NE start to talk

On Farming Today, Marian Spain, the interim Chief Exec of Natural England starts to talk about what the new system of licensing to cover the 16 species on the former General Licences will look like. Marian is quite clear that ‘the licences were unlawful’.

Wild Justice will be looking at the new system of licensing very closely as it emerges.

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9 Replies to “NE start to talk”

  1. It's an illuminating and pretty depressing piece, showing how the general licensing system is set up as a business process and has nothing to do with conservation or ecology. First, a "game processor" explained how the general licenses gave his industry a steady supply of pigeon meat. Then. Marian Spain made it clear that NE is now trying to adjust the system so that as many birds as previously will be shot, and that licenses would be as easily obtainable as preoviously. Her perspective was completely that of someone who is concerned with providing shooting and meat processing industries with their "raw materials" and has nothing to do with environmental protection.

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    1. IIUTC - you have to exhaust all other methods of protecting your crop of brassicas or sheep or whatever from whatever bird attempts to eat it to a stump or peck its tongue or eyes out before you may shoot the bird. So if your attempts to starve the bird to death fail you are allowed to shoot it to death. Whichever works, the outcome is the same.

      If you don't control the predation of your green or woolly crop then you are raising the GHG emissions of farming by reducing the yield of usable output - which if not yet technically illegal is certainly counter to the objectives of the CCA 2008 mitigation measures for farming upon which DEFRA is consulting right now. It is The Law, after all, and we are World Leaders at it.

      I wonder whether Marian Spain now regrets clutching the poisoned chalice at NE - how much nicer it must have been encouraging councils not to cut grass verges

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  2. I was thinking about this when I was out this morning.

    In my experience, the majority of farmers I've known over the years do not have shotguns or any other sort of firearm, and nor do perhaps the majority of them allow shooting on their land having had bad experiences with it. It's a complete myth that every farmer has a shotgun and goes shooting. Yes there is a significant proportion of farmers who own shotguns and engage in shooting. However, I very much doubt that it's the majority, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's 30% or less. Unfortunately I can't find any figures on this. However, having known farmers all my life, had them in my family, and having had an early interest in shooting, I know very well that those that own shotguns is much smaller than is commonly supposed.

    Also have lived on the edge of farmland for a lot of my life, and having spent much of my time out and about in the countryside in various regions of the country, I can confidently say much farmland is never shot over at all.

    Therefore presenting this as a dire emergency for farmers who will be unable to shoot birds which will damage their crops or livestock is completely false, simply because most farmers don't own a firearm, shoot or allow shooting on their land.

    This is not a farming issue. As I say, yes a significant minority of farmers have an interest, not merely in shooting supposed pests, but in game shooting. Those who are really bell aching about this are mainly game shooters, who are using false flag arguments. They know very well that the public will have little sympathy with game shooters, and so they are disingenuously pretending this is about the possible impacts on farming, on song birds, on waders, because they think the public will be more sympathetic to this. However, let us be in no doubt, this furore is about game shooters and those who shoot Wood Pigeons for sport, and not to stop them damaging crops.

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    1. But plenty farmers contract in a man with a shotgun to shoot rabbits, woodpigeon, etc... well they do in south Cambridgeshire... knowing both farmers and men with shotguns........

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    2. I use to be taken in by a large majority of farmers in my area to carry out livestock destruction as they did not possess a shotgun or a rifle.

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  3. Mark, are you aware of any figures for what proportion of farmers have shotguns or other firearms, and how many allow shooting over their land? It is my experience having being brought up in the countryside, and having shot when I was younger, that much less farmers than you think actually own shotguns, or even allow shooting on their land. This is a very important point in all this furore, because if most farmers do not have shotguns and do not allow shooting on their land, then how can this be the crisis claimed?

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    1. There still be a crisis,a farmer has every right to allow birds to eat his crops if he so wishes he is under no obligation to shoot or allow shooting on his premises, that is not to say that there is no crisis. It may be bad idea but he is allowed that freedom.

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  4. Interesting and plausible hypothesis. It would be good to get some data to test it. Interrogation of the police shotgun licence database might do it. Guess it would have to be a foi to every Chief Constable. No personal details needed, just what proportion are farmers.

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