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The Great Seagull Riposte

Editor-in-Chief Linden Grigg responds to Ms Bybel’s seagull defence

Comrades, it is high time that we acknowledged the very worst thing about St Andrews. That is, the seagull.

Their rise has gone unnoticed for years. Gone now are the days when these undesirables would harmlessly prowl the beaches and raid the council’s bins. They were weedy, tiny little things, because in the slow semesters of the nineties and early noughties all St Andrews had to offer on the gourmet front were fish carcasses and whatever the golfers threw away.

Now St Andrews is overrun by them. They have grown large feeding on the waste of our glorious town. Where before students lived on a healthy diet of three tins of baked beans a day, now meals are venerable feasts. It is difficult to point to one culprit, but I strongly suspect Domino’s personal two-topping pizza lunch deal (which I heartily recommend, and personally couldn’t do without). The “Enemies of the Town” — seagulls — are stealthily active by night also. The triple alliance of Dervish, Empire, and Shawarma House are surreptitiously granting aid to seagulls whilst we sleep, in the form of cheesy chips in polystyrene boxes. It is a terrible truth, but we must acknowledge their culpability in the growth in seagull numbers.

The threat these birds pose in large numbers is great and multi-faceted. The greatest of these is defecation. Though by wintertime we only get four hours of bright sunlight a day, the faecal matter on my window panes are proving to be an even greater impediment to natural light than the seasons themselves. We cannot expect to maintain mental wellbeing with faeces on our windows. Now that the gulls have evolved to grow larger, the volume of this faeces has also increased. Comrades, we must put an end to the Great Defecation.

Acts of aggression are not unknown among the seagull population, but are never officially reported. We must institute a reporting mechanism by which losses of food and/or property are reimbursed should they be stolen. Thievery of pastries should not be tolerated, not for any morsel. Seagulls are not above the law, though their wings and ability to fly may seem to posit them there. A Seagull Committee, affiliated with the Student Union and with access to the correct funds, can oversee reimbursements of this kind.

These undesirables are also a threat to the very reason for us congregating here: to study. Their loud, obnoxious calls continue to wake me up at a very reasonable time in the morning, and this puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Even on the quiet levels of the library, gull shrieks can be heard through earphones. We are not even able to protest, being on the quiet levels.

Luckily I have a solution to all these problems, and it is in a swift, merciless blow to the gull population. There will be a hunt, like the hunt in Uccello’s great painting, “The Hunt in the Forest”, but with order and success. We have allowed these parasitic birds free reign for too long, and now, with this death blow, we can once again not bother with the hassle of on-street gull bags.

It will start deep in the Badlands. Those who live there will don their academic gowns, or, alternatively, anything red, for seagulls are afraid of that colour. They will link arms and, making loud whooping noises, advance slowly towards the town centre. (Those familiar with traditional hunting techniques may recognise the role of “beater” in these actions).

Once across the Kinnessburn things may become difficult, because the gulls will be emboldened by the proximity to their traditional hunting grounds — West Sands — and the congregation of many other large seagulls. This should not deter us, and I propose at this stage to employ the services of the choirs of St Andrews, whose music will spur us on for this noble task.

St Salvator’s Quad will be our intended destination. From all corners, the seagulls will be herded in, and baited with a large pile of edible detritus left upon the lawn. Upon a signal (perhaps the ringing of the chapel bell), the University of St Andrews Clay Pigeon Shooting Club will emerge, dressed in Barbour jackets to avoid confusion, and pick off the horrible creatures one by one.

Animal rights activists, namely the seagull ones, will be up in arms about this, but I trust in the Clay Pigeon Shooting Club to dispatch the creatures painlessly, and, ultimately, I do not care. They don’t have to live with the seagulls, and they don’t know what it’s like.

Comrades, only in this way can we rid ourselves of the baleful shadow upon all our lives. The seagulls’ days in St Andrews are numbered.

Image: University of Pittsburg

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