Worse Than We Thought: Barn Owls, Swallows, Goldfinches, House Martins, Chaffinches, Coots.... 65 Species On Natural England's Death List
It's worse than we thought....
More than 70,000 birds spanning 65 species on Natural England Death List
According to Natural England, Barn Owls, Swallows and House Martins pose a risk to public health.
Yes, Natural England have been issuing licences to kill birds such as these iconic and treasured species, in the interests of 'health and safety'.
As part of my ongoing campaign aimed at investigating, overhauling and restructuring Natural England, I've obtained some terribly shocking statistics for licences that they issued between 2014 and 2018.
More than 70,000 birds spanning 65 species appear on the list which details the licences issued by Natural England, officially permitting the extermination of our native and migratory birds in vast numbers.
Swallows, House Martins, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and even Swans...
While you recover from reeling at that figure, wait till you see just which species Natural England permitted licencees to kill. The list includes Swallow, House Martin, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Mallard and even two species of Swan.
And many many more.
Brace yourselves, it is a truly awful catalogue of our most cherished species, all of which are on the kill list of Natural England.
Barn owl, Barnacle Goose, Bewick's Swan, Black Cap, Blackbird, Black-headed Gull
Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Bullfinch, Canada Goose, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit
Common Buzzard, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Crow, Curlew, Dunnock
Egyptian Goose, Fan tailed Dove, Feral Pigeon, Golden Plover, Goldfinch, Goosanders
Great black-backed Gull, Great Tit, Green Finch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose
Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel
Lesser black-backed Gull, Linnet, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Monk Parakeet
Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink-footed Goose
Raven, Red Kite, Red-breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Ruddy Duck
Skylark, Starling, Stock Dove, Swallow, Treecreeper, Wigeon, Willow Warbler
The information is vast and complex, I'm still wading through statistics which make for depressing reading. It seems that Natural England have been sanctioning the extermination of our bird life in huge numbers for years - and, one might suggest, for vague and spurious reasons. Whether it is to protect the fishing or farming industries or to 'preserve public health and safety', the whole system seems to be shambolic, mystifying and above all, shockingly brutal.
It's hard to take it all in. So, allow me to select a few species and tell you the reasons that Natural England decided it was acceptable to exterminate them.
Coot : 548 to preserve public health or safety / falconry aviculture.
Cormorants : Several thousand to prevent damage to fisheries.
Great Black Backed Gull : More than a thousand for scientific research and preserving fauna.
Greylag Goose : Several thousand for damage to livestock and foodstuffs for livestock.
Corvids (including Rooks and Jackdaws) : More than 2,500, including 1000 Crows
House Sparrows : Hundreds allowed to be shot to 'preserve public health'.
Swallows and House Martins were permitted to be killed, injured or taken 'by hand' to preserve public health or safety.
Also their nests and eggs were permitted to be destroyed for similar reasons.
Even 4 Barn Owls were permitted to be slaughtered ('by hand') in Dorset for being a threat to public safety.
The list goes on - and on.
If there is a glimmer of hope coming out of these awful revelations, then it is that 100,000 people have signed the petition to stop this mass killing of English birds.
We are also getting the support of some respected members of parliament and one prominent MP has tabled a written question to Environment Secretary.
I've also been in touch with new chief in waiting of Natural England, asking him to pledge his own commitment to overhaul the agency, making it more transparent and accountable to the public.
Meanwhile I have requested a meeting with Environment Secretary Michael Gove, though so far I have had no response.
It is vital that we keep on pushing our petition, especially at this stage where we are getting members of parliament behind us, only public pressure can stop Natural England from issuing these licences, bring about more transparency in their terrible licensing system and make them answerable to us, the British public.
Thanks for all your amazing support, please keep sharing this, we can and will make a difference.
Sign the petition HERE
"We have to shift attitudes from promoting extermination and destruction to promoting nurture and preservation. Life is fragile."
