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Feeding swans bread IS ok says Swan Sanctuary

Following numerous press stories about banning feeding bread to swans the latest advice contradicts that message saying there is no harm doing this and is in-fact starving them if not done.

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With so many ponds and lakes across Crawley there is nothing more regal than seeing plenty of swans majestically cruising back and forth, particularly if they are with their young.

For years people have gone, sometimes with family, to feed them and for years it has always been bread.

Recently though there have been a lot of stories talking about how bad bread is for them and how people should avoid it as it can cause a whole list of troubles.

But now it seems all of that is actually wrong, and the fact that so many people heeded the words about banning feeding them bread has meant many are actually starving which in turn is making them take drastic action such as cross main roads to find food.

Now a statement from The Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber MVO which has been endorsed by Professor Christopher Perrins of Oxford University has come out and confirms what The Swan Sanctuary has always said.

The statement reads:

“There has been a great deal of press coverage in recent months regarding the ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign which is confusing many members of the public who like to feed swans.

Supporters of the campaign claim that bread should not be fed to swans on the grounds that it is bad for them.

This is not correct.

Swans have been fed bread for many hundreds of years without causing any ill effects. While bread may not be the best dietary option for swans compared to their natural food such as river weed, it has become a very important source of energy for them, supplementing their natural diet and helping them to survive the cold winter months when vegetation is very scarce.

There is no good reason not to feed bread to swans, provided it is not mouldy. Most households have surplus bread and children have always enjoyed feeding swans with their parents.

The ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign is already having a deleterious impact upon the swan population; I am receiving reports of underweight cygnets and adult birds, and a number of swans from large flocks have begun to wander into roads in search of food.

This poses the further risk of swans being hit by vehicles. Malnutrition also increases their vulnerability to fatal diseases like avian-flu which has caused the deaths of many mute swans and other waterfowl in the past.

Furthermore, there have been statements made in the media claiming that feeding bread causes angel-wing in swans. Angel-wing is a condition where a cygnet develops a deformed wing.

Professor Christopher Perrins, LVO, FRS of the Department of Zoology at Oxford University stated, ‘There is no evidence of a connection between feeding bread and angel-wing; at least some cygnets develop this condition without ever having seen any bread’.

I therefore encourage members of the public to continue feeding swans to help improve their chances of survival, especially through the winter.”

The Swan Sanctuary has also published a couple of explanatory images that also establish what is right and wrong:

You can find out more information and how to support The Swan Sanctuary by clicking here.

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Crawley Council supports ‘no excuse for abuse’ taxi campaign

Crawley Borough Council is supporting the National Private Hire and Taxi Association to raise awareness about abuse towards taxi drivers.

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Councillor Geraint Thomas with Mr Ali, a Crawley taxi driver.

The council has offered all drivers in Crawley a ‘no excuse for abuse’ stickers in an effort to encourage passengers to treat drivers with respect, reinforcing that abuse will not be tolerated and reported to the police.  

Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, Councillor Geraint Thomas, said:

“These stickers are a great idea. While the vast majority of taxi users are polite and well-behaved, there are a few who unfortunately feel it acceptable to be abusive.

It’s important that people know that this will not be tolerated.”

The council is responsible for regulating local taxis, drivers and companies. For more information, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/licensing

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