NEWS: We have been granted leave to appeal brood-meddling

I have been given leave to appeal Hon Justice Lang’s decision that brood-meddling of Hen Harrier nests is legal. The fight goes on!

It doesn’t exactly look spectacular online, does it?

RSPB has also been given leave to appeal on the same issue.

We learned of this by noticing the online decision, as we have not yet had details from the court on which grounds we have been given leave to appeal.

You’ll notice that we might be waiting until July for a day in court! I’d hope that it would be much sooner.

For new readers:

  • the Hen Harrier is a protected bird which is illegally killed on grouse moors because it eats Red Grouse that people want to shoot (as well as lots of other birds and mammals that people don’t want to shoot)
  • grouse moor managers invented a wheeze called brood management (brood meddling is what I call it) which involves shipping Hen Harrier chicks off grouse moors, rearing them in a cage and then letting them go again later in the season. This is dressed up as a conservation project.
  • Defra minister Rory Stewart thought this was a good wheeze and made it part of the government plan to save the Hen Harrier whereas anyone with an ounce of sense would know that catching the criminals who kill hen Harriers would do a lot more good.
  • Natural England, once a conservation organisation, licensed brood meddling in winter 2018 and I (and then the RSPB) mounted legal challenges against brood meddling.
  • My case (and that of the RSPB) was heard in December 2018 (2 days) and January 2019 (an extra day) but the judge, the Hon Justice Lang found against us and said that brood meddling is legal.
  • I appealled the decision and Hon Justice Lang did not give leave to appeal so we went to the Court of Appeal who have now given leave to appeal.
  • Meanwhile a single brood of Hen Harriers has been meddled this year on an estate on which dead, shot, Hen Harriers have previously been found. Of the five brood meddled young harriers two have already gone missing, as they do, on grouse moors, as they do, in northern England.
A pair of live Hen Harriers passing food in mid-air. Photo: Gordon Yates
A dead Hen Harrier – far less pretty. Photo: RSPB
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9 Replies to “NEWS: We have been granted leave to appeal brood-meddling”

  1. Keep going Mark. Our population of the magical Hen Harrier needs you to pursue the hordes of greedy wretches who are willing to break the law in order to destroy all competition to their objective of killing as many Red Grouse as possible in their cruel, primitive abuse of our countryside.
    I find their greed, in their refusal to tolerate a few pairs of harriers on the grouse breeding/slaughter grounds they manage, to be even more disgusting than the manner in which these people enjoy themselves.

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  2. Well done indeed Mark and congratulations to the Wild Justice legal team. I remember you saying that they and yourself thought Lang’s verdict was a travesty.
    Now into the next round and we will win.

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  3. Is it necessary for two appeals in the courts ?, or will you toss a coin to see who goes for it, to
    save duplication of effort , and peoples money ?.
    Apologies if this has been explained already.

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    1. Trapit - the RSPB grounds are different from mine (although neither we nor they have heard which grounds have been allowed to be heard). They will be heard at sane time so not as inefficient as it might seem. The thing that would save most money would be if Natural England threw in the towel - but I wouldn’t in their position so I’m not asking for that.

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    1. Steve M - not really, although some people pretend it has. See my first witnmess statement in the brood meddling case: https://markavery.info/2019/03/29/first-witness-statement/ What is wrong with brood management para 3

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