Today I heard an interview with a group of learned scientists who issued a warning to the world that we are on the brink of environmental catastrophe.
Not 'news' really.
They announced that saving the planet is not just about addressing climate change or plastic waste or over-fishing. It's about everything. Some of us knew that all along, but it can take science a little while to catch up with those who have an empathy for the natural world around them. I'm sorry if that sounds incredibly smug but I do believe that simple truths are often missed in the quest for hard facts and figures. It doesn't necessarily take a scientist to highlight these truths, though at least when backed by science more people seem to listen.
In spite of the message being shared widely, it will take a whole lot of effort to persuade the disconnected majority that nature, the planet - and we - are in trouble.
Detached from nature
And that trouble began when the human race became detached from nature. How did that happen? It's hard to say but it coincided with the arrival of technology and the fashion for greed. The 'must have' society, that has flourished really quite recently, expects instant indulgence at any cost.
That is at odds with the natural order of things, nature provides enough but cannot hope to satisfy the demand of those who want too much. For those people, nature seems to be incidental and disconnected from their lives. This detachment quickly turns into indifference towards the the natural world and then people begin to forget the basic laws of cause and effect.
Intolerance of nature
Now, tragically, that initial indifference towards nature has tipped into intolerance. An intolerance of nature means that for many people nature has become an obstacle to progress. And this is why we see cruelty towards wildlife and destruction of its habitat to make way for more human infrastructure. If that continues, undoubtedly there will be no way back from the brink. Humankind will survive for a while, mostly ignorant of our imminent demise, while life around us perishes at an alarming rate. We are already seeing it now in the devastating population declines of insects and the extinction of many species. Then it will be our turn of course because we are an integral part of nature - whether we choose to recognise that or not.
Is disconnection from nature a disease?
I recently read a very illuminating article by the renowned author Dr Steve Taylor in which he puts forward a theory that this disconnection from nature is in fact a disease, a type of psychosis. He calls it ecopsychopathy. "On an immediate level, ecopsychopathy results in a degradation of our living environment which causes dislocation and unease," he says, "on a more macrocosmic level, ecopsychopathy threatens the survival of the human race. The end point of our exploitative and manipulative attitude towards the natural world is surely the complete disruption of the fragile eco-systems on which our life depends. This disruption is underway already, resulting in the mass extinction of other species.... and if it isn’t checked, human life will become more and more challenging, until we suffer cataclysmic consequences."
It is a real shocker isn't it? Probably because it rings, loudly, the bells of truth.
Being kind to life is the key to our survival
This 'impending doom' is what compels me to write about the problem as I see it.
This is why, in my very small way, I campaign against the cruelty that we, as human beings, inflict on wildlife through our disconnection with nature and the widespread acceptance of killing any creature that interferes with our desire to put what we want above all else.
For me, being aware of the fragility of life and being kind to that life is the key to our own survival.
This is why preservation of life, even a small individual life - no, especially a small individual life - must be at the centre of all that we do.
The human obsession with 'managing' and 'controlling' wildlife is clumsy and terribly cruel, causing imbalance while extinguishing life.
We have to shift attitudes from promoting extermination and destruction to promoting nurture and preservation.
Life is fragile.
Dr Taylor is a 'glass half full' kind of chap, he sees a 'cure' for the unsettling disconnection many have with nature. "Perhaps," he says, "we are beginning to remember something that other peoples have always known: that we don’t live in the world, we are part of it."
I hope he's right. But time is running out.
We must, right now, realise we are indeed part of the world we live in, part of the whole fragile, delicate web of existence.
We need to repair the damage, to nurture the life.
We need to be kind.
"Kindness, I've discovered, is everything in life"
Isaac Bashevis Singer
"The utterly shameful badger cull is an example of a regulatory body that has lost its marbles...."
My recent piece about the RSPB culling animals in the name of conservation got many people talking.
I've been reading the comments that people have posted across social media and on my blog, and I can certainly see that the subject matter polarises opinion.
