I consulted Google on issue of vermin

Susan Richardson questions my use of the term 'vermin' to describe feral pigeons and insists that I am mistaken, (The Star, November 2).

Pigeons at The Moor are becoming a problem
Pigeons at The Moor are becoming a problem

She suggests that I might take the trouble to check with the RSPB who do not consider them so.

As a general rule I do “take the trouble” to check my facts, Ms Richardson, and in this case I recall that I consulted Google on the issue.

The general consensus so far as I could ascertain was that feral pigeons are indeed widely considered to be vermin.

It does not surprise me at all that the RSPB, an organisation not known for their denigration of wild birds, would take the view that they do.

I am sure that many other groups, farming and pest control organisations for example, would take a different view.

There is no definitive list of animals classed as vermin.

Neither is there a clear legal definition of vermin in UK law, (Lord Whitty: 2003).

It therefore becomes subjective as to what is vermin and what is not, so we must consult the Oxford dictionary for guidance.

This defines vermin as “wild animals that are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals, or game, or which carry disease”.

Pigeons would certainly qualify on the first count at the very least, and I feel sure you would agree with that, Ms Richardson.

Gary Crosby

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