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Why I'm launching Brighton's Seagull Appreciation Society
It's official – we are a county of animal lovers. Dogs, cats, reptiles and pigs all have been rehomed thanks to The Argus Give a Pet a Home campaign.
Brighton and Hove has even been named the dog capital of the country.
So, why, oh why, is there still such hatred towards the most important animal in the city – the seagull.
Before you screw up the paper or chuck something at the computer screen in angst, let me explain.
Yes, seagulls are noisy, occasionally vicious and prone to steal your fish and chips while you walk down the Palace Pier .
They are also extremely predatorial and love tucking into a rubbish bag, timing their swoops ten minutes before the bin men arrive.
But, despite all of this, they are an essential part of Sussex society.
It’s what makes our county different, it’s part of what sets Brighton and Hove apart.
This is because the south coast attracts a better class of seagull. In many ways, they mirror humans.
I like to think that the seafront is prime seagull real estate – the place where the successful go to live and the young go to explore the world.
All those birds swooping down to steal a chip, well that’s just youthful bravado – like climbing trees or doing a wheelie on a bike.
As you move inland, then you start to come across those who are slightly older, looking for a bit more of a quiet life and starting to settle down.
I’m sure if you look closely, there is the seagull equivalent of the “yummy mummy” brigade out Hove way.
But despite their similarities, these fine birds are massively unappreciated.
We have all been guilty of throwing a few cusses at the direction of one as it lands on a freshly-cleaned car.
I will openly admit this does turn a bit more aggressive when a young mother bird is constantly squawking at 4.30am in the morning outside my bedroom window.
But this is all part of the attraction – seagulls are a thing to unite around, a topic of reliable conversation which you know everyone can get involved in.
Britain has the weather, Brighton and Hove has the seagull. It’s the animal we love to hate.
Every visitor complains about them, every resident has a story to tell about them.
They are an essential element of living in the city and without them, life would be a lot more quiet and boring. Plus a new nickname would have to be found for Brighton and Hove Albion.
So, from today I propose to start a Seagull Appreciation Society and champion the rights of our city’s favourite animal.
I do not expect a statue or an annual celebration, just a little bit of respect for the humble seagull.
Who is with me? I expect the majority of you are not.