Norwich cathedral, it seems, is not a good place to be a pigeon.
According to a report in The Times (London), last week a bird was spotted trapped in the rafters of the cathedral’s refectory. The cathedral quickly notified a sniper and ‘a pigeon was shot dead in full view of diners’.
A member of the public reported the incident and a furore has ensued. Animal rights campaigners have called the incident a ‘crime against wildlife’ - a line repeated by John Davison, a spokesman for Pigeon Campaigns Group UK, who said: ‘we are absolutely disgusted that a place of worship such as Norwich Cathedral could be responsible for such a heinous crime against our wildlife.’ The Times suggests sensitive visitors (drawn by the thought of the 1000 roof bosses carved into the Cathedral’s stone ceiling), ‘should probably avoid the 900-year old building until its pest control measures have been dragged out of the Dark Ages’.
Despite the inevitable public enquiry, Norwich does not seem likely to revoke its zero tolerance views on airborne vermin. The city has 2,500 pigeons. Over the past two years, concerns have been raised about the growth in numbers and families have been told they could face action if Norwich City Council catches them feeding birds.
But in the event of bird flu pandemic, I know where I want to be - sitting under Jesus, right next to the rifleman, second pew from the left.