Asda shoppers ‘tremble with anger’ over anti-bird nets – while others vow to boycott the store

An Asda shopper looking for some groceries was horrified at the sight of a dead pigeon caught in a bird netting outside his local store and has urged the company to take it down

The outside of an ASDA store in Bridgwater with netting installed outside
Bird deterrent nets are not currently illegal in the UK but a number of people consider them unethical

An animal lover claims to have been left “trembling with anger” after a visit to his local ASDA, where he was greeted by the sight of a dead pigeon caught in a bird protection net.

Author and wildlife photographer Carl Bovis, whose own work focuses primarily on birds, says he spotted the net outside an ASDA store in the town of Bridgwater, Somerset.

Bovis, who wrote wildlife book 100 Birds, has urged the company to “take the B****y net down”, sparking the currently trending Twitter hashtag #TakeItDown in the UK.

Many others were appalled at the sight of the “disgusting” mesh, and some Asda shoppers even vowed to spend their money elsewhere from now on.

A number of people have called on ASDA to dismantle the networks


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Bovis, who lives in Somerset Levels, told The Mirror: “As I walked towards the entrance to the store I noticed that there was a huge amount of netting covering the entire roof.

“I saw a herring gull on the net, it seemed to be dozing and I wasn’t sure if it was being caught or not. I went back to my car to get my camera with the zoom lens attached. I’m a wildlife photographer, so I always have my camera with me, just in case.

“I took a picture of the seagull and then I noticed what looked suspiciously like an entangled bird a little further back on the web. In fact, when I looked through my camera and zoomed in to take a picture, I saw that it was a bird, a dove, it was entangled, and it was dead too!

“I was so angry and distraught when I saw this poor bird that I literally shook and had a hard time focusing the camera to take a picture.”

Bovis regards bird deterrent nets as ‘cruel practice’


Bovis immediately took to Twitter with his snaps, believing it was his best chance to raise awareness and remove the net.

His tweet shocked nature lovers far and wide, with Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin both retweeting his request for Asda to remove the mesh.

Bovis continued: “Bird nets are a cruel practice, I’ve always known this because I’ve followed similar stories in the past, birds can and do die in it, a long, drawn out death for them.

“Recently a peregrine falcon had to be rescued from a net at the University of Leeds and during the rescue a dead peregrine falcon was found under the net.

“I don’t have all the answers for keeping birds off rooftops, but I do know that the current fad of netting everything, while not currently illegal, is both unethical, ineffective and dangerous. Let nature be nature, we are losing too much wildlife as is.”

Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin both retweeted photos of Bovis


Nick Bruce-White, RSPB Operations Director for Southern England said: “We are dismayed at Asda’s use of nets in their Bridgwater store and we share the horror of all who see the photos of what appear to be dead and trapped birds.

“We have lost 38 million birds in the UK over the last 50 years and must do everything we can to reverse that decline. We can’t keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces or demand that it fit into our plans.

“If such action is deemed essential, we would urge Asda to explore alternatives that pose a lower risk to wildlife. Enveloping entire buildings in dangerous webs can never be the answer.”

According to the guidelines of RSPCA, It is ‘vital’ to ensure that all bird control netting is properly installed and well maintained.

Improper installation or damage can result in wild birds being trapped in gaps, putting them at risk of dying from injury or starvation.

An Asda spokesman issued the following statement: “The net was installed to protect wildlife following several incidents of birds being injured by the machinery on the store’s roof.

“Since installation 18 months ago we have seen a significant decrease in these cases and the RSPCA did not raise any concerns during their recent visit to our Bridgwater store.”

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