A WOMAN has slammed Southend Hospital for its use of cages to trap and kill pigeons in full view of wards.

The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, said she was with her critically ill grandmother on the Edmund Stone ward when she noticed the problem after looking out the window.

The 52-year-old said: “Outside the window, there’s these horrible traps and you can see dead and dying pigeons.

“They are like rectangular cages like the kind used to rescue cats and there was some netting and birds were caught in the netting - it just looked horrible.

“I am a vegetarian and an animal lover and when I am already feeling emotional with my gran, the last thing I want to see is animals suffering and dying.

“There could be children visiting relatives – anybody could see it and people visiting sick relatives don’t want to be thinking about death. It’s disgusting.

“I accept that they might cause a problem but the hospital needs to deal with it in a more discreet and humane way.”

The Echo has previously reported concern over the hospital’s practises to deter pigeons which they claim are a health hazard and in 2016, 900 people signed a petition urging them to use different methods. Hospital director John Henry, said: “The trust takes seriously the concerns raised by patients’ relatives and does not wish to cause distress. We have spoken with our pest control contractor, who has reassured us that all traps are positioned out of sight.

“High numbers of pigeons create a large amount of waste which presents a potential danger to health.

“We have invested in deterrents, such as netting, spiking on window ledges or the periodic use of a bird scarer, to keep feral pigeons away from premises as far as reasonably practicable.

“Where non-lethal methods cause additional problems or become ineffective, the feral pigeon population is controlled via cage trapping and for this service the trust employs a licensed pest control company.

“Unfortunately, due to pigeons’ natural homing instinct the pigeons cannot be removed from site and released as they will return.

“All work in relation to control of feral pigeons is undertaken in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Animal Welfare Act 2006.”

It is understood the trapped pigeons then have their necks broken.