AN international rock star has joined a growing chorus of opposition to plans to cull hundreds of Canada Geese on Windermere.
Queen guitarist Brian May said the Lake District National Park Authority’s proposal ‘must be rescinded now’.
The star’s organisation, Save Me, campaigns for better treatment of animals and he spoke out strongly against the plans.
It comes as more than 2,200 people sign a petition against the cull, due to be handed to LDNPA bosses on Friday, and as opponents plan a protest demo in Bowness next month.
Campaigners say there is no evidence that geese pollute the lake - one of the main reasons the cull was proposed.
“The proposed cull of Canada Geese in Windermere is the latest in a string of bad decisions to perceived problems relating to wild animals,” said Mr May.
“The current climate of ignorance leads many people in authority, responding to the first complaint about an inconvenience or a loss in income, to reach for the gun.”
The LDNPA said it wanted to kill 200 of around 1,000 Canada Geese on the lake because the non-native birds eat landowners’ crops and their droppings impact on water quality.
National animal rights’ group, Animal Aid, said the real cause of pollution in the lake was sewage.
“We have to start realising that all sentient creatures are worthy of respect,” said Mr May.
“Just because a species is judged to be non-native is no justification for slaughtering innocent families of animals.
“Adopting a policy of killing immigrant individuals is unthinkable.”
Neil Ryding, who started the petition, said: “It breaks my heart to think of what the geese in Windermere will have to endure.
“I’m thrilled that so many people have spoken up in defence of these innocent birds. I just hope it’s enough to save them.”
Kate Fowler, head of campaigns at Animal Aid, said the cull was ‘unethical and unjustifiable’.
“The idea that the geese are responsible for phosphorus in the lake, when raw sewage is pumped into it, the fertiliser from a hundred farms runs into it, and detergents and dishwater tablets also end up in Windermere, is utterly implausible,” she said.
“Killing geese should be the last thing on their minds when they have such vast quantities of pollutants from traceable sources to clean up.”
Yvonne Pinnington, of Skipton, who co-ordinates the Save Windermere Canada Geese Facebook group, said the cull was ‘ridiculous’ and called on the LDNPA to listen to public opinion.
“There’s such a body of evidence that Canada Geese don’t cause this massive-scale pollution,” she said.
Kathy Musker, from Respect for Wildlife, said a protest demo against the plan would take place on March 10 at Bowness.