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Killjoy Ken Targets Pigeons
- Mayor to order birds out of Trafalgar Square

FORTY THOUSAND Londoners have been threatened with eviction from their ancestral home by mayor Ken Livingstone.

Livingstone wants to clear the famous Trafalgar Square pigeons, seen as a health risk, off their traditional patch and has two plans by which he hopes to achieve his aims.

The first would see the pigeons starved off the square by cancelling the food concession of Bernard Rayler, a man whose family has sold little tubs of bird seed for half a century. Plan B involves inserting contraceptives into the pigeon food in a kind of gentle culling operation.

"My decision is clear," Livingstone said. "Either we cancel that concession or the feed contains a contraceptive."

But bird experts doubt the efficacy of the second scheme. "Pigeons can be at it every month of the year and lay two eggs every time," said Mike Everett of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "The best way to control them is to remove the food and stop them roosting."

Londoners and tourists are not likely to take kindly to the eradication of pigeons from Trafalgar Square. "Does your mayor really think people come here to watch the fountains, which never seem to be working anyway?" asked one Swedish visitor as her seven year-old son hand-fed an eager flock of cooing birds.

Livingstone and his killjoy supporters point to the health risks associated with pigeons, claiming that some, mostly minor, infections can be traced to the friendly birds. But visitors to Trafalgar Square are much more likely to be concerned with the exhaust fumes they are forced to breathe and the six lanes of traffic they are forced to negotiate to reach the pigeons than by a risk of infection which is in all probability tiny.

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