Just thought I'd let you know what's happening with the petition and keep you all up to date.
Wild Justice: A Mixed Blessing
You may have seen that Wild Justice, the Chris Packham/Mark Avery/Ruth Tingay initiative, is planning a legal challenge against Natural England, calling for more regulation and better monitoring of the licencing system.
It appears to be good news until you realise that they are only focusing on birds covered by the 'general licence', that means just 10 species.
But our petition is to save more than 65 species of native birds from being needlessly killed through licences issued by Natural England, and many of these species are in steep population decline.
I asked Wild Justice if they would consider including these species under the umbrella of their legal challenge - but I'm afraid they declined.
That seemed a shame to me. A missed opportunity. We have more than 250,000 supporters and harnessing the power of our heavyweight petition, combined with the efforts of Wild Justice, might have proven too much for the government to ignore.
Their action, though commendable in its own right, has distracted somewhat from our own work, the media coverage of the Wild Justice news has unfortunately led many people to think that their legal challenge tackles the issues we have been campaigning about, that is to say the protection of all our birds from legalised killing. This is not the case.
Another unfortunate side-effect of the high profile Wild Justice legal challenge is that the media coverage of their work has been, to some extent, at the expense of our own campaign.
The fact is that Wild Justice are fighting for just ten species. We are fighting for all birds and for a complete overhaul of the licencing system, in particular to make it more transparent.
However, we will keep pushing for change at Natural England, as will Wild Justice - albeit each pursuing slightly different angles.
Another Bland Statement From Natural England
In other news, I had an 'anonymous' email from Natural England, anonymous in the sense that nobody had put their name to it..... hardly surprising as it was a blatant 'copy and paste' job, merely a standard blurb about how carefully they assess licence applications and that they only approve lethal control when all other avenues have been exhausted. The usual guff.
I'm supposed to be hearing directly from Defra soon, though one wonders if that email from Natural England is all we can expect.
No doubt I will reply to them and ask for a more intelligent response to our petition.
All in all, it's been a challenging and frustrating couple of weeks! But I'm fighting on in spite of the apparent setbacks. I haven't been able to get any further media coverage (partly due to the media interest in Wild Justice), but we are fast approaching 300,000 signatures so that should make the press sit up and take an interest again.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support, please keep sharing the petition, Spring is in the air and the birds are counting on us to speak up for them!
"We now have proof that wind farms DO affect mammals living nearby.
Humans are mammals. It's not rocket science....."
I'm known for my opposition to wind farms, I believe that it is unethical to hoodwink a well meaning public into thinking that the energy produced by wind turbines is green and clean. It is neither.
My main arguments against wind energy, apart from it being inefficient and intermittent, have always been that vast wind farms create catastrophic environmental damage in both manufacture and installation - and cause havoc to ecosystems and wildlife habitat.
Wind Turbine Syndrome - ridiculed by the industry
But I was always less convinced about the much repeated claim that wind turbines cause health problems in humans. The phenomenon popularly known as 'wind turbine syndrome' relates primarily to the effects of infra-sound on humans who live in close proximity to turbines. It is often described as a 'psychosomatic' disorder, suggesting that it might be all in the sufferer's mind, and dismissed by the wind industry as being a largely fabricated illness - though that is to be expected, the mammoth public relations machine behind the big wind companies is very good at ridiculing its critics - I know this from personal experience.
So when it comes to such controversial matters as wind turbine syndrome, the wind industry PR machine goes into full throttle, dismissing the claims as nonsense. They imply that the people complaining are a bit odd and prone to hysteria, calling the condition a classic case of a 'communicated disease', in other words an imagined illness that is transmitted to others through rumour alone.
Court rules in favour of sufferers...
Last week a Scottish court decided in favour of a couple whose lives have been ruined by the menace of nearby turbines. Andrew and Rosemary Milne found themselves living in the shadow of three turbines, each in excess of 260 feet in height. The couple had moved to their Scottish home before the turbines were built and say that they never had any chance to object to the installation because they were not notified during the planning process, even though the turbines would clearly have an impact on their property. The court heard from the couple that noise from the giant machines affected their sleep and their enjoyment of their home, both indoors and outside, to the point that it drove them to keep pursuing some means of stopping the noise which they described as sounding "like never ending jets landing." Mrs Milne said that she became more upset and emotional as time went on due to the impact from the turbines on her peace of mind and quality of life.
The court agreed with Mr and Mrs Milne and imposed an order which means that the turbines must be muffled to cause less stress for the couple.
There have been other similar cases during the past few years in which people have won the right to have nearby wind farms silenced.
In Devon, at the opposite end of the UK to Mr and Mrs Milne, residents last week complained to the local council that noise levels from their neighbouring wind farm were not being monitored as they should be. And it is a story that is repeated across the UK - and globally.
