David Cameron has said he wants to start a “big conversation” about recent incidents of seagulls attacking people and animals after at least two dogs were killed by the birds this year.
In May, a chihuahua puppy named Bella was attacked and pecked to death in a garden in Devon and this month Yorkshire terrier Roo was so badly wounded by seagulls in Cornwall that she was put to sleep.
Stig the pet tortoise was also discovered with a badly pecked stomach in Cornwall last month, and also subsequently died from the attack.
Cornwall Council have replied to pleas to remove the seagulls by stating that herring gulls cannot be destroyed, as they are a protected species.
David Cameron told BBC Radio Cornwall: “I think this is a very difficult subject and I think it is a dangerous one for the Prime Minister to dive in and come up with an instant answer with the issues of the protection of seagulls, whether there is a need for a cull, what should be done about eggs and nests and the rest of it.
“I think a big conversation needs to happen about this and frankly the people we need to listen to are people who really understand this issue in Cornwall, and the potential effects it is having.”
A spokeswoman from Liskeard Town Council advised locking up bins to deter gulls. “The availability of food appears key to attracting seagulls,” she said. “They are pretty ruthless and when they have offspring they just act on instinct to protect their young.”
Another issue to note is that seagulls pose a less terrifying but definitely real threat to something else… summer lunches! Countryfile reader Natalie Jones lost her Cornish pasty in one fell swoop to this fearless bird, but did manage to capture a pretty impressive picture of the thief…
What do you think? Should more be done to combat seagulls? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on twitter at @countryfilemag.