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 Advice on European Community Law, please

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Lapalomatriste
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Teresa
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeMon Aug 10, 2009 8:09 pm

Mission Almost Impossible -- that's what I've taken on, by the looks of it!

Most of you know I clean and refill the water containers for the pigeons at my local park every day and usually stand nearby for a little while so they are not pestered while they drink -- I call this 'Pigeon Patrol', lol. Why is this necessary?
The local authority removed the two lakes in 2005 and put in some ornamental water jets and a drinking fountain, which means that when the jets aren't working (as since last November) there's no water at all for pigeons etc to drink. So myself and another 3 people work a rota to provide, clean, replace and refill 4 (at least) clear plastic water containers, weighed down with stones so they don't tip over.
For most of this summer the water fountain hasn't been working either, so in addition we have to carry the water to the park. Okay, can do, nothing like a little weight-lifting! On a couple of occasions the park gardeners helped too, by putting a little water in the containers while they were watering the lawn.

Today I had one hell of a shock when I got there, with a 5-litre bottle of water, and all the containers had disappeared, even the ones that were hidden from view. One of the gardeners told me she had been seen filling one of the containers by a Town Hall spy, she had been dragged through a disciplinary hearing, and all the gardeners were given orders to remove and destroy any and all containers under pain of getting the sack. :For Shame: I ended up pouring the water on a depression in the cobblestones so the pigeons could have a drink. Later I went back with more water and two Tupperware containers, stayed there while they drank, then brought the lot home again.

I've spent most of the day scanning hundreds of pages of Town Hall meeting minutes, and found plenty about trees, but nothing about birds. So whoever ordered the removal of the water probably has no remit to do so.
Then I searched the files of the Portuguese Racing Pigeon Federation, but their legislation doesn't apply to ferals, and the Institute for Nature Conservancy only cares for indigenous wild pigeons. I've heard about this before, how the poor ferals fall outside any protective measures offered to their cousins. BUT I saw something interesting: in terms of wildlife, Portugal has to abide by European Law.
So my question is: Is there a precedent for something like this happening in, say, the UK or Germany? I think in those countries this kind of thing might be considered cruelty to animals, and I need to work out a strategy to fight this.
Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to give me.
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeMon Aug 10, 2009 9:15 pm

Teresa wrote:

BUT I saw something interesting: in terms of wildlife, Portugal has to abide by European Law.
* So my question is: Is there a precedent for something like this happening in, say, the UK or Germany?


I think in those countries this kind of thing might be considered cruelty to animals, and
** I need to work out a strategy to fight this.

Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to give me.
To have ordered the water containers be removed, thereby depriving those poor birds of suitable drinking water, is inexcusable and inhumane. Seeing red/mad

* John (Capuccino) or Cynthia may be able to help you regarding this. At least for the UK.

** Way To Go Pigeon angel
Please keep us posted on how your mission goes.
Best of luck.

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Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 9:17 am

My brain has been working overtime.

1) There is something that may bring the conservationists on board, namely that there are protected species in the park too: two pairs of collared doves, magpies, blackbirds and finches.

2) I'm not above canvassing and pestering people for the sake of my feathered friends.
If possible tonight, I'm starting with the main opposition party (they're greener than the rest) and the local lodge of the Freemasons.
I'm considering petitions also, as this morning I spoke with several people in the park, and local shop owners, and told them what happened, and they were horrified.
There's also the Catholic Church, they would never condone this.
There's the media (TV, newspapers, etc) but they don't much care for pigeons -- unless I only approach those sympathetic to the political opposition, as this lot won't pass a chance of getting one up on their rivals. (Cynical, me!? Hmmm )
Finally, if Dr. House is right and blackmail is the last resort, I've still got the video of the short-circuiting, steaming, public drinking fountain. It may come in handy.

But first I want the name of the guy who issued the order. One of the cat ladies gave me a name, but I want to hear it from the gardeners themselves, and they didn't come today.
Meanwhile you can rest assured that the pigeons ARE getting clean water more than twice a day.
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 9:44 am

I wonder if Petra knows anything about European Wildlife law? Myriam may have some insight as

well as John and Cynthia. I'll send them all emails in and have them take a look at this thread.

In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing...I would. If I were there, I'd help you cart the

water.
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 10:02 am

It sure sounds like you have the proper plan of action going on. Way To Go

I'm right there with ya with positive thoughts. Wink

PLEASE do keep us posted.

