The news that Defra is going to spend £375,000 on looking at how to reduce buzzard impacts on pheasants shows how deeply this department has now fallen into the hands of the shooting brigade.
I have no doubt that buzzards take a few pheasants but why a government department is spending my taxes (and yours, and quite a few other people’s) on the trivial consequences of a native predator on a non-native gamebird escapes me completely. Maybe Defra will be funding research on the most efficient poisons with which to bump off raptors next?
Even if buzzards eat every pheasant in the land I don’t see what business it is of Defra to fund research that should be funded by the shooting industry, if anyone at all. Why is this a subject for government to fund? Does it deliver public benefits – not that I can see? Is it a subject of huge scientific import – certainly not?
Given that Defra is now pursuing a badger cull, is interested in control of cormorants, is against vicarious liability (please be in favour of it), has a delivery agency which suddenly, and mysteriously, pulled out of prosecuting a grouse moor for alleged offences, cannot bring itself to answer properly a parliamentary question about threatened hen harriers and now has it in for the rather stupid old buzzard we might as well have the biodiversity minister doing a job-share with the Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance.
If Defra has £375k to waste on this project then it’s time I got some of my taxes back.