By Tara Holmes
A priest has sparked off controversy after employing a pest control
company to shoot 70 pigeons roosting on the roof of his church.
Fr Ted Mullen, 53, said his move was "regrettable but necessary"
because the birds had covered the memorial garden with droppings.
"Parishioners have laid the ashes of their loved ones there. We also
had another path completely covered with the mess. It was impossible to
walk there," he said.
Defending his decision, the parish priest of St Marie's Church,
Rugby, Warwickshire added: "I took advice from the town hall and a
reputable pest control company.
"They suggested spiking the roof - which I didn't think was very
humane - using bait to entice them or shooting them. I decided for the
"I'm an animal lover but it's all relative. It's one thing to have a
few birds in the garden but it's more difficult when you have 70 birds.
"With hindsight, I would probably have taken wider consultation.
"I'm not regretful because of the outburst but no one's coming up
with another solution."
May Bocking, secretary to The Catholic Study Circle for Animal
Welfare, said: "You wouldn't expect a priest to be involved in killing
"We deplore any taking of life. They weren't even ill birds. Couldn't
some parishioner have cleared away the droppings? Or couldn't the birds
have been enticed into a field somewhere?"
From The Universe dated July 9 1995:
Reproduced with thanks.