, via Wikimedia Commons”]Please sign this petitionto persuade Defra to think again if you are already convinced that 375k of your taxes could be better spent than a poorly thought-through study of buzzards and pheasants.
How might £375k be better spent?:
- employ a teaching assistant for 25 years
- study the impacts of non-native pheasants on native flora and fauna – see these amazing images of a young pheasant gobbling up a grass snake
- how about reinstating some front line staff at NE, EA or FC that were clobbered in government cuts as part of austerity England before we realised that there was money to burn on poor research on a field sport?
- introduce vicarious liability in England and still have £350k to spend
- fund the reintroduction of the native white-tailed eagle into East Anglia – a project cut because of funding shortages
- fund replacement hips for 35 old people who can’t afford the operations
- and does George Osborne know how many pasties he could buy for £350k?
The idea of spending my taxes, your taxes and the taxes of many other hard-pressed people on a rich man’s sport is highly distasteful. Sign this petition please.
Of course buzzards eat a few pheasants, it’s a good job they do, and foxes do, and crows do otherwise we would be knee deep in pheasants very quickly. The field ‘sports’ industry releases about 35 million reared pheasants into the UK countryside each year. Only 15 million or so are shot – which leaves, even George Osborne will get this right, 20 million surplus pheasants to die in the countryside every year.
, via Wikimedia Commons”]It is a serious concern that 35 million, non-native, predatory birds (everything is a predator – and ask that grass snake whether pheasants are predators!) are released, unlicensed into the UK countryside every year. yes pheasant shooting has a range of positive impacts on local economies (as do prostitution and drug trafficking under certain circumstances) but it isn’t all about money — it really isn’t. Pheasant shooting can certainly have some good ecological impacts too – habitat protection, provision of extra food resources which help feed other wildlife etc. But we really don’t know whether this industrial field sport has a net benefit or disbenefit to our native wildlife.
Do the 35 million pheasants gobble up the seeds that would otherwise feed declining farmland birds? or does the food that is provided for pheasants and goes into yellowhammers etc outweigh that impact? We don’t know – and that would be a really serious subject for some really serious research.
Does the gross over-release of pheasants fuel increases in predator numbers – foxes, rats, magpies, crows – that cause any problems for native fauna? Another interesting and strategic research question.
Do the 3 million pheasants killed on the roads every year cause increased insurance premiums that increase the cost of motoring?
Are the pheasants in woodlands at all implicated in the declines of woodland invertebrates?
There are many questions to be asked about the wisdom, sustainability and economic costs and benefits of industrial pheasant shooting. Let’s look at all of those to gauge the overall public cost or benefit of this bizarre and particularly British practice before we start studying how many of the 20 million unshot pheasants are eaten by buzzards. And remember, we would be knee deep in pheasants if they didn’t die of something. Let’s thank the buzzard for solving part of that problem – although, I would be pretty sure, that buzzards are not deserving of much praise in this regard as they don’t bump off many pheasants.