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YP Letters: Don’t feed the animals – especially not the seagulls

What can be done to stop scavenging seagulls in resorts like Scarborough and Whitby?
What can be done to stop scavenging seagulls in resorts like Scarborough and Whitby?
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From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

LIKE John Collier, I find it extraordinary that passers-by should take a sanguine attitude to a young woman hurling her half-eaten pizza into the face of her crying two-year-old while rebuking her for letting birds eat its remains (The Yorkshire Post, July 23). However I, too, would have disapproved of him and his wife feeding birds in Scarborough, of all places. My wife and I have had seaside picnics ruined by aggressive gulls which have learnt that well-meaning members of the public can be a free meal ticket.

Feeding wildlife is not a good idea under any circumstances. Interfering with nature in this way does wild animals a disservice by destroying the disconnect with humans which defines them. Disposing of food irresponsibly is even worse: it has created the likes of urban foxes and, in Canada, urban bears, despite the best efforts of municipalities.

I know people who feed foxes and grey squirrels: the latter need no help at all – thank you very much. However, I must admit to keeping my bird-bath full of clean water all year round. I follow my instincts so I would be grateful if someone who really does know something about this kind of stuff would explain how the birds cope when it freezes over.