SIR. I have been following the debate about the proposed cull of pigeons in Kingston with some interest.

While I don't often put pen to paper, I have found myself immensely irritated to see several ill-informed allegations, both in this current context and in that of the ongoing debate about the pigeons of Trafalgar Square, that pigeons somehow pose a disease risk to humans.

The truth is, in fact, quite the reverse.

Earlier this year, David Taylor BVMS, FRCVS, FZS, an internationally respected vet of 50 years' standing, in a report on feral pigeons, said this: "In 50 years professional work as a veterinary surgeon I cannot recall one case of a zoonosis in a human that was related to pigeons. On the other hand I know of, and have seen, examples of human disease related to contact with dogs, cats, cattle, monkeys, sheep, camels, budgies, parrots, cockatoos, aquarium fish and even dolphins, on many occasions."

In 2000, the Government's then Chief Veterinary Officer, instructed to advise whether Trafalgar Square's pigeons posed a threat to human health, was quite categorical in his assurance that they did not.

One might have thought the fact that children have fed the birds there for decades without coming to any harm made this self-evident. Indeed, pigeons are even resistant to avian flu - a trait they share, curiously enough, with emus.

By all means let's debate pigeons and their future in Kingston, but in doing so, let's stick to the facts rather than hysterical urban myth.

Holly Jenkins, Tolworth