After a very long wait…

This review was published yesterday. It is a major part of the DEFRA response to a Wild Justice legal challenge over the failure of DEFRA to assess the impacts of the unregulated release of tens of millions (47+ million Pheasants and 10 million Red-legged Partridges) on non-native gamebirds on sites of conservation importance.

Wild Justice sent a legal letter to DEFRA on 10 July 2019 to which DEFRA should have responded in two weeks but actually took over two months. On 11 September 2019 DEFRA conceded that there was an issue here that they needed to address.

This review, whose Foreword is dated 18 March 2020, is the first public response to the science of the Wild Justice legal challenge.

I’ll be reading it carefully over the weekend, as will the rest of the Wild Justice team including our lawyers. I imagine we’ll have something to say about it some time next week.

Wild Justice was given permission for judicial review of gamebird releases and our lawyers will be in court, perhaps virtually, on 3 and 4 November. Our case will be, partly, that DEFRA cannot rule out ecological impacts of such vast, uncontrolled and unmonitored releases on the ecological value of sites of high conservation value and that therefore non-native gamebird releases should cease within 5km of such sites until there is evidence for lack of harm.

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9 Replies to “After a very long wait…”

  1. It is just amazing to me that NE should jointly compile a report such as this one with a shooting organisation such as BASC . They are hardly going to say in the report that the release of huge numbers of game birds is having a very damaging effect on our native Wildlife!!
    Where is Natural England’s judgment? The credibility of the Report must be seriously compromised by one of the two authors being an avid shooting organisation.

  2. The key words in the report title are “rapid evidence assessment”. Public Health England (RIP) do something similar when reviewing the evidence for screening for various medical conditions. The essence is “Has something changed that we need to consider?” So depending on how adventurous DEFRA feel they might say “OMG, we’ve got this thing so wrong and ban all game bird releases with immediate effect” or they might say “Well, based on a cursory glance at several reports by BASC there does not seem to be enough evidence to change our position”. I await your assessment with interest.

  3. Interesting that the normalised relationship of Natural England and BASC is displayed on the front of this report. It is not, for instance, a report for just Natural England or Natural England and a conservation organisation. That relationship with BASC comes across as a little too cosy. Still should not judge the report without seeing it’s contents so I await your review with interest.

  4. There do seem to be serious conflict of interest issues here. Is this part of the partnership between NE and BASC?

    1. Was there all this conspiracy talk before Langholm ?, i bet some of you could not sleep for a week, or was that different .

  5. I can’t see where the Excel files referred to in the appendices on page 92 may be found. They also refer to an appendix 4 on page 57 which isn’t listed anywhere.

  6. Miraculous, absolutely miraculous…..70 million birds and not one ever gets sick enough to require vet meds. Even though disease is a direct impact….?

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to assess evidence rapidly.

    1. Indeed especially given that it is said in many places that Red Grouse first got bulgy eye disease from Pheasants and that the grouse spread it amongst themselves at grit trays.

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