UK council slammed for linking pigeon feeding to mental illness
London, June 11 (ANI): Council members have been criticised as "condescending and naive" for claiming that people who feed pigeons are mentally ill.
The statement was part of the council's Street Activity Management Plan, and has enraged members of the mental health charity MIND.
The council based the report on a survey taken several years ago, but was unable to provide a copy to back up the claim.
It was estimated that in 2007, street cleaners in Liverpool spent a total of 88 hours a day cleaning up pigeon droppings, which forced the council to invest in the "Robop" - a robotic bird of prey perched on buildings to deter pigeons.
A spokeswoman at MIND blasted the claim as "outlandish" and said that it added to discrimination towards those suffering from mental illness.
Kate Stringer, Head of Communications at Time to Change, England's biggest mental health anti-stigma programme run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, said that such outlandish assumption was only adding to the discrimination faced by mental health patients.
"This is another example of the unhelpful misconceptions that surround people with mental health problems," the Telegraph quoted Stringer as saying.
"One in four of us will experience a mental illness at some point in our lives and so to make such outlandish assumptions is only adding to the discrimination that so many of us are having to face everyday," she said.
Liverpool Liberal party leader Cllr Steve Radford called the claim "ludicrious" and "stereotypical" and slammed the council as "naive".
"The claim is incredibly insulting. There are people who like feeding pigeons without thinking of the consequences, but to call them mentally ill is just ludicrious," he said.
"Their statement is condescending and naive. We have seen problems with pigeon feeding but to sugest they have mental health problems is not only stereotyping but incrediblt offensive," he said.
a Liverpool council spokesperson defended the council saying that the survey was carried out about 5 years back and that it didn't mean that everybody who feeds pigeons falls into that category.
"The reference in the report relates to a survey carried out by the council about five years ago when it was considering whether to prosecute persistent pigeon feeders," a Liverpool council spokesperson said.
"It was found it would be inappropriate to prosecute many of the people involved because they had mental health issues.
"This of course is not to say that everybody who feeds pigeons falls into that category. What we try and do is educate people about the harmful effects feeding pigeons can have," the spokesperson added. (ANI)
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