WHAT an irresponsible and biased piece of journalism. I'm referring to the front page article inciting more hatred towards the ever persecuted seagull.
These beautiful and protected birds receive unending criticism and abuse from a large section of the public already, so why does the Journal feel the need to fuel an already ignorant and negative view held by so many?
A view clearly shared by Francesca Taffs, who approached this topic with clear intent to vilify the gulls. Otherwise why would she be seen in every photo with her chips held out on the wall beside her, inviting the gulls? Let's face it, it's not the most intelligent move when eating on a sea front, and proves that either Francesca has no sense, or that she was "creating" her own biased story.
Was it a slow news week, or is this what we should expect from the North Devon Journal? Should we be reading every article with scepticism and concern that the story within has been fabricated?
You will argue that you have balanced your report with Trevor Beer's defending article, but there is a huge difference between the front page and page 32. How many people will have bothered to turn to this, especially if already biased against gulls?
There was a very positive article on BBC Spotlight in the week from Newquay where the residents are campaigning for wheelie bins because they understand it's their responsibility to take temptation away from the gulls.
Perhaps the Journal could find a journalist with a bit more gumption to look at the problem from a more productive and intelligent angle, and educate people into being more responsible and respectful for our precious wildlife.
Why have we as a race become so arrogant that we expect to live our lives without the intrusion of the other species surrounding us?
If you don't want gulls near you, don't eat on a seafront. You do have a choice.
There have been some fabulous photos of the dolphins frequenting our shores of late, but these seem to be so much more socially acceptable than the gulls who, like us, fiercely protect their young, and, like swans, mate for life.
You can't pick and choose the cute and appealing from the noisy opportunist.
Please can we all use our heads and stop being so destructive?
Editor's note: The front page story in question carried a cross reference to the full report on P7. Here we directed readers not only to Trevor Beer's column elsewhere in the paper, but my own editor's comment which highlighted the public's responsibility. Seagulls are most definitely an issue for Ilfracombe. If this was not the case it would not have been discussed at council level.