Brussels offers the pink flamingo a drab future

PINK flamingos in captivity could turn a dirty grey if bureaucrats in Brussels have their way, a curator warned yesterday.

An EC draft directive from Brussels intends to ban the colour additive in the birds' feed - but will still allow it to be used to keep French sausages in the pink.

Neville Wilby, curator of Flamingo Land Zoo near Malton, North Yorkshire, home for 97 of the birds, has protested to his Euro MP, Edward McMillan- Scott. Mr Wilby says that without the additive in their feed, the flamingos will gradually turn a 'mucky grey'.

He wants to know why the colourant, Canthaxanthin, will be banned from processed feed for flamingos but why an EC dispensation will be granted for certain Continental regional foods - including Saucisses de Strasbourg, little pink sausages eaten in Alsace.

In the wild, flamingos eat shrimps to keep their feathers a natural pink, but shrimps are too expensive to give flamingos in captivity.

Mr McMillan-Scott said: 'I am making inquiries in Brussels. It does seem wrong to ban the additive for flamingos but continue to use it in sausages and other foods.'