Healthy debate is good but, like me, many of you see this type of wildlife 'control' as an excuse to kill animals and sometimes perhaps even as a cover for those who actively enjoy hunting.
There seems to be a cold and clinical approach from many of those who support this type of heavily organised 'management' of nature.
Questioning the competence of those who carry out the killing....
I'm not alone in feeling uncomfortable that it is overseen and regulated by a handful of officially sanctioned agencies, some of which have huge financial resources behind them - though perhaps less generous reserves of human-kindness. Can government sponsored agencies be trusted with conserving and protecting our natural resources? I think not. They will have agendas, they are bound to.
We also find ourselves questioning the methods of 'control' and indeed the competence of those tasked with carrying out the killing.
One of those commenting on my blog post, who identifies as a conservationist, referred to animals such as deer, foxes, ravens etc. as 'target organisms', and she suggested that there is no difference between 'bashing and killing bracken' and killing animals.
I found that quite chilling.
Once someone becomes detached from the idea that animals can feel and think, I suppose it is possible to view their extermination as nothing more than 'bashing and killing bracken'. But that's a real problem.
Take the slaughtering of thousands of geese on the Island of Islay, which has been the subject of much controversy, especially after video footage emerged of the Scottish Natural Heritage approved cull. The video showed a startlingly clumsy effort to shoot the geese which left many of them badly injured. The result was that many were cruelly clubbed to death by the (quote) 'experienced professional marksmen' employed by SNH.
Is that really the best, most humane method of conservation we have in the enlightened 21st century?
Based on that example, can we ask whether today's conservation methods are any more humane than those used to club fur seals to death?
And it seems that such blundering killing methods are not confined to geese.
BASC advice on grey squirrels:
empty into a sack and dispatch through a swift, heavy blow to the head.
With new laws about to come into force at the end of next month, making it illegal to rescue and release 'invasive' species, advice from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation suggests that captured grey squirrels should be "emptied into a sack and ...dispatched through a swift, heavy blow to the head".
Imagine the suffering at the hands of inexperienced would-be 'conservationists'....
Social media betrays culture of killing among local 'conservationists'
Take a look at the shocking comments I found on a woodland owners facebook group. Someone had posted about the subject of grey squirrels.
The comments that follow the post are breathtakingly savage and illustrate that if we are not careful, conservation can end up in the hands of those who actually revel in the killing of animals - they make no secret of the fact that they take great pleasure in shooting wildlife.
Here's a typical exchange:
"328 culled in my woods" boasted one member.
This delighted another, "you genocidal murdering psychopath"
To which the squirrel culling 'conservationist' replied, "I know, lol".
Another suggested mixing plaster of Paris with their food...
"How about squirrel food mixed with plaster of Paris? Have some nice little statues"
Even if in jest, is that funny?
These are not just idiots, they are dangerous idiots - and my fear is that they might be typical of those tasked by our national agencies (Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB et al) with 'managing' (ie. exterminating) our wildlife.
Smug and disconnected micro-management of our countryside
If we want to see a carefully managed and controlled environment then we should pay a visit to the zoo, but what we surely don't want is our countryside micro managed by officials sitting at desks in city centre offices, issuing licences to those with dubious intentions and questionable competence, to eradicate specific species based on vague assumptions. It's smug and disconnected from the natural world for which they purport to care.
The utterly shameful badger cull is an example of a callous decision by a regulatory body that has lost its marbles.
Badgers are being scapegoated for the intensive farming that is spreading disease.
Thousands of geese are killed to protect farming interests.
Mountain hares, currently at 1% of their 1950's population, are still being massacred to protect the livelihoods of gamekeepers.
Foxes are labelled a 'pest' even though the majority of young people in this country have never even seen one - and the hunts continue to kill them even though it is against the law.
And, as I've reported, licences are issued to exterminate songbirds because it is easier to kill them than to deter them from getting in the way of human activity.
