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Another Licence to Control Buzzards

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Old Friday 29th July 2016, 17:29   #1
Jack Dawe
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Another Licence to Control Buzzards

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/l...uzzard-control

and

https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wo...ect-pheasants/
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Old Saturday 30th July 2016, 17:07   #2
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I'm more than worried by this as a precedent. Natural England it appears no longer occupies the position of strength it did formerly as the Govt''s adviser on wildlife matters, but simply has to toe the line to the self serving, unsympathetic policies the Tories take when it comes to matters affecting our natural heritage. I've put out a Blog on this on my own site
(http://www.birdingodyssey.blogspot.com/ ) but see also the Blog which Martin Harper (RSPB) has put out on the same subject.
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Old Saturday 30th July 2016, 18:02   #3
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Originally Posted by John S. Armitage View Post
I'm more than worried by this as a precedent
I agree - in doing this NE are blatantly losing the plot; introduced, exotic farm bred vermin for shooting at trumping a native species! Whatever next.
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Old Saturday 30th July 2016, 18:27   #4
string boozel
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So yet another victory for the recreational killing fraternity in their quest to rid the countryside of pesky raptors. The subject of Buzzard control is becoming an annual issue much like the unofficial harrier cull and is no less acceptable. I'm not sure why they are going to the trouble of issuing licenses though as even those who break the law don't appear to suffer unduly. How long before the pigeon racers get their Peregrine control licenses? Probably when somebody in government takes up the hobby. I'm going to register my disgust at the decision as always and hope others are going to do the same, I just wish we didn't have to do it on such a regular basis.

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Old Saturday 30th July 2016, 20:46   #5
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Still thinking about this

Wait for those folk that want to shoot raptors to take the attitude that if they did, they would only be breaking the law in respect to not having a license. "You see - it sometimes legal now".
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Old Monday 8th August 2016, 17:50   #6
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Still thinking about this

Wait for those folk that want to shoot raptors to take the attitude that if they did, they would only be breaking the law in respect to not having a license. "You see - it sometimes legal now".
There is now a petition on the uk gov petition site which could be signed was around 4500 odd when I signed
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Old Monday 8th August 2016, 18:03   #7
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I mean I hate the thought of having to kill something, but if the number of raptors out numbers the amount of food then the food will all be eaten plus most of the raptors will die with out a food source, so what they should do is like what they do in the U.S for deer is make a season for killing. Only have a certain number of licenses, and each person with a license can only kill a number of raptors to protect the ecosystem that each of the birds live in.
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Old Monday 8th August 2016, 19:08   #8
string boozel
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Thanks for highlighting the petition Joan, I've just signed it.

Hi Allthetimebirder, one of the main problems with this control issue is that Buzzards are a native, protected species which are only just regaining their former population levels after centuries of human induced decline. To sacrifice their recovery merely to benefit a small group of individuals seems wrong. As for who a would actually conduct the cull would they have to have a witness present to ensure that only ten birds are destroyed? Would they have to prove a good knowledge of raptor I.D so that only Common Buzzards are controlled. I certainly wouldn't want any Goshawks or Honey Buzzards killed by accident. Would the gamekeeper do the dirty deed themselves or would a third party be involved?

I can only voice my opinion and that is that no native species should ever be sacrificed to protect a non native alien species and certainly not one that only serves as a living target. Natural England is supposed to protect the nature of England (there's a clue in the name) and should not be appeasing an industry for whom the law is something to be ignored as and when it suits them.

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Old Monday 8th August 2016, 20:02   #9
Jack Dawe
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Here's the link to the petition.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/163483
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Old Monday 8th August 2016, 20:04   #10
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I mean I hate the thought of having to kill something, but if the number of raptors out numbers the amount of food then the food will all be eaten plus most of the raptors will die with out a food source, so what they should do is like what they do in the U.S for deer is make a season for killing. Only have a certain number of licenses, and each person with a license can only kill a number of raptors to protect the ecosystem that each of the birds live in.
Before you get jumped on by a lot of other birders (this is a VERY emotive issue in UK, and with good reason...) I'll start by saying you are right that in some circumstances predators will be limited by food supply...what ecologists call 'donor control'...an example would be snowy owls and lemmings, where predator populations follow cycles in prey populations. But except in very simple ecosystems, it is very rare for a predator to deplete a prey species to such an extent that both die out...for one thing, predators generally switch to a more abundant food source which takes less energy to forage for. So killing predators is hardly ever necessary to protect ecosystems, and usually has sometimes unforeseen negative consequences. In the specific case of raptors in England, their populations have not historically been limited by food supply, but by the depredations of tweed (plaid)-clad landowners and their lackeys, who consider themselves not only to be above the law, but also to know more about ecology than scientists, because they've lived in the countryside for generations, and really know best. In the case of common buzzards they introduce so many hand-reared pheasants into the countryside every year with few innate predator avoidance responses, that some buzzards allegedly find it more energy efficient to prey-switch from roadkill rabbits (and roadkill pheasants, of which there are many) to preying on live pheasants. Our ecosystems will not collapse because of this, buzzards will not die for lack of food, but the landowners feel that people who give them a lot of money to come and shoot the pheasants may not be able to shoot quite so many.
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Old Monday 8th August 2016, 20:30   #11
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Here's the link to the petition.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/163483
Nice idea, but by the time the petition gets noticed, it'll be far too late.

