rehabilitation centre called Urban Squirrels. Natalia said: “The public are largely unaware of the culling of animals in London’s Royal Parks. More precisely, they think that when the animals are culled, it is in small numbers and for their own good, because they are old, ill or injured.
“Nothing could be further from truth: the numbers are very high, and the decisions to cull seem to be made not on scientific grounds, but on a whim. The petition calls for a professional assessment of the Parks’ carrying capacity and the use of non-lethal methods of deterrence.”
Animal Aid’s Director Isobel Hutchinson commented on the matter saying: “The Royal Parks urgently need to change their brutal and callous approach to wildlife. These animals play a vital role in allowing park visitors to re-connect with nature and take a break from city life. Yet these innocent wild animals, who bring so much joy to people, often find themselves at risk of being killed.
“For people who visit these parks and relish the opportunity to see wildlife, it must be a real shock to find out about this disturbing killing regime. The rapid rate at which this petition has grown shows the incredible strength of public feeling about this issue – people want wild animals to be cherished and not culled.”
The petition has nearly reached the 80,000 signatures it requires. You can find the petition here.