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Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 10:56 am

Matilda wrote:
I wonder if Petra knows anything about European Wildlife law? Myriam may have some insight as

well as John and Cynthia. I'll send them all emails in and have them take a look at this thread.

In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing...I would. If I were there, I'd help you cart the

water.

Oh, bless your cotton socks! YOU rock
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 10:58 am

Fancyfeathers wrote:
It sure sounds like you have the proper plan of action going on. Way To Go

I'm right there with ya with positive thoughts. Wink

PLEASE do keep us posted.

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement, Cindy! Pigeon angel
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:05 am

Teresa wrote:
Matilda wrote:
I wonder if Petra knows anything about European Wildlife law? Myriam may have some insight as

well as John and Cynthia. I'll send them all emails in and have them take a look at this thread.

In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing...I would. If I were there, I'd help you cart the

water.

Oh, bless your cotton socks! YOU rock


How did you know I'm wearing cotton socks today?! It's raining like crazy.

:That\\\'s so f
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:09 am

I found this link about European Wildlife Law. I don't have time needed to look though it righ now but I wanted to post it anyway.

http://www.birdlife.org/action/change/europe/habitat_directive/eu_wildlife_laws_eng.pdf
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:11 am

It's an English thing, meaning roughly 'Bless you, you sweet thing!' ROTFL

Oooh, just saw your latest post. I'll look it up as soon as I've looked after the pidgies. Many thanks!
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pigeonwriter
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:19 am

Teresa, I will see what I can find out here in Germany!!!!

This is an awful story - I just hate those people Major Rant

But I think if you can mobilize the media - it's always a good thing!
Btw - did you contact Greenpeace? They might have some source.
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:23 am

This may be a good contact too.

http://www.hsus.org/hsi/wildlife/
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:43 am

Teresa,
I wrote to a German forum that is specifically about feral/city pigeons.
I hope I can get some answers where to check out further....
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Lapalomatriste

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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 11:45 am

Hello Teresa
I am sorry to hear you are confronted with problems while you do what every citizen in this world should do: protect our feathered friends pigeon 1
I myself feed (and water if necessary) in various places in Belgium and Spain, and have never had problems, I hope my luck will go on.
I will ask my friend Pascal Cousin (France) who is a specialist concerning ferals, what he knows about the European Law.
The problem is that ferals are in a very vulnerable situation. I think (not sure) the European law makes a difference beween wild and domestic birds.
Now -at least in France- they made it such a way that ferals are considered neither wild, neither domestic. In other words they have no protection at all, and municipalities can do as they plesae with them: starve, hunt, capture and kill... they only have to claim that the ferals are a nuisance.
And you also have to consider that every European country has his own "interpretation" of the European law.
I saw in your post that the Institute for Nature Conservancy considers the indigenous wild pigeons as important enough to be protected... maybe you could use the fact that ferals are the same species (columba livia) as a criterium when you go to talk to "the ennemy"...
If the townhall pages dont say anything about them being a nuisance to be eradicated, the one who removes the ware containers will have to provide you PROOF that he has the law on his side.

"Lapalomatriste" is an "association loi 1901" ( a non profit) for the ethical treatment and the protection of pigeons, I can always support your actions in the name of my association, and so will do Pascal. It will have to be done in English or French though, as I read portuguese, but cannot write it.

Please keep us updated on this important issue.

Kind regards, Myriam
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 12:01 pm

Many Thanks for your assistance, Myriam. Smile

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Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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Cynthia

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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 1:55 pm

All I can say on the subject is that we went through the same thing when we, and others, were providing drinking and bathing water to a feral flock of (mainly) white doves.

As the land belonged to the council we had no authority to provide containers or to stop them from being removed. Very sad

The couple that were the prime carers for the flock put in an application to have a bird bath provided, that was two years ago and is still being considered or processed.

We settled for the same solution that you did, which was to fill a container with water, stand watch over it and then remove it.

Cynthia
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 2:12 pm

Although I'm not directly involved with this situation, I would like to Thank You circling Cynthia, for your input.

