Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 31, 2016

A Licence To Kill

Natural England naturalengland has issued a licence to kill up to ten buzzards “to prevent serious damage to young pheasants”. Natural England has NOT issued a licence to kill up to ten “Hooray Henrys” dressed in tweeds who shoot pheasants!
Here is their statement: 29 July 2016
Natural England issued a licence last night permitting the control of up to 10 buzzards to prevent serious damage to young pheasants.
The licence is time-limited with stringent conditions and is based on the law, policy and best available evidence. It follows rigorous assessment after other methods had been tried unsuccessfully over a 5-year period.
It is stipulated that the licence must be used in combination with non-lethal measures and only on buzzards in and immediately around the animal pens – not on passing birds. These conditions are designed to make the licensed activity both proportionate and effective and we will continue to work with the applicant to assess this.
Killing wild birds without a licence from Natural England is illegal.
In 2014 Natural England/DEFRA refused to issue a licence to kill buzzards to protect pheasants. This time, Natural England/DEFRA have decided to issue a licence to kill buzzards, presumably based on the findings of last year’s Judicial Review which ruled that Natural England’s/DEFRA’s decision to refuse a buzzard-killing licence the previous year was unlawful.

Natural England’s statement about this year’s buzzard-killing licence lacks transparency and detail. It is assumed (but it is only an assumption at this stage) that this licence has been issued to the same gamekeeper in Northumberland who has been applying for licences since 2012, with the support of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.

We urge you to voice your opposition by emailing Natural England and DEFRA (because Natural England is operating under guidance from DEFRA). We know, according to 2011 figures, that over 50 MILLION non-native gamebirds (pheasants, red-legged partridge) are released into the countryside EVERY YEAR, so that those in the game-shooting industry can shoot them for fun. We also know that the buzzard is a native, protected species, still recovering (in some areas) from decades of illegal persecution. We also know that the game-shooting industry relies on criminality (the illegal killing of raptors) in order to provide for excessively large numbers of gamebirds to be shot. For fun buzzard.
Emails to Natural England:
Emails to Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Environment:

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