United Utilities has sparked fury after killing 60 geese at its Warrington headquarters. They claim the geese were attacking staff and extreme measures had to be taken. However, the public have responded to the news that they shot wildlife at two lakes surrounding its Lingley Mere base with outrage.
David Kennedy, an avid birdwatcher from the nearby Runcorn, said criticised United Utilities for taking the “easiest option” and killing the birds — Canada geese. He also described the utility provider’s actions as “particularly cruel” considering goslings had just been born.
Geese can be a nuisance, but if they did not want that problem on site then why include two lakes in the first place? I have been told there are none left now but when the birds are back in five or six years what will they do next? They need a plan going ahead that does not involve slaughtering birds.
He has launched an online petition asking United Utilities to pledge to never kill Canada geese again.
United Utility’s bosses claim the birds had bitten their members of staff. One woman, they say, had to visit her GP because of the bite she was so badly hurt. It lead to the overnight cull that occurred on June 26th. A spokesperson also claimed that the geese were harming the environment with bird droppings causing high levels of phosphate in the lakes. This prevents pond weed from growing and lowers oxygen levels, thereby killing off fish.
The spokesperson said:
Our aim is to increase the biodiversity of Lingley Mere and the lakes and widen the variety of wildlife here and we would never be able to achieve this with such a high level of Canada geese on site.
The animal rights group Animal Aid has stood up and voiced its disappointment over United Utility’s actions. The director of the group, Andrew Taylor, said that he’s concerned about how no information is being provided about the means by which they were killed.
The company are offering no real information what measures were taken to minimise suffering. The idea these birds presented a threat to people and had to be killed for defecating is an extreme and absurd over-reaction.
United Utilities manages the water and waste network in the North of England including areas like Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. It was founded in 1995 after a merger between North West Water and NORWEB.