There has been significant progress in recent years, but more needs to be done if the illegal killing of raptors is to be eradicated. The joint signatories (BASC, CA, MA, NGO and CLA) have agreed a statement to lay out in the clearest terms possible the position we need to get to and the actions that will help us get there. Click here
‘Zero Tolerance’ for raptor persecution: A Joint Statement
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Countryside Alliance (CA), Moorland Association (MA) and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) – four of the largest organisations representing shooting in England and Wales – have been joined by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in issuing the following joint statement condemning all forms of raptor persecution:
“There is no excuse for the illegal killing of any bird of prey, and we unreservedly condemn all such acts. The shooting community has been tarnished with a reputation for persecuting raptors, and while many reports of such persecution have proven to be false and confirmed cases are decreasing year-on-year, the illegal killing of birds of prey continues to be carried out by a small minority of irresponsible individuals. We strongly condemn their actions and have a zero tolerance policy towards any such incident. These people have no place in a sector that is otherwise overwhelmingly positive; one that is the economic driver for many of our more remote communities, and the largest contributor to conservation schemes in England and Wales.
“Our countryside is a managed landscape and it is an environment in which there can be instances of some species coming into clear conflict with land managers. But two developments should serve to emphasise that the illegal killing of birds of prey is unjustified and self-destructive. Firstly, after the successful Judicial Review brought by Ricky McMorn against Natural England in 2015, farmers, gamekeepers and others working to create an environment that balances human and ecological interests should be reassured that Natural England will treat applications for wildlife licences – including those to control buzzards – more consistently. Secondly, the trial brood management scheme for hen harriers provides relief for land managers suffering high predation losses during the nesting season in the uplands.
“All incidents of illegal persecution are extremely harmful to the reputation of shooting and we are working in partnership with the police and wildlife agencies, as well as developing a number of initiatives, to eradicate the persecution of birds of prey.
“Our organisations are clear that any individual member convicted of a crime against birds of prey will be expelled. Should anyone know of, or encounter, any form of raptor persecution they should report it to their local police force immediately. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously through Crimestoppers by telephoning 0800 555 111.”
Superintendent Nick Lyall, chair of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG), said: “I have said since the first day as chair of the RPPDG that the only way we would successfully end raptor persecution was through a fully engaged partnership approach.
“I have worked tirelessly with key shooting and land management partners to develop a strong and trusting relationship, I am delighted with the strong words being used in this joint statement.
“I look forward to continuing to work with all RPPDG members to continue to develop the strong partnership, focused entirely on ending raptor persecution through prevention, intelligence and enforcement activities.”