A NATIONAL convenience food company has been accused of cashing in on 'wildlife massacre' by allowing one of their stores to sell Squirrel meat. Europe's largest campaigning group Viva!, say Budgens are supporting the barbaric and needless 'cull' of thousands of grey Squirrels across the UK, alongside the cruel and needless fashion of eating 'wild meat', by permitting the independently owned branch in Crouch End, North London, to sell the animal. Juliet Gellatley, Viva! founder & director and zoologist, says: “ 'Culls' of thousands of grey squirrels by so-called 'conservation groups' to boost populations of red squirrels are irrational, inhumane and destined to fail, so it is very sad that Budgens are allowing profit to be made from wildlife massacre. Viva! say across the UK the animals are being killed using a variety of barbaric but legal methods, including being clubbed to death and poisoned with warfarin, which causes the animals to bleed to death over several days. “And aside from this cruelty, research has shown that squirrel culls are destined to fail. Rapid recolonisation and an increase in reproductive rates compensate for losses made by culling, “If this store is attempting to stand out from the crowd by selling squirrel, the only message they are giving out is that they are happy to have the blood of a beautiful wild animal on their hands for the sake of a few quid, added Juliet. Actress and Viva! patron, Jenny Seagrove, has also spoken out against the sales. She says: “It is unbelievable that our wild grey squirrels are now being killed and packaged up for sale in such high street stores. Anyone who cares about wildlife, as I do, should be appalled at Budgens for allowing this. It seems that no animal is to be spared falling victim to such companies' marketing ploys. What gruesome product will be next to grace our food isles' - black bird, field mouse or mole' ENDS Viva! recently launched a boycott of Prince Charles' Duchy Originals range, in protest at this campaign to eradicate grey squirrels from Cornwall, so that captive-bred red squirrels can be introduced instead. • Native to North America, the grey squirrel was brought to Victorian Britain as an ornamental species by the aristocracy. Today, these highly intelligent and adaptable animals can be seen in woodlands, parks and gardens across the country. • The grey squirrel is a figure of hatred among groups with shooting or forestry interests, and certain 'conservationists' who believe that the mass killing of greys is justifiable in their quest to boost the number of red squirrels. • Ironically, the charges currently laid against grey squirrels - that they damage trees and eat birds' eggs - were once used as justifications to kill hundreds of thousands of red squirrels. But fashions have changed, and now protecting the once-loathed red squirrel is another reason given for killing the grey. • Grey squirrels are killed using a variety of barbaric but legal methods, including being clubbed to death and poisoned with warfarin, which causes the animals to bleed to death over several days. • Red squirrel numbers can be boosted in a number of ways without harming the grey squirrel, including establishing them on islands, changing tree planting patterns and offering supplementary feeding. More information: • For more information or to arrange an interview, call press officer Helen Rossiter or Juliet Gellatley on 0117 944 1000. • Images of squirrels in the wild are available on request.