AT the end of October, through the Invasive Alien Species Order 2019, the Government intends to make it illegal for vets and rescue organisations to rehabilitate and release grey squirrels.

If this draconian act should become law, these unfortunate animals will either be turned away or euthanised.

To deny these animals help when they need it is downright cruel. Grey squirrels are already persecuted by so-called conservationists who are allowed to cull them en masse by putting them into sacks and bludgeoning them with blows to the head.

There is a lot of hypocrisy, prejudice and flawed science surrounding the grey squirrel. They were introduced to the UK in the mid 19th Century, not long before reds were killed in their thousands by red squirrel killing clubs. The reds we have now are reintroduced from Scandinavia.

The biggest killers of both reds and greys are road traffic accidents and loss of habitat, both of which are the fault of humans and not the unfortunate grey.

It is these issues which need to be urgently addressed. Reds prefer coniferous woods, greys prefer deciduous, and both habitats are being wiped out due to our indiscriminate building.

As for squirrel pox – yes, red squirrels are susceptible to it, but there is evidence that they are building up immunity.

There is a petition which aims to make grey squirrel rescue exempt from the Order, and I urge readers who are concerned about these animals to sign it:

Tracy Battensby, North Yorkshire