NHS: "it is plausible that noise generated by wind turbines can affect people"
The wind companies wield a huge amount of power and influence in contrast to the tiny communities affected by their developments. Nevertheless around the world people continue to fight their own battles against the big industrial companies whose wind farms, they say, are ruining their lives.
The wind industry would have us all believe that these people are trivial, maintaining that the noise from wind farms is no worse than 'general background noise' and as such is harmless.
They are bolstered by a body of research into the subject, much of which comes to the vague conclusion that the noise emanating from wind farms is probably acceptable. One wonders if some of the studies were commissioned by energy companies and wind farm developers themselves such is the inherent denial of a problem, but there are those who disagree.
A famous study into wind turbine syndrome by Dr Nina Pierpoint back in 2009 was widely criticised for using a weak study design, though as pioneering research it received a great deal of publicity. However, despite being skeptical of Dr Pierpoint's findings, the British NHS (National Health Service) concluded that "it is physically and biologically plausible that low frequency noise generated by wind turbines can affect people".
Planning consent for 800 wind farms in England alone
Now many will argue that the problem is overblown due to the fact that wind farms are sited in remote places, out of the way of human habitation. That may be the general case for now but some countries, including Scotland, Wales and Ireland, seem hell bent on covering every available inch with turbines in pursuit of 'green' energy targets, so it won't be long before more and more of us are living in their flickering shadow. There is already pending planning consent for nearly 800 wind farms in England alone, a potential nightmare and one that any incoming Labour government has worryingly vowed to embrace wholeheartedly.
High levels of stress hormones in land dwelling mammals living near turbines
So, given that studies so far have been dismissive, I decided to change tack slightly and do a little research into the effects on animals - specifically mammals - that live in the vicinity of wind farms. And I was more than a little surprised by what I found.
In contrast to the research carried out in connection to wind turbine syndrome in humans, many studies have shown that wild animals are adversely affected by living in close proximity to wind farms. And I'm not talking about the huge numbers of birds and bats that we know are killed by the things. Studies show that ground dwelling mammals are severely impacted too.
For example badgers. A 2013 study found that those living within 1km of a wind farm had levels of the hormone cortisol 264% higher than badgers living in other areas away from turbines. High levels of cortisol signifies that the badgers were physiologically stressed and the increased levels of cortisol would likely affect their immune system, leaving them open to infection and disease. Even when monitored over a period of time, the levels remained high suggesting that the badgers do not get used to living with wind farms and remain permanently affected.
That's badgers. It might as well be any other mammal. A similar Polish study last year, focusing on rodents, came largely to the same conclusions. Voles living in the shadow of wind farms were highly stressed. Voles living near the wind turbines had high levels of stress inducing corticosterone, although oddly Field Mice in the same area showed no such increase, merely proving the desperate need for more research.
As I've often said, perhaps there should be more research before more turbines....
The Polish report concluded that more attention should be given to the effects of wind farms upon wildlife.
So we now have proof that wind farms DO affect mammals living nearby.
Humans are mammals. It's not rocket science.....
"Wind farms will spread like a virus over the land"
Perhaps, with last week's court ruling in favour of the Scottish victims of wind energy, the tide is turning.
It needs to. Because by the time we are all surrounded by industrial wind farms, we might all be living with the headache - and worse - of wind turbine syndrome.
Before anybody accuses me of buying into conspiracy theories or spreading panic, let me assure you that I am acting alone. I am not influenced by any organisation, industry or individual, nor am I beholden to any particular theory or ideology. I am just evaluating and interpreting facts. I believe that the wind industry is not necessarily acting in the best interests of people or nature. The expansion of wind energy is merely going to make a few people a great deal of money through employing a clever green marketing gimmick and exploiting the current trend for environmental awareness.
It is likely that, in spite of any incriminating evidence, wind farms will spread like a virus over the land.
But that doesn't mean that we are all complicit.
For those of us who speak out against the industry can at least have a clear conscience when the inevitable happens.....
250,000 People Demand Investigation Into Bird Kill Licences - Time For The Government To Sit Up And Listen....
Well, quite a landmark today!
Our petition, calling for an investigation into the licencing activities of Natural England, has reached a quarter of a million signatures!
I'm currently awaiting an official response to our campaign from Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), I'm due to hear from them within the next two weeks. This interaction is being facilitated by a highly respected MP who is sympathetic to the campaign.
Meanwhile I'm hoping that the enormous level of public support for the petition will be picked up once again by the media, raising the profile of the issue further and increasing the pressure on the government to respond and act positively (for a change...)
There has been little official government recognition of the petition up to this point but it seems unlikely that they can ignore such an extraordinarily high level of public concern.
I'll update further when I have a response from Defra and hopefully we will have some more media coverage in the meantime.
