Pecking order

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The Independent Online

If that's what the law says, then the law's an ass, Mr Bumble, the Beadle, said in Oliver Twist, and the current state of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, would bear him out.

If that's what the law says, then the law's an ass, Mr Bumble, the Beadle, said in Oliver Twist, and the current state of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, would bear him out. This declares that house sparrows, once Britain's most familiar birds but now in headlong decline, are pests to be killed at any time if they peck at your fruit or poo on your washing line. That there should still be open season on birds of such major conservation concern has been asinine indeed; in at last giving house sparrows legal protection, the Government has shown that, in small matters at least, it may claim credit for common sense.

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