Have you seen the RSPB’s latest Birdcrime publication which came out in December? It’s beautifully produced and has a lot of sense in it. Here are some quotes from Martin Harper’s introduction.
‘Persecution is so common and widespread that it is the most important factor limiting populations of some treasured and iconic species,including hen harriers, golden eagles, peregrines and, in some areas,goshawks and red kites. This is a stain on the conscience of our country.‘
‘Actions speak louder than words.‘
‘In 2013, no hen harriers bred successfully in England for the first time since the 1960s. These spectacular birds have been virtually lost from the English uplands, despite enough habitat to support more than 300 pairs. They are also absent from vast swathes of suitable habitat in southern and eastern Scotland. Concerted action to restore hen harriers to their former upland haunts is long overdue.‘
‘In Scotland, we have seen welcome progress. We think that it is right for estate owners to be held responsible for the actions of their staff who commit wildlife crimes. Vicarious liability has been introduced here, and we believe it may be acting as a deterrent, reducing poisoning incidents. With these initial positive signs, it’s doubly disappointing that similar measures have not been introduced elsewhere.’
‘Governments across the UK must demonstrate real commitment and action to tackling illegal persecution, not just in words, but through actions.‘
‘The once-in-a-generation opportunity we highlighted in Birdcrime 2011 to consign illegal persecution of birds of prey to the pages of history is slipping away. Actions speak louder than words. The time for decisive action is now.’
And this is a quote from page 30:
‘The RSPB believes that an option to withdraw the “right” of an individual to shoot game, or businesses to supply shooting services, for a fixed period following conviction for a wildlife or environmental offence, should be considered. The Law Commission is currently drafting revised wildlife legislation for England and Wales. It has proposed a form of regulation of hunting by means of licences. This is a step that the Governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland should also be considering.’
That all makes a lot of sense to me.
I also notice that the Scottish Raptor Study Groups are calling for licensing of grouse shooting in Scotland in line with the RSPB’s views.
Also in line with the RSPB’s views is John Armitage’s e-petition on the Downing Street website which is gaining a new lease of life as it enters the final month. In two days it has gained 270 signatures and it stands a chance of gaining the 10,000 signatures which require a response from government.
Please sign it, because, as the RSPB says, ‘Actions speak louder than words’.