ARE seagulls beautiful birds which should be protected or just "vicious flying rats" which should be exterminated?

Your answer to that question will probably depend on whether you've ever been defecated on by a seagull, had one try to attack you or steal your food, been woken up at 5am by their incessant squawking or been left with a faeces-splatted car after parking near a tree or roof where they perch.

No doubt Councillor Alan Amos, who wants a cull of the gulls in Worcester, has been the victim of one or more of the above misfortunes and has heard tales of the woes of others, prompting his call for action.

Yes, seagulls are incredibly irritating, but does that justify killing them en masse? Many people think not and say that such a cull would be cruel, and you can see their point; these are living creatures, after all.

But the birds do genuinely cause a risk to public health due to their tendency to dive-bomb people, aggressively steal food and poo all over.

Cllr Amos is right: we need to take action to reduce the number of gulls in our city.