Natural England approved the shooting of more than 400 Moorhens and the destruction of 4,225 Moorhen eggs under licences they issued between 2014 and 2019.
The figure is likely to be even higher as I have been careful to avoid duplicate licences, nest destruction and various other anomalies from the data they sent me.
Threat to Public Health?
Justification for killing the birds and destroying their eggs include (in Natural England's opinion) the threat they pose to public health and safety, falconry and aviculture, and to prevent serious damage to crops, vegetables or fruit......
These latest revelations are just more examples that I've pulled from Natural England's disturbing licensing statistics and follow the posts I've written about Herring Gulls, Coots and many many more species that have been targeted for destruction by the agency.
Though Moorhens are not currently considered a vulnerable species, the bird faces a series of threats that include everything from over zealous hunting to the perils of pollution and environmental destruction. With Natural England adding to the pressure by issuing licences for the birds' destruction, it surely won't take long before we see the Moorhen joining the ever growing ranks of red and amber listed species of conservation concern.
More accountability urgently needed....
As I have been saying since I started the campaign to overhaul and examine the agency, it is imperative that Natural England becomes accountable to the public. There needs to be much more transparency throughout the licensing system and a much greater public influence over licensing decisions.
The feedback I receive from concerned members of the public shows overwhelmingly that they would not support culling of birds in public spaces such as parks, and would strongly oppose licences being granted should they be given the opportunity to object.
Natural England promise to publish details of all licences issued - starting this year
Natural England's Operations Director, James Diamond, has assured me that all licences issued in the previous year will be published openly for public scrutiny within the following twelve months, starting before the end of 2019, and then annually.
However, I want to see much more transparency. While it's great that we will be able to examine all licences the agency has already issued (together with every detail associated with those licences), our goal is that the public must have more influence over the actual decision making, in particular with regard to those licence applications relating to bird control in public spaces.
It should be our right to protect our birds from those who might not be acting in the best interest of our native wildlife.
Petition at 351,000 Signatures - next goal half a million!
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