What's needed is an urgent court injunction to prevent the killing going ahead, and a judicial review of the case, with investigation of the judge who OK'd the killing - does he have any interests in shooting, perhaps? Is he a good friend of the owner of the land for which the license has been applied?

Unfortunately I don't have the faintest clue how to set about this . . .
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 05:49   #12
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I can only voice my opinion and that is that no native species should ever be sacrificed to protect a non native alien species.
I agree with all the sentiments regarding the unacceptable proposal to cull Buzzards, but one very minor point regarding this above sentence - is it not already fairly widespread to cull native species to protect aliens? Are quite a number of crop species originally non-natives and stocked fish too? If so, all species controlled under the guise of crop protection, be insects being sprayed or crows, etc, would be natives being culled.

As said, even if valid, this is a minor point, and not intended to justify in any way the culling of Buzzards.
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 09:09   #13
JoanT
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Nice idea, but by the time the petition gets noticed, it'll be far too late.

What's needed is an urgent court injunction to prevent the killing going ahead, and a judicial review of the case, with investigation of the judge who OK'd the killing - does he have any interests in shooting, perhaps? Is he a good friend of the owner of the land for which the license has been applied?

Unfortunately I don't have the faintest clue how to set about this . . .
Only needs to get to 10000 to get govt response so about 4000 to go shouldn't take long
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 09:18   #14
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Nice idea, but by the time the petition gets noticed, it'll be far too late.
.
Agree, but I've just signed anyway, no. 6,137 this morning so looking like a good chance of getting to 10,000.
The last time this was considered public pressure did force them to reconsider - the problem is I guess this has already been granted.
I've dealt with Natural England and their predecessor organisations a lot over the years, and their expertise has become more and more stifled, the 'best' (most committed, knowledgeable) people have tended to leave, and they've become increasingly toothless,increasingly controlled by landowning / hunting interests, and their budgets / staff numbers slashed.
Of course now we have Andrea Leadsom in charge we can expect to see 'upland farmers paid for helping butterflies, while the ones with big fields grow the cattle and sheep' (approximate quote)...the optimists could read into that a commitment to rewilding the uplands - I'm not so confident!
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 11:45   #15
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Only needs to get to 10000 to get govt response so about 4000 to go shouldn't take long
It'll take a week or two, and then another 2-3 weeks of Govt. procrastination to issue a spineless response. By then, the Buzzards will have been shot - if they haven't already been shot last week, within a day or two of the licence being signed

Last edited by Nutcracker : Tuesday 9th August 2016 at 14:40.
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 12:55   #16
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What's the RSPB stance, a block vote should raise a million!

It's a matter of awareness, needs to appear in mainstream publications, perhaps a higher profile message somewhere on Birdforum with a direct appeal for votes?

Nutty 'licence'......



Andy

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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 13:55   #17
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Hi Jos,

You are making a valid point, it's just that I feel whereas food crops or domestic livestock are providing an essential resource pheasants are providing a nice target for people to have a bit of a bang at. Recreation is all well and good (it's why most of us are on the forum when all's said and done) but I don't like to think that anything should have to die to guarantee a bit of fun.

James.
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 14:41   #18
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Nutty 'licence'......
Arrgh! Dratted insidious creeping american influences
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Old Tuesday 16th August 2016, 16:20   #19
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Natural England claimed that the licence would be "time-limited with stringent conditions" and that "only buzzards in and immediately around the animal pens" would be killed, "not on passing birds". It now transpires that this is to be 'enforced' by asking the applicant to fill in a form (see attached screen grab taken from Twitter of a FoI request by Steve Harris, a former PWCO)! Not exactly hard to work out a potential problem here is it?
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Old Tuesday 16th August 2016, 17:03   #20
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Natural England claimed that the licence would be "time-limited with stringent conditions" and that "only buzzards in and immediately around the animal pens" would be killed, "not on passing birds". It now transpires that this is to be 'enforced' by asking the applicant to fill in a form (see attached screen grab taken from Twitter of a FoI request by Steve Harris, a former PWCO)! Not exactly hard to work out a potential problem here is it?
Have they any provided proof yet for their theory that buzzards take live pheasants?
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Old Tuesday 16th August 2016, 17:14   #21
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A couple of weeks ago I wrote to my MP asking the following specific questions:

1) How, precisely, will Natural England ensure that that the gamekeeper(s) to whom the licence has been granted will actually conform to the terms of that licence?

