Hayley is a Ghost

I love squirrels, so sue me.

Posted on: August 13, 2010

In Britiain grey squirrels are considered as a pest, mainly because they damage trees. They gnaw the bark of hardwood trees, such as beech and sycamore, to get at the sapwood below. The raw scar left on the trunk encourages fungal attack and may lead to distorted growth which I can imagine is terribly annoying if you are a forester or park keeper or somebody who generally just loves trees.

When it comes to squirrels I’m not racist. I think squirrels are typically very cute animals despite the trouble they may cause people. I mean, it’s not as though they’re being malicious in their actions, they’re just doing what they do to survive. It’s within their nature.

So I was rather saddened to read in The Metro (a free newspaper you can get on the bus or train here in the UK in case you didn’t know) that a man called Norris Atthey, who is the founder of ‘The Morpeth Red Squirrel Action Group’ had captured a grey squirrel in a small cage and drowned it in protest of the recent prosecution of Raymond Elliott who was found guilty of animal cruelty when he drowned a squirrel himself. The RSPCA brought action against him and it was upheld in court and he was made to pay oer £1,500 in fines.

Norris Atthey says that he drowned the squirrel in protest, and to show that drowning is a humane way of culling the animals.

“It was dead within 30 seconds, of some 250 grey’s I’ve killed, that has been the quicket method. The usual method is shooting them – but it is still possible you might miss or not kill it properly.”

Personally, I don’t believe that drowning can be considered humane at all. When I was in my teenage years I almost drowned in a swimming pool in Spain while on a family holiday. I struggled for about a minute to get out of the water and it was the scariest thing I have experienced and I haven’t been in a swimming pool since. I genuinely thought I was going to die and I was fighting for my life in the water.

I would imagine that being trapped in a cage is scary enough. Imagine being trapped in a tiny cage you can’t move around in, you don’t know what is going on, you’re terrified of humans anyway because they’re your biggest preditor.

It’s actually hard for me to imagine how scary that would be. I don’t know about you.

Then imagine that suddenly the cage is being lifted up and you’re being put into water, you’re probably struggling to get out of the cage, you’re terrified because you don’t know what’s happening and now you can’t breathe, and then you die.

It may only take thirty seconds for the squirrel to die, but I can imagine that those thirty seconds are the most terrifying seconds imaginable.

I would imagine that if Raymond Elliott was prosecuted for animal cruelty for drowning a squirrel (which was probably in breach of the Wildlife and countryside act) then what Norris Atthey has done is also in breach.

The title of the small article in the Metro that covered what he had done showed an image of Norris holding us the cage he had used with the headline ‘I drowned a squirrel, so sue me’ and I seriously hope that the RSPCA accept his invitation.


9 Responses to "I love squirrels, so sue me."

That is horrible, poor squirrels.
Yes drowning is a nasty way to go indeed. Not fun.

Nice blog. I have been watching squirrels eating mushrooms on my lawn this morning. On a lighter note, you may also enjoy this related story:


That is an awesome story. I live in Bradford-on-Avon and one morning on my way to the train station I took a short cut through the local park. I was walking past a tree and a squirrel shot down the trunk of the tree, paused and stayed stock still as I stood next to the tree in shock.

every time I went to take a step forward along the path, the squirrel would move further up the trunk, and every time I stepped back, the squirrel would move slightly down the trunk. If I stayed still, it stayed still and we just stared at one another.
We were literally about a foot and half away from one another and it was at my head height.

It was so funny and awesome as it’s so rare for squirrels to stay still that long.

Norris Atthey’s claimed justification for drowning the squirrel is almost as stupid as the claim that a fox was beaten to death to make the other foxes behave … and it is a lot worse because it is real and the fox story was satire.

No, I think you misunderstand. Drowning is completely relaxing and painless… for the person causing something else to drown, that is.

I think using time as a measuring unit for suffering is an error.

How would you measure suffering better?

Typically, in the US anyway, the AVMA has measured suffering by visible distress prior to the loss of consciousness.

Drowning is _NOT_ one of their approved methods.

Drowning is extremely cruel. However, I’m not sure if population control of Grey Squirrels is a bad thing. We introduced them, we shouldn’t have and they’ve all but wiped out our native Red Squirrel (albeit unintentionally). I don’t think killing them is particularly nice, but looking at controlling breeding in some way might be better and help to re-introduce the red squirrel before it goes extinct without having to kill off Greys.

Fox hunting is cruel and pointless. Controlling the Grey Squirrel population aids in conserving the Red Squirrel. Grey Squirrels will not be wiped out, but the Red could be.

I fully agree that some sort of population control is needed, I just don’t agree that drowning or shooting is the answer.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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