Is this conservation in the 21st century?
The result of this clinically managed conservation will be an unnatural countryside, inhabited by carefully chosen and 'controlled' species and without the 'pests' that get in the way of the plan.
Support independent wildlife rescues - compassion without discrimination
Time perhaps to lend our support to the many tiny independent wildlife rescues run by dedicated volunteers. They might struggle for funding but they have boundless reserves of kindness and compassion for all of our wildlife.
Humans have always destroyed habitat and persecuted wildlife - and have often tried to justify it under the banner of conservation.
Nothing has changed.
The least we can do is treat any animal, that somehow manages to coexist with us, with kindness and compassion.
And I don't care if I'm labelled a 'deluded townie', or if I'm accused of 'not understanding country ways' - at least I have enough empathy with nature to see that all life is fragile and precious enough to be worth conserving and preserving.
Whatever species it is.
The RSPB has killed more than 8000 animals* in the name of conservation over a five year period.
1715 Crows, 1760 Foxes, 508 Fallow Deer, 160 Muntjac Deer, 2008 Red Deer, 1734 Roe Deer, 906 Sika Deer.......
RSPB "working with Natural England"
After I broke the news of the Natural England bird killing licences, many of my readers contacted the RSPB for reassurance and advice. To my surprise, and theirs, it wasn't forthcoming. The Society issued a monotone acknowledgement without offering any opinion. They said at the time "we are aware of this matter and are trying to find out further detail. The RSPB is currently in the process of working with Natural England on the licensing process to make sure it is fit for purpose."
And that was about it. No opinion, no condemnation or disapproval. I wondered why.
It didn't take long to realise that the RSPB could hardly criticise their friends at Natural England when they themselves were killing our wildlife - including birds - for, in their words, "both conservation and other reasons".
More than 8000 animals killed by RSPB in five years
The RSPB are, at least, more forthcoming with their figures - unlike Natural England who seem very unwilling to release theirs - and the statistics are shocking.
Between 2012 and 2017 the RSPB, and their contractors, killed approximately*:-
1715 Crows - (this figure includes those killed using Larsen traps, a system described by Animal Aid as 'particularly brutal'.)
508 Fallow Deer
160 Muntjac Deer
2008 Red Deer
1734 Roe Deer
906 Sika Deer
'Unrecorded' number Rabbits
Some of the numbers appear to be a little vague, even using the RSPB's own figures. In their 2015/16 report they say that 28 foxes (out of several hundred foxes they killed at the time) were exterminated 'to protect neighbours' interests' (whatever that means) but these figures appear to be omitted entirely from the following year's statistics.
They also killed an unspecified number of rabbits.
Other wildlife on the list of animals the RSPB and their contractors killed include feral goats and 'large gulls' though I couldn't find anywhere details of which species the gulls were, which suggests, worryingly, that perhaps the RSPB themselves didn't know.....
RSPB approach to conservation has made people uncomfortable...
The RSPB earnestly maintain that they will try to implement a non-lethal solution to deal with animals that they classify as 'predators'. The RSPB's Conservation Director Martin Harper states that "The RSPB’s approach to any type of predator control means that we first seek evidence of a problem, check whether there is a non-lethal solution and if so implement that. In many cases this does the job needed."
The fact that they couldn't catch a few feral goats for relocation, or find a 'non-lethal solution' to dealing with the thousands of crows and foxes that they exterminated, suggests to me that the RSPB need to take another look at their methods of 'predator control'.
It all appears to be a bit Laurel and Hardy.
The RSPB's practice of killing one species to protect another seems to have made many people uncomfortable; even among their members there has been concern, some have apparently been quitting the Society over what they see as a clumsy and unkind approach to 'conservation'.
All of which might explain why they were less than critical of Natural England over the licences to kill wild birds.
The good news is that no badgers appear on the RSPB kill list and very few squirrels.
Oh but then again, Natural England are handling those particular culls very enthusiastically....
