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DEFRA licence farce

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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 09:33   #1
Gus Horsley
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DEFRA licence farce

Hi

I recently got involved in a local incident where a roofer was taking it upon himself to shoot gulls (see "Gull Persecution" thread). During this time I e-mailed DEFRA to see what the criteria were for operating under a General License to cull birds. Imagine my surprise to discover that, in order to use a General License, you only need to download one from the internet, fill in your details, and off you go! Blam! You don't need to inform DEFRA that you have a licence, it's apparently valid for 5 years (although it's easy enough to just download a new one when you feel like it), and they have no idea how many are issued and who has one.

Call me daft, but isn't this taking the p*ss, or am I missing something? What do you think?

By the way, if you want a General Licence, or if you know anybody who's trigger-happy and wants an inexpensive birthday present, go to: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-cou...en-licence.htm



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Gus
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 09:36   #2
Jos Stratford
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Agreed, a total joke!
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 11:01   #3
barontan2418
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Why in Gods name is the Collared Dove on that list? what damage do they do ? I only ever see them in pairs.

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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 12:32   #4
KnockerNorton
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Now hang on a minute, if Defra had to process every application for a General Licence to remove a gull nest or shoot a Rook they'd never get anything else done - and we'd be paying for it in tax. The General Licence is issued every year, and there is no need to have a hard copy or fill anything in. It just exists, so that people can operate under the published specifications. For another thing, depending on what type of weapon this bloke was using and where, a crime may have been committed (e.g was it in a public place, was the weapon loaded/covered in a public face, was there an adequate backstop). Also, the General Licence to kill/take birds is meant as a last resort - the Licence states that you should try all non-lethal methods first. You have to be able to prove that there is a need to remove the birds, and also that shooting was the only option. So, shooting as a first option may also be a crime.

Collared Dove is on the list as they are an agricultural and foodstuff pest, and may also be a public nhealth hazard (they can transmit various pathogens). There is a roost of 400+ in East park, Hull, for example, and gatherings of several hundred are not uncommon where food is plentiful. They can be a pest in a similar way to feral pigeons.
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 12:58   #5
Nigel G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offord
Also, the General Licence to kill/take birds is meant as a last resort - the Licence states that you should try all non-lethal methods first. You have to be able to prove that there is a need to remove the birds, and also that shooting was the only option. So, shooting as a first option may also be a crime..
This section of the Terms and Conditions was actually re-worded just after the licence was re-issued this year so that non-lethal methods need not be tried providing "the authorised person is satisfied that appropriate non-lethal methods of control such as scaring are either ineffective or impracticable".
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 13:22   #6
ed keeble
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On the plus side, sparrow and starling have recently come off the list, so these things are not set in stone. Rook next?
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 14:12   #7
Gus Horsley
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The trouble with the General Licence is that it isn't regulated. The bloke in question just decided to take a pot at anything that was vaguely in the way of his business, ie roofing, on the grounds that it was disturbing his workers. He got nailed for it since he was bringing birds down in public places but still pleaded ignorance. However, my point is that anyone can get a licence and then interpret it seemingly any way they want, until someone points out the error of their ways, by which time it could be too late. Suppose somebody's not too hot on species recognition? Personally I think there should be far tighter controls.

I also think that humans are pests as well, far more so than any species of bird, but I certainly don't advocate culling them. Well, maybe one or two individuals...

Gus
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 14:28   #8
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The licence is prescriptive enough - it clearly sets out what is and is not lawful, in the context of the Acts. It is regulated by the criminal law system, in that if someone contravenes the act, and are caught, then they get busted. Just like your guy did.

The television licence isn't 'regulated' either, but that works ok...nobody seems to need training.
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Old Thursday 11th August 2005, 17:41   #9
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"However, my point is that anyone can get a licence and then interpret it seemingly any way they want, until someone points out the error of their ways, by which time it could be too late."