It's absolutely criminal how some people will intentionally deny a living being, no matter what it is, a drink of clean, untainted water.
Just makes me want to cry. Very sad

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Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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pigeonwriter
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 4:21 pm

Teresa,
I have found another link to animal welfare on the EP site - I haven't checked this in detail yet but naybe you can find something valuable there

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/search/simple/perform.do?language=en&query=animal+welfare

I'll continue research...
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 4:52 pm

I found my thread on PT about this and the reasons for the removal of the water: Elf 'n' safety strikes again!

Well, the mystery has been solved. It was one of the groundsmen who removed the bird baths because they were an eyesore (the were brand new plant saucers ), emptying the water from them exposed tree roots (about a cupful of muddy water a day) and there was the risk of someone drowning (this is a dish that is one or two inches deep, under a tree by a river that has no guard rails or anything else that would prevent someone from falling in).

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Teresa
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PostSubject: Update   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeThu Aug 13, 2009 7:37 am

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH, WORLDWIDE ANGELS! Pigeon angel

I'm deeply moved and humbled by all your help and suggestions. My feral friends and I are deeply, deeply grateful! I have now added all the sites you provided the links to, to my favourites, to be able to browse them all at length.

Update:
  • I haven't been able to speak to the representatives for the Socialist Party or the Freemasons yet, as they are out of town at the moment, but

  • I'VE GOT THE CULPRIT'S NAME: One Engenheiro PINA. He appears to be small fish, as he is a councillor at the Town Hall but nobody I spoke to knew him. However, I have a friend at the Parish Council who was at a meeting with him, so I'll speak to her.

  • I've made a series of screen captures of the minutes of the Town Hall regarding their annual expenditure with the upkeep of the town's green spaces (even a quick glance suggests gross mismanagement) and I'm keeping them for future reference.
    NB This expenditure is passed on to the local tax payer at the rate of about 7 euros per month per household.

  • I spoke to the gardeners and told them what I am doing. They (and I get teary just thinking about this) have been placing the "removed" water containers in parts of the park that are not visible from encircling streets, as apparently Mr. Nasty drives around the park slowly to check for them. Those women are risking their jobs! How kind and brave is that?

  • I've got the name of a solicitor who has already fought the Town Hall, and won, in matters relating to the same park. Can't afford his services now, but in the Autumn it should be doable.

  • INCREDIBLE PUBLIC SUPPORT: My local chemist's, where I buy most of my pigeon meds, is owned by two brothers who are genuinely caring. One of them even went to the park with me to see Ritchie's release. They personally know the young underlings in charge of the park and promised to exert pressure on them + if there's a petition, they'll sign it and ask their customers to sign it + they offered to put up a poster in their shop window supporting the park pigeons. Celebrate
    A friend of my mother's pledged her support and that of "over a dozen others".

  • I'm going to target the petshops and pet food suppliers too. I know their owners surreptitiously feed their local ferals, lol.

  • If this is still going on when school restarts, I'll try to get the local schools on board.


Right, it's back to work for me now.

PS. Cynthia, I'm sorry to hear you had the same situation, and sorry that it could not be resolved satisfactorily. But I'm still hopeful in this case, because this lot drained and filled the two centenary lakes that were there and relocated (so they say) the ducks, geese, swans and fish that were there, without public discussion, and public opinion is very, very much against them.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeThu Aug 13, 2009 7:39 am

Cynthia wrote:
I found my thread on PT about this and the reasons for the removal of the water: Elf 'n' safety strikes again!

Well, the mystery has been solved. It was one of the groundsmen who removed the bird baths because they were an eyesore (the were brand new plant saucers ), emptying the water from them exposed tree roots (about a cupful of muddy water a day) and there was the risk of someone drowning (this is a dish that is one or two inches deep, under a tree by a river that has no guard rails or anything else that would prevent someone from falling in).


Un-blooming-believable!!! Evil, wrong doing
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeThu Aug 13, 2009 8:02 am

Cynthia wrote:
I found my thread on PT about this and the reasons for the removal of the water: Elf 'n' safety strikes again!

Well, the mystery has been solved. It was one of the groundsmen who removed the bird baths because they were an eyesore (the were brand new plant saucers ), emptying the water from them exposed tree roots (about a cupful of muddy water a day) and there was the risk of someone drowning (this is a dish that is one or two inches deep, under a tree by a river that has no guard rails or anything else that would prevent someone from falling in).