It's only human intervention that created imbalance in our countryside.
If we don't start treating all of our remaining wildlife with compassion and respect then we will doubtless lose some of our most iconic species. Foxes, Crows, Rabbits - they are not pests, they are our natural heritage. Native or introduced, they belong to all of us and we don't necessarily want their survival decided by the RSPB, Natural England or anyone else.
* statistics have been collated from RSPB published figures. The author has attempted to reference them as accurately as possible from the source material.
"Marketing the red as a 'national treasure' and the grey as a 'pest' merely transfers the label from one innocent species to another when all along the real problem, as usual, has been human interference in nature...."
A little while ago I added my name to a petition. It calls on the British government to amend a new law that will criminalise wildlife rescuers who rehabilitate grey squirrels.
From March, under new regulations, it will be illegal to release rescued greys back into the wild - they will have to be kept in controlled captivity under strict licencing - or exterminated. The licencing criteria are not clear at this point. What is clear is that the government has labelled the grey squirrel as a pest that needs to be 'managed'.
Whatever your opinion on grey squirrels, surely intervening to help any animal in distress amounts to a simple matter of compassion. To save a life is something that most of us find an instinctively kind and correct thing to do.
So it was with dismay that I read a statement, issued yesterday by the government's environmental department DEFRA, in response to the 30,000+ people who have already signed the petition.
Cold-hearted and frosty statement
The words are so cold-hearted that they might have been written by a machine. Such a lack of compassion from the people tasked with protecting nature fills me with dismay.
I quote from their frosty response here.
"....the grey squirrel, will be managed through “eradication, population control or containment” measures."
I've come to view that oft used term 'managed' as really quite sinister. They 'manage' badgers, rabbits, geese, ravens and any number of other species too. And we see their numbers declining. One might just as well replace 'manage' entirely with 'eradicate'. One justification given for removing grey squirrels is that they are invasive and are responsible for the decline in our native reds. That doesn't really hold water. The truth is that the demise of the red squirrel is almost entirely due to human persecution and decimation of its habitat.
102,900 RED squirrels massacred by hunters
During the early part of the 20th century, gamekeepers and others viewed red squirrels as pests and a bounty was offered on their tails. In Scotland alone, between 1903 and 1946, 102,900 red squirrels were slaughtered.
Now that memories of this mass killing of red squirrels have disappeared into the murky past, our newly found concern for the survival of the species has come too late - and along with a scapegoat, the grey squirrel. Marketing the red as a 'national treasure' and the grey as a 'pest' merely transfers the label from one innocent species to another when all along the real problem, as usual, has been human interference in nature.
The new legislation will potentially give those who get their thrills from killing wild animals the green light to go and massacre squirrels again, this time greys instead of reds - with an official blessing from the government.
How can that be right?
Ancient woodlands destroyed - not by grey squirrels but by HS2
DEFRA's statement earnestly informs us that the government is deeply concerned over the future of our ancient woodlands. "Grey squirrels also cause damage to our broad-leaved and coniferous woodlands, with costs estimated at between £6 and £10 million per annum in Great Britain."
No mention though of the 50 or more ancient woodlands that the government are willfully and recklessly destroying, completely and permanently, by building the new high speed railway HS2 right through them - and at a cost of 100 billion pounds.
A bit of perspective - and honesty - is needed here I think; it actually seems that the 'problem' of squirrels destroying our woodlands is really quite insignificant compared to the damage caused to our woodlands by the government decision makers themselves.
Here's another quote from the DEFRA statement. "Invasive species, including the grey squirrel, challenge the survival of our rarest species and damage some of our most sensitive ecosystems". We already know the red squirrel's demise is primarily down to people and not grey squirrels and that the government itself is more of a threat to our woodlands than grey squirrels could ever be; but what of the heartfelt concern over the 'survival of our rarest species'? Well I might take that more seriously had it not emanated from the same government departments behind the issuing of licences to shoot red and amber listed birds, including wrens, skylarks and robins.
