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Change Classification of Grey Squirrels to Allow Release

Comment 21st July 2010

Grey Squirrels are currently classified as a 'foreign'  or 'alien' species & therefore, if humanely trapped, cannot be released into the wild – opens individual up to prosecution & encourages inhumane behaviour, as was recently seen in the prosecution for drowning.  True, grey squirrels were originally not indigenous but, at this point, such a classificiation is surely spurrious, as they have assimilated to such a marked extent and their geographic penetration is almost comprehensive.  I suggest changing the law to reclassify them in some way, so that they can be released into the wild.  To compliment this change in the law, there should also be guidelines provided on acceptable release locations, necessary distance from original location etc.  This solution will achieve several upsides:

  1. Humane treatment of charming animals that can also be real, material pests
  2. Removal of ambiguity associated with trapping & what to do thereafter
  3. Removal of costs (met from public monies) associated with prosecutions
  4. Reduction in insurance claims, relating to squirrel related damage
  5. Improved clarity & victory of good common sense in relation to legislation that is clearly out of step with current reality & is confusing to 'everyman'

Why does this matter?

Grey squirrels create controversy, as they are wonderful to watch, highly intelligent & cute as a button but, conversely, can do an amazing amount of damage to lofts (as I know, to my great cost) and to gardens.  It can never be acceptable that any animal, however much of a nuisance, be killed in a manner that causes suffering.  But, ironically,  the current law actually encourages people to do just that, in that it does not allow release into a more appropriate environment & so a trapped animal becomes a conundrum – what to do with it?  Much better to release than to kill &, at this stage of geographic penetration, release simply & logically cannot be an ecological issue.    It is important to ensure that legislation of this sort is flexible enough to stay current & also to be practical in its' application, so that no citizen is confused as to its' application & to avoid the requirement for wasteful, expensive prosecutions.

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