Pigeons pig out on junk food trash
Pigeons in Britain are becoming fat by eating junk food left by humans.
(CNN) -- British junk food lovers are having an unhealthy effect on the country's pigeons, which are becoming obese by feasting on litter leftovers.
The charity Keep Britain Tidy says people who do not throw their uneaten junk food away are causing the problem.
Chief executive Alan Woods said the birds were now "supersized" and dependent on people rather than nature for their food.
The abundance of food on offer was also causing a population explosion of pigeons in Britain, which are considered a health hazard and a nuisance, he said.
"Seven out of the 10 bits of litter we find on our pavements and roads are food related. And with all this trash to choose from, the pigeon, rat, fox and gull population has spiraled," Woods said.
The litter problem was worse during summer because the warm weather meant more people ate outdoors.
Summer also coincides with the peak breeding season for pigeons in June and July.
Woods said if the problem continued, local councils would be forced to cull thousands of pigeons to keep numbers under control.
"This isn't fair on the councils who are left to control the pest problem and is cruel to those animals who are scavenging in unnatural environments for food that isn't good for them," he said.
Keep Britain Tidy has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the problem and to encourage people not to litter.
"People genuinely feed pigeons out of a sense of kindness. But by leaving food around, they are not helping the birds at all. Pigeons become dependent on you for their diet and when flocks gather this spreads disease and drives smaller birds away," he said.
"Really, the best way to care for pigeons is to stop dropping and littering food, and instead let nature take its course."
He said the charity welcomed new legislation which made it easier to hit people who litter with on-the-spot fines.
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