It all feels very contradictory doesn't it?
Reluctance to engage with concerned public
I've been campaigning to stop that government sanctioned killing of our wild birds, the petition is now at 91,000+ signatures, but regrettably I've found it difficult to engage with Natural England, the government department responsible for issuing the licences. Enquiries were initially met with silence and it took a freedom of information request to elicit a response.
I broke the news on my blog and it was quickly picked up by the national press.
Public outrage followed. And much of this was fuelled by the apparent indifference of DEFRA and Natural England who only issued a lacklustre statement after the news began to to go viral.
Similar indignation is now growing at the new legislation over grey squirrels.
DEFRA and Natural England really do need to engage more with the public of this country.
Debate is necessary and healthy.
A regrettable lack of human kindness.
With regard to our grey squirrels, well whatever DEFRA's reason for wanting to 'eradicate' this now naturalised animal, a delightful creature that the people of this country have largely taken into their hearts, it is surely nothing to do with 'protecting our countryside', 'preserving our woodlands' or 'saving our red squirrels'.
It is more to do with an agency that has been given the job of protecting our countryside but seems to have a skewed appreciation of nature and a regrettable lack of human kindness.
Yet they feel they can decide, on behalf of us all - and without our consent - which species to 'manage and eradicate' and which to protect.
At best their efforts appear erratic and insensitive. And at worst they show a total disregard for the concerns of the compassionate British public.
You can sign the petition to save Grey Squirrels HERE
The petition to stop the issuing of licences to kill rare birds is HERE
".....it is highly likely that large numbers of bats are being slaughtered by turbines offshore but nobody can collect the dead bodies at sea...."
It is a little known fact that bats can be found far out at sea. Though not much is known about their maritime adventures, we do know that some species migrate across large stretches of ocean, while others spend time at sea to find food, returning to land to roost.
Yet there has been hardly any research at all into the impact of offshore wind development on these rare creatures.
Study: "...bats were attracted to the turbines...."
A Swedish study way back in 2007 found that "working wind turbines were not avoided by passing bats. On the contrary we soon discovered that some bats were attracted by the turbines." The study, which found no less than twelve species of bat in coastal areas or offshore, pointed out that if bat collisions occur with offshore turbines (as they do on land) "this is deplorable and it is a serious matter if this mortality lowers the density or wipes out local populations."
"...a clear warning that we are not doing all we should..."
Twelve years on and, shamefully, the wind industry is still ignoring the issue. We have seen a huge increase in offshore wind development yet there has been no thorough assessment of just how many bats are being killed by these giant banks of turbines.
Last year, UK ecological consultancy company Baker Consultants, suggested that there is a shocking lack of knowledge over the effects of offshore wind development on bats. "In our experience..", they said, "it is very rare that we are asked to consider bats in our approach to pre-construction surveys or impact assessments".
The company, which took part in a Conference on Wind Energy & Wildlife Impacts, pointed out the lack of research in the field. They said this was "a clear warning that we are not doing all we should to consider the potential impacts on bats from these installations."
We can only guess at the numbers of dead bats....
With practically no data at all on bat deaths caused by offshore wind farms, we can only guess at the numbers. And from the horrifying estimates we have for bat deaths at onshore developments, we might expect that the situation at sea is equally disturbing.
For the irresponsible wind energy companies, out of sight might be out of mind, because while it is highly likely that large numbers of bats are being slaughtered by turbines offshore, nobody can collect the dead bodies at sea.
It is astonishing that the massive growth in offshore wind farms around the coasts of Britain and Europe has been permitted without any understanding of the effects this industrialisation of our seas may be having on bats, many of them rare and endangered species.
And while frenzied development of offshore wind continues unabated around our coasts, we can probably add at least twelve species of bat to the growing list of endangered wildlife that is being slaughtered by the whirling blades of this nasty and under-regulated industry.
