The Cabinet’s decision to deny my motion on freeing the Chalkwell Park Four (peafowl) is not just a disappointment to me; it is a bitter blow for all who champion animal rights in Southend-on-Sea. If they could but express an opinion I have no doubt that the peafowl would also express disgust with their continued incarceration.
The ruling Conservative administration justify their decision on the grounds that the peafowl have been bred in captivity; and yet I have not called for their release into the wild, only for a more suitable (and humane) home.
Further, the administration claim “they are regularly fed and watered, breeding and show no signs of distress and are in good health”. This is at variance with the reality of dead chick last summer, and obvious signs of neglect. Also, these magnificent birds are subject to torment by visitors and their pets. Being in such a small enclosure they are unable to avoid the attention of those who whether by accident or design find themselves teasing these birds.
It is a bad day for animal welfare in Southend-on-Sea. I cannot give up on this because cruelty will not just go away, it must be forced out. Attitudes must change in the Council chamber, and I hope that those who value animal welfare will consider very carefully when voting in May’s local elections.