2) How will Natural England determine that the licence has not been used surreptitiously as a carte blanche to remove more birds than the number specified?

3) What are the non-lethal measures that will be employed alongside this control?

4) Why are the rearing pens not already Buzzard-proof and what measures are being taken to ensure that they will be?

5) How many pheasants annually has this estate been prevented from releasing because of attacks by Buzzards?

6) How many pheasants does the estate anticipate that the control measures will now enable it to release that would not otherwise have been released

7) What proportion will this increase be of the total number that the estate expects to release?

I don't think these questions were unreasonable. All of them should have been considered and resolved robustly before any licence was granted, so a reply should be a straightforward matter.

This morning I received a formal reply, through my MP, from Natural England. This reply totally ignored all of the questions I posed and merely regurgitated the stock explanation that NE posted on their website on 5 August (and which I had already seen). As it happens, this does provide some sort of answer to my question 4), but that is purely coincidental. For a supposedly accountable body to treat legitimate enquiries with such laziness, sloppiness and downright discourtesy inspires no confidence whatsoever in Defra's and Natural England's competence. Naturally I have conveyed my dissatisfaction to my MP and asked for my questions to be properly addressed, but I do not hold out much hope because, frankly, I doubt that NE have many of the answers. NE's reply that I linked above does intimate that the problem may lie with released birds returning to the pen area, so NE could dead-bat my questions 5-7 by giving a strictly literal reply in which the numbers would probably be minimal or zero, but if they don't want yet another letter they'd do well to address the obvious point I'm making.

If it turns out that these points have been properly considered and NE can demonstrate why they are not sufficient to mitigate the problem satisfactorily, then I might - just might - be able to accept that NE acted within reason. Not that that would make me feel any better.

Last edited by Jack Dawe : Tuesday 16th August 2016 at 17:35.
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Old Tuesday 16th August 2016, 18:27   #22
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That is an excellent series of questions Jack and I would have thought Natural England might have anticipated most of them before embarking on it's current course. I understand that the individual requesting the control measures is claiming that Buzzards are effecting his economic prospects but I wonder if this is offset in a wider sense by the amount of Rabbits that they predate. Given that Rabbits are regarded as an agricultural pest I would have thought a free and environmentally sustainable control would be welcome.

I note that this measure will be effectively self policing but anyone familiar with the industry's record in the past will not be confident. If a limited programme of Buzzard control is deemed necessary, and I don't believe that it is justified, then a third party should be brought in to conduct the control. As I stated in a previous post I would prefer someone who can recognise and separate Buzzards from similar species, one who will put as much effort into non lethal measures and who will also limit the bag to ten birds. Forgive my distrust but I feel that should the licenses become more easily attainable now that a precedent has been set some keepers might allow some mission creep to sneak in.

A final thought, has the Pheasant killing industry or their obliging chums at NE made any effort to refine or improve the design of Pheasant rearing pens?. I'm not aware of any significant impact on the chicken rearing business by Buzzards, might lessons be there to be learned?

James.

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Old Wednesday 17th August 2016, 07:47   #23
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Another petition

This time from Care2 - currently over 10,000 UK signatories

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb...tID=2147755133
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Old Wednesday 17th August 2016, 08:43   #24
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If the Buzzards are so common the killing could be restricted to a specific day with observers present to ensure that excess are not shot....

What am I talking about! If a pheasant farm thinks buzzards are taking 100 pheasants then they should pay for a 100 more not be allowed to kill the buzzards - its not their fault that they are too lazy to ensure protection for the stock or poor release plans. Perhaps they should ban all motorists within a 10 mile radius of a release pen to limit road deaths - better still reduce the speed limit to 10mph and take out licenses to kill passing motorists exceeding this limit and thereby risking the lives of their precious pheasants!

I grew up in Suffolk when there weren't any buzzards - there were still lots of pheasants lost though. And at the end of the day you only want to shoot them...
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Old Wednesday 17th August 2016, 13:33   #25
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Well said, Rosbifs. I don't know for sure the identity of the estate in question and I don't know what roads are nearby, but in general there must be thousands more pheasants killed annually by cars than by Buzzards. I really don't see the rationale for control. If Buzzards take a few, so what?
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