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!
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