The down side of pigeon English

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The Independent Culture
There are three million pigeons in London. The Government licences a foodseller at Trafalgar Square to keep the tourists happy. Westminster Council, meanwhile, spends £50,000 a year cleaning up after the 1,000 pigeons that live in the square.

If any issue illustrates the stark contrast between pragmatism and sentimentality, then pigeon-feeding is it. QED's Pigeon Pie (9.30pm, BBC1), while jokily narrated by Alexei Sayle and backed by jolly music, makes gruesome viewing. Dozens of people empty plastic bags of breadcrumbs by a a park gate while the butcher, on whose premises the recipients roost, looks on in despair. Thousands of the birds hang about Tilbury docks, their droppings landing in the corn terminal: that's corn going into the food chain.

Lynn and Maggie Allen, meanwhile, run a pigeon sanctuary nurturing hundreds that might otherwise have died a natural death. Dr Chris Feare, meanwhile, takes us round a colonised empty hospital where corpses litter the ground and eggs hatch in ankle-deep piles of droppings, reeling off diseases affecting the human population.

The Allens are incensed that they've been refused charitable status. "Because of their bigoted attitude that pigeons are vermin we were denied it. Which is discrimination," Maggie says. Well, someone's got to pay for all that cleaning in Trafalgar Square.