April 10, 2008

Words from the Patron Saint

LONDON (AFP) - An animal protection group is investigating claims made by British band The Falls Mark E. Smith that he killed two endangered red squirrels and condones the deliberate running over of seagulls, it said Thursday.

The revered but unpredictable frontman of Manchester band The Fall said that he would not hesitate setting about a squirrel with a pair of hedge-clippers.

"Squirrels mean nothing to me. I killed a couple last weekend actually. They were eating my garden fence," Smith told Uncut magazine, although it was unclear whether he had confused the animal with their more prevalent American grey cousins.

The singer, whose group has gone through 50 different members and produced 27 albums in their career, also said he "wouldn't have a problem" with people purposefully driving over seagulls in their cars.

"The comments made by Mark E. Smith are extremely irresponsible and he has basically admitted to committing an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act by killing two red squirrels," the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said.

"These animals are highly protected and anyone killing, harming or taking red squirrels from the wild is liable to prosecution and can face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to 20,000 pounds. Likewise, running over gulls is also an offence, the group said.

"To suggest in a magazine read by youngsters that it is a good idea to harm wildlife is both extremely stupid and highly irresponsible."

Thanks, Dan

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