Gus, can they? You seem to have done so also.
One would suggest that you actually take the time to read the G/L's.
Firstly, they are issued on a YEARLY basis, UNLESS DEFRA, on the instruction of the minister, modifies them, as has happened this year. They normally run from 1st Jan to 31st Dec, same year.
Snipped

"Personally I think there should be far tighter controls."

The controls are tight enough. What one has to remember is that this legislation has to be taken alongside and conjoined with other legislation, such as the firearms act etc, and the constraints held within.

"Call me daft, but isn't this taking the p*ss, or am I missing something? What do you think?"
I think that you are missing something, that is, a full understanding how the protection legislation actually works.

I am curious, which part do you actually fill in??


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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 07:35   #10
Gus Horsley
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The point I was trying to make was that, in the specific case I mentioned, somebody thought they were able to take it upon themselves to cull birds when they had no legal right to do so. Whether the licences are issued on a yearly or five-yearly basis doesn't alter the fact that certain individuals use a licence as an excuse to exercise their apparent right to play God. As pointed out, my interpretation of the licence may not agree with others. At the end of the day there are certain ambiguities within it.

When all said and done my personal belief is that nobody has the right to play God and decide what should live and what should die. As a species we humans have wrecked the harmony of nature. Any problems with birds, rats and other vermin are mostly self-created. Sometimes we need to look beyond the superficial nature of things.

This will probably set a few teeth on edge!

Gus
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 07:47   #11
Jos Stratford
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Okay, could someone explain to me how Jays have become a species dangerous to public health and safety?


Licence (WLF100087) to kill or take certain birds (3) includes Jay! This "permits authorised persons to kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their nests or the taking or destruction of their eggs for the purposes of preserving public health or public safety."
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 08:07   #12
Anthony Morton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford
Okay, could someone explain to me how Jays have become a species dangerous to public health and safety?


Licence (WLF100087) to kill or take certain birds (3) includes Jay! This "permits authorised persons to kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their nests or the taking or destruction of their eggs for the purposes of preserving public health or public safety."
Licence WLF100087 is designed specifically for the protection of wild birds not public health or safety.

Since Jays take eggs and nestlings of other species this is undoubtedly why they are included on this licence.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 08:37   #13
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This is partly the point I am trying to make. We have decided that jays are somehow committing a crime to other wildlife, when in fact they're just doing what they've always done. I doubt if any jay has ever realised it is offending human sensitivities by its actions, and even if it did, is it a valid reason to persecute them?

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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 08:39   #14
Jos Stratford
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Okay Mr Morton, a misprint, perhaps you didn't realise, I should have written license ...88, not ...87

So, a copy of their website:

To kill or take certain birds (4) (WLF100088)
Permits authorised persons to kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their nests or the taking or destruction of their eggs for the purposes of preserving public health or public safety. The species on the licence are:

Common name Scientific name
...
...
Jay
Garrulus glandarius



So, my question remains, could someone explain to me how Jays have become a species dangerous to public health and safety?
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Last edited by Jos Stratford : Friday 12th August 2005 at 08:43.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 08:50   #15
alan_rymer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford
Okay Mr Morton, a misprint, perhaps you didn't realise, I should have written license ...88, not ...87

So, a copy of their website:

To kill or take certain birds (4) (WLF100088)
Permits authorised persons to kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their nests or the taking or destruction of their eggs for the purposes of preserving public health or public safety. The species on the licence are:

Common name Scientific name
...
...
Jay
Garrulus glandarius


So, my question remains, could someone explain to me how Jays have become a species dangerous to public health and safety?
They have always been considered vermin, and shot, its only recently that numbers have grown enough that you can see then virtually any day anywhere!.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 08:55   #16
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If you notice, jay is on all of them, so it will on there for completeness as the other species (eg Canada Goose) will have been added to the other ones as ammendments. You'd still have to prove that it was necessary to kill them for the specified reason. The main reason jays are on there is to preserve game, of which they can be serious predators. Having them on there for all reasons enables keepers to kill them all year round, rather than just in the breeding season. It IS conceivable that jays could become a problem around game pens where food is available.

