The RSPCA in the U.K. is outraged at the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership, which says it has “trapped and shot 15,000 grey” squirrels in the last few weeks in order to protect the increasingly endangered red squirrel.
It’s hard to say who’s right here — will killing the grey squirrel (which, brought over from the U.S., has quickly out-populated the red squirrel and seems less vulnerable to a lethal pox virus) really help the red squirrel population bound back? Seems unlikely, says the RSPCA:
“We believe that control must not be interpreted solely as lethal control and urge the investigation of alternative measures to reduce the impact of grey squirrels on reds, whilst ensuring reds and greys do not suffer.
“Eradicating long-established populations of greys, as well as being ethically questionable, would be very difficult and cause unnecessary suffering.”
But the group doing the trapping sees it differently:
“It has never been done before on such a big scale and we are finding the system does work.”
While I don’t know the solution, I do have a complaint about the language used in this article, and by the different groups. I find it ridiculous to say the group is “culling” squirrels (a term used whenever animals are being killed.)
Just call it like it is: killing.