Don’t feed the birds!

Venice, Italy, which outlawed people bringing food to eat in St. Mark’s Square last May, is going a step further this spring by stopping vendors from selling corn from carts set up in the square, according to a report in Corriere della Serra.

The report in the Milan daily said the city has decided to make it illegal to feed the pigeons, which are often more numerous than tourists in the famous square. City officials have said for years that the birds contribute to the decay of buildings and monuments and pose a potential health risk.

But many of the 19 vendors who have licenses to sell the feed have objected and have substantial support in the local community. An Italian court sided with the city, the report said, but indicated that the vendors should be compensated for the loss of their licenses. City officials have been wrangling over whether to allow the vendors to sell souvenirs instead — which some claim isn’t good enough — or take away their movable carts entirely.

Numerous reports by various Italian media outlets online didn’t address what kind of punishments that people who violate the regulations will face. It appears that those dining outside at the numerous cafes in the square also are violating the law if they decide to share some of their meals with the birds.

Feeding pigeons had already been illegal in other areas of the city. A report from the Virglio news service estimated that 110,000 pigeons live around the square.

Valentina Lehman provided translation for this report.

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