Cancel Taxpayer-Funded Squirrel Cull


Target: Sir Harry Studholme, Chairman, United Kingdom Forestry Commission

Goal: Find humane alternative to cruel and ineffective squirrel cull

Landowners participating in a grey squirrel cull will be paid up to £500 (about $750) of taxpayer money each, according to a new plan set forth by the United Kingdom Forestry Commission. Landowners will be eligible for grants of £100 (about $150) per year for five years in exchange for trapping, poisoning, or shooting grey squirrels. Creators of the plan are hoping that a decrease in the grey squirrel population will result in red squirrel populations increasing.

Grey squirrels, while not native to the United Kingdom, have established a thriving population since their introduction in the early 1900s. Their digestive system, which differs greatly from that of the red, allows them to eat a greater variety of food as well as retain a significantly larger portion of the food’s nutritional value. They are a carrier for the squirrel pox virus, which is benign in grey squirrels yet deadly to the reds. This, compared with higher birth rates in grey squirrels, gives them the survival advantage over red squirrels.

There is no evidence that culling or placing bounties on grey squirrels has resulted in a lasting population decline. Because the animals are so hardy and colonize areas so quickly, new grey squirrels are more likely to replace their predecessors than red ones. At this point, with 3-5 million grey squirrels in the United Kingdom, culling is likely to be an ineffective use of resources and time.

There are several alternatives to a cull that could prove both more humane and effective at increasing red squirrel populations. These include vaccinations against squirrel pox, contraception treatment for the greys, and focusing conservation efforts in areas where no grey squirrels exist to compete. Sign the petition below to demand that rather than a squirrel cull, taxpayer money is redirected to a more humane alternative.


Dear Sir Harry Studholme,

The Forestry Commission has recently announced a plan to provide government grants to landowners willing to shoot, trap, or poison grey squirrels on their property. This cull, while designed to promote the conservation of the rarer red squirrel, is likely to be ineffective at reducing grey squirrel populations in the long term due to the species’ hardiness.

Many alternatives exist that could prove a far more efficient use of taxpayer money, including vaccinations against squirrel pox and directing conservation efforts to areas without grey squirrels in order to establish a thriving population that will spread out. We, the undersigned, demand that this cruel and inefficient cull be cancelled.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: via Creative Commons

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  1. Rosemary Anderson says:

    This is an horiffic obscenity what you’ve done is granted a free for all killing spree with no thought to humane actions. These people for the sake of money will torture and kill these animals and they will die in pain because none of these people will know how to kill humanely. You are a disgrace to the Forestry commision its your job to look after this land and the animals on it yet you see it as carte blanche to maim and kill. These animals do not belong to you they belong to the world you have no right to use tax payers money as payment for the murder of these creatures. Ghandi said “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Obviouly you do not feel we are great as a nation – well you are right with people like you in positions of authority. Find a safe kind humane way of dealing wiith these poor innocent creatures, who feel pain, misery and fear.

  2. Paying people to murder animals? That’s not a good look UK is it? Squirrels, badgers and now of course foxes might be next. Cull the Tories.

  3. This squirrel cull is horribly cruel. These animals are intelligent, friendly and innocent. Paying people to kill them, in every imaginable horrific way, including torture is unconscionable! There is something very twisted and sickening with the agencies in charge. You should not be killing one innocent species, with the hope that another will survive. It makes no sense and is, in fact idiotic and unscientific. How about protecting natures wildlife instead of destroying it, especially so inhumanely?!

  4. Cecily Colloby says:

    Oh how I agree with you Bev Woodburn!!! Trap,poison and shoot the scum who are prepared to take part in this killing spree. We could do without murdering bastards like this and should just get rid of them.

  5. Any intelligent person will know that this whole concept of killing grey squirrels to “save” the red squirrels is a lie, spread by the Forestry Commission and those with vested interests who claim to “conserve” the red squirrel. Would these same people still want to “save” the red squirrel if there were no grey squirrels at all and the red squirrels were indeed flourishing? No, these very people will be accusing the red squirrel of causing “damage” and labelling them “pests” rather than “protected”, so that these people can steal the trees and destroy habitat. Everything is done to suit these evil humans, for their own convenience. They wiped out the red squirrel in the first place. Any intelligent person knows this.Grey squirrels are the scapegoat. Harming defenceless animals is the actions of cowards and bullies, and these people are exactly that – evil cowards and bullies who have no conscience or feelings, who are completely heartless and non-sentient, who never experience feelings of compassion, grief, remorse, because these people are devoid of such feelings. These people are non-sentient. They are only capable of feeling pleasure in dominating, controlling, bullying, and committing violence on those who are defenceless.

  6. Emily March says:

    Seems to me this stupid tradition eradicating grey squirrels has been going on for long enough. The UK has long been a leader in environment and animal protection matters – as well as hunting of course… more often than not for sport and in in the most ruthless of ways, worthy of savages putting on airs. The two do NOT go together, whatever the argument! Once killed or half dead, the squirrel is hung upside-down like a trophy, sometimes bleeding to death in front of its helpless mate. Please don’t tell me I am wrong: many have witnessed it. The keep-their-numbers down thing? Use animal contraceptives if you must: they work for humans too, the biggest plague on earth! As to missing the ‘thrill’ of the hunt: try clay.

  7. Bernice hamer says:

    Please show some compassion these animals deserve to live their lives in peace,instead of being persecuted ,I am so sick to keep hearing of this all the time.i respect all life that is the world , culls don’t work ,and they cause so much suffering.

  8. The horrible things that some folks will do for the almighty dollar !!!! In the end all that will matter is how we lived our lives and how we treated others (including how we treated animals). No one can put a price on that !!!!!!!!!!!!

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