Please keep sharing the petition, we didn't dare dream of this level of support - but bolstered by this landmark figure, we are aiming ever higher.
Next goal is 300,000, we can do it.
SIGN/SHARE PETITION HERE
I found myself in the garden at 5 o'clock this morning after one of our dogs decided they had to answer the call of nature. This particular dog can't be trusted to go out alone, having the urge as she does to tunnel underneath the decking and then get stuck. So she has to be accompanied which isn't always welcome in the middle on the night... but such are the joys of owning a dog.
The dog ambled around the garden in the dim light of early dawn, not in any hurry despite the morning chill.
I stood in minimal clothing, wishing I'd put on my dressing gown, shivering and listening to a solitary blackbird singing from a nearby roof top. My early morning contemplation led me to conjecture that this plaintiff call of the blackbird was all that remained of the dawn chorus. In my youth, should I be awake before the sun, I would sometimes open the window and lie in bed listening to the excited cacophony of birds as the dawn broke.
Now, standing in the back garden staring up at the dark blue sky, I realised with some sadness that this earnest recital was all that was left of what was once a spectacular celebration of the new day.
Two more blackbirds did eventually join the solo performer and a few minutes later I heard a more distant pair of sparrows.
But that was it. A production full of hope but slightly underwhelming.
As I waited for the dog to wander in, I recalled the days when the dawn chorus was really something to experience. A hullabaloo of bird song, made up of a dozen species or more, each singing with gusto in happy anticipation of another day.
Regretfully, I currently reside in suburbia, where birds are few and the desire to find joy in nature is sadly lacking in many of the suburbanites, but I wonder if other parts of the country and indeed other parts of the world still ring with the absolute joy and wonder of the spectacular daily jamboree that is the dawn chorus?
So I have decided to ask you.
It's not a scientific survey, just a quick question to see if, as I hope, the dawn chorus is still alive and well elsewhere.
It's all anonymous but you can add a comment after the post if you like.
I'll publish the results in due course.
More than 200,000 principled people have so far signed our petition to stop Natural England from issuing licences to wipe out our precious birds!
We had an enormous boost to start off March, with a whopping 80,000 new supporters.
So, with the huge outpouring of compassion from so many amazing people, one might have thought that Natural England and their parent body Defra would want to address the concerns of the people they are supposed to serve.
There's been no engagement from Natural England since the early days of the petition. Even after some major newspaper coverage in recent weeks, they have been remarkably quiet, aside from issuing two feeble statements containing their usual waffle and banal 'explanations' in an attempt to justify the officially endorsed slaughter of birds.
In issuing these statements, they wildly underestimate the intelligence of the public. And I'm becoming increasingly irritated by their impertinence and lack of respect.
Extraordinary Level Of Secrecy
Natural England are the people behind the despicable slaughter of badgers, the planned 'invasive species' cull (squirrels, Muntjac deer, Canada Geese et al) and of course the abhorrent and methodical eradication of our wild birds. Make no mistake, left unchallenged they will, without doubt, wreak havoc on the much loved wildlife in this country.
Natural England displays not only a callous disregard for strong public feeling, but also an extraordinary level of secrecy in their working practice. Underfunded they may be, understaffed perhaps, but there's no excuse for total ignorance.
Their foolish refusal to engage with the public shows that they are not fit for purpose and that a complete overhaul is essential if we want to preserve and protect what is left of our fast disappearing wildlife.
Lack Of Empathy, Compassion And Understanding
Yet in spite of the ineptitude and the cruelty that Natural England show, it's their apparent lack of empathy, compassion and understanding that saddens me the most. Indeed my initial anger quickly turned to frustration and then to a deep sadness at the realisation that within a few short years the wonderful nature that once surrounded me in my younger days will likely be gone. The discovery of the beautiful and magical creatures that entranced me as a child, and throughout my life, will not be there to delight future generations. Why on earth should a single government agency have so much control over the natural heritage that belongs to us all?
Should we choose not to challenge the cold hearted civil servants that push pens in the offices of Natural England and Defra, then for the next generation and beyond there will be no wide-eyed discovery of nature, no magic. And without that awareness of nature, surely there can be no sensitivity towards other life.
And no kindness.
It is happening already as we begin to lose that vital connection with our natural world.
For me that is heartbreaking. And that is why I am fighting on behalf of the fast diminishing wildlife in this country and the people who treasure it.
Without it we are destitute.
I abhor Natural England's lack of decency. I challenge their decisions.
And I, together with 200,000+ others, want change.
Striving For Change
Rest assured I will not be giving up on this. Please know that I am busy behind the scenes, working on getting the campaign in front of influential people, striving for change and demanding an end to Natural England's horrible disregard for England's wildlife.
Join me please. Sign the petition. Share it far and wide.
Natural England may not want to acknowledge us, but this level of public protest should have them quaking in their boots.
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.
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