Residents were asked by the council to stop feeding the pigeons
Using a hawk to scare pigeons from a town centre is “inhumane” and “a waste of taxpayers’ money”, a council has been told.
South Holland District Council decided to scare the birds with hawks as a tactic for reducing the town’s pigeon poo problem.
But campaigners say the bird of prey could “cause distress” and a more humane solution must be found.
The council said hawks do not kill pigeons, but simply “move them on”.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the authority tried to reassure people that a trained hawk will not attack pigeons.
But Kevin Newell, of Humane Wildlife Solutions, said the pigeons will return after the 12-week trial, and it is “simply trying to put a plaster on a wound.”
Instead, he said, pigeons should be diverted to brownfield sites and parks.
Denise Theophilus, from Foundation for Feathered Friends, said an “intelligent” pigeon “must feel pain and distress and confusion and fear and all the rest of it the same as we can.”
She said if managed properly the population will decrease, but culling means they breed faster “to fill the gaps”.
The council said it was a”waste of taxpayers’ money” to send specialist teams to clean Spalding town centre
Councillor Rodney Grocock denied that the hawk would attack pigeons and said there are fewer pigeons in the town centre since the use of hawks.
“I’m an animal lover,” he said. “That’s why I made it absolutely crystal clear for myself that no pigeons would be attacked. We just want to move them on.”
Mr Grocok added it is also a “great deal of wasted taxpayers’ money” to keep sending specialist teams to clean pigeon droppings from Spalding’s buildings.
The 12-week trial will be reviewed once it ends, the council said.