Gus, if you had an infection, would you take antibiotics? If so, then you're persecuting the bacteria. What right do you have? A daft point, yes, but no more so than yours. Also, where exactly are the ambiguities you mention in the licence? The licence is unambigious in that it is tested in the criminal courts when somebody is accused of inrnging it - if they vare acquitted then it is clear where rules lay, if not, ditto.

Is the real issue here that you don't approve of any law that allows people to kill any birds ever?
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:00   #17
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offord
If you notice, jay is on all of them, so it will on there for completeness as the other species (eg Canada Goose) will have been added to the other ones as ammendments. You'd still have to prove that it was necessary to kill them for the specified reason. The main reason jays are on there is to preserve game, of which they can be serious predators. Having them on there for all reasons enables keepers to kill them all year round, rather than just in the breeding season. It IS conceivable that jays could become a problem around game pens where food is available.

Erm, the license clearly has Jay on the category "for the purposes of preserving public health or public safety". You are saying it is there for "completeness", well, then yes it seems to further make a mickey of the entire system!
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:04   #18
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And then I said "It IS conceivable that jays could become a problem around game pens where food is available."

Corvids can carry various pathogens, so it is possibly to protect employees (keepers) that they're on there.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:07   #19
Gus Horsley
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Yes I do disapprove of any law that allows people to kill birds, same as I would disapprove of any law that kills humans. And there have been a few individuals in the past who have accused other humans of being vermin, and taken draconian actions to boot.

I think the licence itself is an ambiguity, otherwise it wouldn't be abused. Why have a licence at all if there are adequate laws?

And if I had an infection I would go to my doctor. There's obviously a dichotomy here, one I'm quite happy to accept. It's an imperfect world after all.

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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:14   #20
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offord
And then I said "It IS conceivable that jays could become a problem around game pens where food is available."

Corvids can carry various pathogens, so it is possibly to protect employees (keepers) that they're on there.
I have to say my heart bleeds for the poor unfortunate keepers, but why don't we just add all species on the British list to the final category because I'm sure it is conceivable that any could possibly carry some waif of a germ that could conceivably infect some person who has decided to come into close contact with them. It's a farce that opens the system to rightful criticism. And, as for those keepers, I do hope their game birds are not prone to any pathogens, otherwise we can add them to the general license too and so all go culling them too and, hey ho, problem solved!
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:19   #21
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Why don't we just exterminate everything on the planet and let nature start all over again? Oh, I just realised - we're doing that anyway!

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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:27   #22
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Well, I'm afraid it's a fact that sometimes people kill birds, legally. It's all good and well to wish for a utopian world where everyone eats grass and jays or gulls sing us to sleep with a lullaby, and nothing died ever. But, back in the real world, there are sometimes conflicts between species protection and economics or public health, but we have some of most stringent wildlife protection laws in the World. The General Licence goes a long way to enforcing them.

If you're happy to accept dichotomies and imperfect worlds, lets' accept the General Licence, shall we?
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:33   #23
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I'm not for a utopian world, far from it. Sounds kinda boring.

All right then, let's keep the General Licence, but only let responsible people have it.

At least it's got a lively debate going.

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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:36   #24
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offord
Well, I'm afraid it's a fact that sometimes people kill birds, legally. There are sometimes conflicts between species protection and economics or public health, but we have some of most stringent wildlife protection laws in the World. The General Licence goes a long way to enforcing them.
I don't doubt any of this and fully understand the (occasional, well thought-out) culls for a specific purpose for the reasons you quote above. However, my point remains and I think is valid ...a species should be on each of the license categories for a real reason, supported by data to show this. I do not accept that Jay constitutes a threat to public health or safety, though would be happy to withdraw this statement if someone can show may any data that shows a real and general threat posed by these birds.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 09:41   #25
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus Horsley
only let responsible people have it.
I also think this is a valid point, what harm is there in keeping a register of who has applied for the license (earlier a comparison was made to the 'unregulated' T.V. license - well, they know who has and hasn't got a license). If a simple register is kept, at least people who have violated its conditions in the past can be turned down if applying for another licence.
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