Back in November, I reported on the horrific mass killing of Greenland Barnacle Geese on the Scottish island of Islay, under a 10 year government backed scheme, which began in 2014.
Wholesale Slaughter: 17,000+ Birds
But the wholesale slaughter, which is being overseen by Scottish Natural Heritage, could be much worse than I first thought. And it could even threaten the long term survival of the species.
I've been made aware of plans to massacre at least 17,000 more birds on the island.
The figures I've seen suggest that SNH want to keep the population of Barnacle Geese at between 28,000 and 31,000.
In the period 2016/2017, the number of Barnacle Geese on the island was estimated at around 47,000. Given that SNH want to keep numbers at around 30,000, that would suggest that they plan to exterminate 17,000 birds.
The cull has been the subject of much controversy and criticism, though SNH justify the slaughter by claiming that the birds - which are RSPB Amber listed - cause an estimated £1.5 million worth of damage to agriculture on Islay each year, while they overwinter on the island.
SNH: Cull Is A "Small Proportion" Of The Population
Scottish Natural Heritage have stated that they are allowing a 'small proportion' of the population to be killed each year but it seems that they might have given themselves carte blanche to entirely decimate the population under their 'strategy'.... it's haphazard at best.
With Islay supporting 60% of all the Greenland Barnacle Geese on the planet, the SNH 'management' scheme could put the species' survival, at least in the UK, at great risk. The birds had been in steep decline before the population bounced back during the second half of the 20th century. In 1959 there were less than 9,000 individuals recorded in an annual international census . After that low, the Barnacle Goose population did recover but estimates for 2018 suggest that the population is now at its lowest for ten years.
Clearly the population is under stress.
Clearly the cull should be halted.
SNH: Cull "Meets All Of Our International Conservation Obligations"
Migratory birds such as the Barnacle Goose are protected internationally but according to SNH, the cull is permitted.
They state: "the Strategy will maintain Greenland Barnacle Goose numbers at a level which will meet all of our international conservation obligations."
If that is the case then those 'conservation obligations' clearly need to be questioned.....
"We have reached the point.... where kindness is officially a crime...."
So Natural England have spoken (again).
2019 will be the year that they want to make criminals out of some of the most compassionate people in the country, those who rescue and rehabilitate wildlife.
No longer will wildlife rescues be permitted to ease the suffering of species which Natural England have decided are 'invasive' and therefore not worthy of compassion and kindness. In discriminating between animals, Natural England have perhaps reached an all time low - and as we know they have already sunk to some depths, such as when they gave the green light to killing native songbirds including the robin and wren.
Previously, laws were in place requiring wildlife rescues to apply for a licence to help injured and orphaned grey squirrels. Though restrictive, these licences allowed for the rehabilitation of limited numbers of the animals.
Now Natural England have sent an email to rescues advising them that their licences will not be renewed. From the end of March, any wildlife rescue or vet that is presented with an injured or orphaned grey squirrel, will, by law, be required to kill it.
"Absolutely Devastating" - Animal Aid
Jade Emery of Animal Aid said of the new rules, "To make rescuing any animal in need against the law is absurd and absolutely devastating. This new Order will do nothing but needlessly increase animal suffering and it is completely implausible that Natural England are unaware of this fact."
She called the new rule 'tyrannical' and added that "by implementing these new regulations, Natural England will be condemning these innocent animals to suffering and often death, and robbing them of any chance of rescue."
The same will apply to some other non-native 'invasive' species such as the diminutive Muntjac Deer.
Compassion Should Not Be 'Regulated' By Natural England
It shouldn't be Natural England's decision.
Wildlife belongs to nobody - and compassion should not be regulated by Natural England, an agency that clearly knows nothing about human-kindness.
It seems that we have reached the point where kindness is officially a crime.
Natalia Doran of Urban Squirrels, a London-based rescue, has started a petition which aims to stop the new regulation coming into force.
You can sign it HERE
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