Over the past few weeks, our legal department has been receiving reports about dead swallows in the parking garage of a mall in the center of Israel. Dozens of swallow nests have been destroyed and a greasy substance has been smeared on the pipes near the parking ceiling in order to stop the swallows from standing there.

Destroyed active nests and harming the swallows is forbidden per the wild animal protection law. When the nests are active, harming them also constitutes abuse per the animal protection law. Destroying the nests means killing the fledglings and embryos still inside the eggs. Those who smeared the grease say their actions were only meant to keep the swallows away, but the means they used are deadly to swallows and other birds. The substance they used is so sticky, it adheres to the bird’s body in even the slightest touch. Its weight damaged the bird’s balance and causes the feathers to stick together, so most birds that come in contact with the substance fall to the ground and wait there to their death of hunger and thirst, or they are run over/eaten. Keeping birds away using sticky, oily substances like grease constitutes severely harming the birds and it is illegal as it is a serious offence – animal abuse according to the animal protection law. The damage caused to the birds that suffer and die and unjust, according to the law.

The harm caused by swallows and other birds – i.e. bird feces – can be prevented in means that do not harm the birds, like installing light, temporary shelves to catch the bird droppings or completely sealing off the places where the birds stand. Harming pigeons inside city bounds is considered extermination, and cannot be done using unauthorized substances. Grease has never been approved as a means of extermination.

Like Grease, adhesive spray/gel to keep away pigeons, sold online or by some contractors – all harm birds illegally.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a local problem. As far as we know, other customers of the same company in other part of the country did nothing to remove the deadly substance smeared at their facilities – shopping centers, warehouses, industrial facilities etc. This is a nation-wide offense, not a local problem at the mall.

Despite the fact that local residents had asked the mall to remove the substance, the grease was only cleared away after we filed a law suit at the Tel-Aviv court.