Health and safety gone mad. It's not for the birds

PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 13:23 04 May 2010

I REALLY must protest at the content and tone of the circular letter the Environmental Health Department of the district council sent me on the subject of wild ducks in Ely. They make no allowance for the wild ducks of Ely as a tourist attraction. Living

I REALLY must protest at the content and tone of the circular letter the Environmental Health Department of the district council sent me on the subject of wild ducks in Ely.

They make no allowance for the wild ducks of Ely as a tourist attraction. Living where we do (at Castlehythe at the bottom of Back Hill on the tourist route from the station to the cathedral) we see tourists constantly stopping to admire and photograph them, particularly if they have a brood of chicks. The happy smiles on the faces of adults and children when they see the ducks on our little green is a delight to behold.

You talk of them as an environmental hazard. Have you ever had a single case of someone who has been injured by them or caught any disease from them?

You cannot live in a sterile environment. So humans must be prepared to share the planet with other species and not be so fastidious. Compared with the pollution and damage caused by the motor car for instance, the minor inconvenience of duck droppings is a tiny problem. A shower of rain soon clears it away.

What evidence do you have that the duck population is increasing? Around here it has decreased. When we came to live here 10 years ago I often had five in my garden. I now rarely have more than one. I strongly suspect that someone has been 'culling' the flock without telling us. I hope it's not the local authority.

We have regularly used some of the eggs that are laid in our garden for cooking. Instead of oiling the eggs (Whatever that means) you might try selling the ones you find to local restaurants, a productive and lucrative use which will help to pay the Council Tax.

I agree that it is better to do as we do and buy mixed corn to feed the ducks. However, feeding them with bread is a custom from time immemorial and I doubt whether you can ever stop it. Did you not do this as a child?

May I respectfully suggest that you concentrate your efforts on important environmental issues like global warming and leave the ducks alone?

RJ MACKLIN

Castlehythe

Ely

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