:moo: How incredibly stupid is that?
They have no valid reason for what was done so they make up some absolutely ridiculous excuses, which only makes them look like an bunch of knuckleheads. I have NO idea

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Cindy

A Pigeon's Prayer
Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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Matilda
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeThu Aug 13, 2009 8:19 am

Well Teresa Pigeon angel you are on track....You go Girl! Star quality

You are doing exactly what I did 20 years ago when the city or Portland was going to poison the pond at a local park, kill all the fish, turtles, ducks and geese.

The petition helped a lot, so do start one.
I was able to find a prominent attorney that worked for free. It wouldn't hurt to ask the man you spoke of if he is willing to do the same.
We actually sued the city and finally settled by helping them find another way to clean the pond through expert wittnesses that presented other options.
...of course the media called me an animal rights wacko... I have NO idea Happy Dance
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeThu Aug 13, 2009 11:27 pm

Well, Charis, I'd be delighted to be called no worse than an animal rights wacko... :lol!:

It's 6.10 am and I've been up all night doing my homework.
After swotting on European wildlife law, I moved on to Birdlife International, who have a branch in Portugal, called the SPEA.
Naturally, they only care for native wild species, so bearing that in mind I sent them the following e-mail (in Portuguese, of course):


Dear Sirs,

I am writing to ask for advice regarding a cruel attitude that denies access to water to all the birds in the municipal park of my town, in order to force them away.

The Municipal Park of Figueira da Foz was completely remodelled in 2005: the two lakes, home to ducks, geese, swans and fish disappeared (the animals having supposedly been relocated); the islands in the middle of the lakes, which provided all birds with shelter and privacy, also disappeared; the dovecotes were removed; many trees were felled, as were all the large
bushes, and half of the total area of the park now consists of cobblestones and artificial surfaces. Ornamental water jets were installed, but they have been inoperative for a long time.

The mortality rate of the resident bird population has been very high, as a consequence of loss of habitat, lack of shelter from predators, encounters with traffic and deliberate acts such as poisoning and the placing of birdseed in the middle of the street. Presently there are only two pairs of collared doves and one pair of magpies, the number of small birds decreased by half, and only the pigeons suffered less losses, owing to the activities of tourists who feed them so they can take photos of their children surrounded by "nature".

During all this time, a small number of residents has been providing the birds with water, cleaning and refilling daily four transparent containers placed where they caused no obstruction. As there has been no water in the park for months, the job includes carrying the water there.

Suddenly, someone at the Town Hall gave the gardeners orders to remove any and all water containers "to make the pigeons go away". This attitude is inhuman and condemns to death many more species than pigeons.
If it is necessary to control the pigeon population, there are humane methods to achieve that, namely the use of the immunocontraceptives that Birdlife International is developing, or through the reinstatement of the dovecotes and the removal of the eggs.

When the park was remodelled, it reopened with great fanfarre and publicity posters that promised respect for biodiversity and for the environment. Those promisses have been broken. Someone wants to change our city park into a car park.

I would like to know to what extent the existing Portuguese laws, together with the European Birds and Habitats Directives can and will protect the last survivors of an act of corporate vandalism.

Yours faithfully,...
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pigeonwriter
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PostSubject: Re: Advice on European Community Law, please   Advice on European Community Law, please Icon_minitimeFri Aug 14, 2009 3:12 am

Teresa,
what I have found out in the meanwhile is truly devastating. There are of course lots of laws but somehow pigeons seem to fall always between 2 chairs. I have come across incidents where whole pigeon populations are exterminated in German cities although we have laws. It is depressing.
I could not find anything specific about European law besides plans and big intentions - nothing really concrete. These politician are talking and talking and talking but no-one of these bullshitters are taking responsibility.
Everything depends on couragious people like you, people with private initiative and moral courage. It is a very sad situation. Even the grand organizations such as NABU (Naturschutzbund - German Society for Nature Conservation) is rejecting any help for feral pigeons and apparently consider them as a pure nuisance.
People are quick to decry bad animal welfare in China and other countries of this world but they lack to decry the injustice and cruelty put on pets and other living creatures right in front of them.

To be honest - I am very depressed. This takes me down completely because people can be so incredibly inhuman. But then people who torture animals are torturing their own kind also. So I think the only thing we can actually do is trying to reduce the pain in front of our own homes and neighbourhood from case to case.

Bless you for all you are doing! Pigeon angel
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