Lingering death

If the grey squirrel cull in Scotland goes ahead in spring 2009 (your report, 7 February) there is a serious animal welfare issue that should be laid at the door of the Scottish Government and the red squirrel conservationists.

Grey squirrels mate from December to February and again in March to May, gestation takes up to 44 days and the young are usually weaned short of three months. This means that any time from mid December to mid-October females could be carrying their young or feeding their kittens.

When adult females are trapped and shot or bludgeoned to death unborn kittens will die in their mother's bodies and of those already born thousands will starve to death in their dreys.

The Scottish Government is funding this cruelty while Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and red squirrel groups will be willing perpetrators who seem to care little about the consequences of their actions.

To deliberately condemn these baby squirrels to a lingering death by starvation is an act of barbarism that should not be permitted.

ANGUS MACMILLAN

Meikle Boturich

near Balloch, Dunbartonshire

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