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We work to expose and end the cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of sport

The elephant in the room

Posted 03/11/2011 by League Campaigner

Recently we‘ve been keeping you up to date on raptor persecution across the UK. This week the RSPB has released anew report which confirms there were a staggering 128 incidents last year. I think one of the most shocking reports was the poisoning of a majestic golden eagle in Northern Ireland after a recent introduction programme!

The highest number of reported incidents against birds of prey and owls was 54 in North Yorkshire. The Highlands reported 41 crimes, while Derbyshire and Northumberland recorded 20 incidents each. Coincidence that some of the hotspots are in the highest density areas for shooting estates in UK?

This report follows a series of other publications, fromRSPB Scotland and from theScience and Advice for Scottish Agriculture which documents the deliberate targeting of birds of prey by unscrupulous land owners and managers.

I get annoyed when the shooting industry protest that there is no link between them and these incidents. But let‘s face it, the cold hard facts are that constituently year on year this wildlife crime is happening in the same areas where large scale shoots occur. You can‘t get away from this and it needs to be move vigorously addressed if we are to see a meaningful decline in raptor persecution.

To tackle this problem of illegal poisonings the RSPB is calling on England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow the Scottish model to outlaw the possession of poisons used to illegally kill wildlife. In Scotland, where the controls have been in place since 2005 and a list of banned pesticides has been produced, 10 convictions have been secured under the legislation.

Indeed this proposal would lead to more convictions and possibly act as a deterrent against those who deliberately poison birds of prey. But once again the elephant in the room is the shooting industry. More needs to be done to address and exposethe culture within the industry to poisoning, snaring and other dodgy practices.

Add your comment



  • Chris

    03/11/2011 06:38

    Let us not forget that this disgusting industry is supported by all the main parties at Westminster, including the Labour Party.

  • M Stoneman

    03/11/2011 07:17

    The Shooting Industry claim there is no link between them and the poisoning of birds of borrow a quote from Bernard Shaw, those who are willing to abuse animals are well capable of lying about it

  • eddie

    04/11/2011 08:02

    Think you got that wrong M Stoneman;the shooting industry has never claimed there is no link between 'them' and the poisoning of birds of prey.Or perhaps you could prove me wrong by passing on your source of information to substantiate your claim. The poisoning of raptors does occur unfortunately,but is neither denied nor condoned by any of the shooting organisations,let alone the 'industry'.Unlawful acts against raptors does the shooting industry no favours,and anyone caught in their persecution should be prosecuted.

  • Willow

    12/12/2011 12:51

    I'm really sorry guys but have none of you read either the full criminal justice figures or the report by The Song Bird Trust? The actual number of raptor poisoning convictions is more like twenty than the figures profered by the RSPB. In addition what the RSPB is loathed to report is that 40 million song birds are killed each year by raptors and that all but one species of raptors are experiencing year on year population growth. Neither is the RSPB keen to publish that it culled over three hundred foxes over its sites and took part in the total extermination of a mammal species on a British controlled island to protect native birds. Isn't this another's case of you see what we want you to see and we'll cover up the rest. Whilst some rogue keepers might be taking raptor control into their own hands, the good they do overall far out weighs the bad. After all if it wasn't for game keepers on the Scottish upland moors are wader populations would be decimated as would the native grey partridge. Let's have a balance narrative please.

  • sheryl

    26/01/2012 03:19

    Willow AKA connormeadgundogs ...Yes lets have a balanced narrative, You mention the RSPB culled foxes over it's sites, this would be part of their conservation management, also the extermination of a mammal be it rats or hedgehogs to protect rare birds and their eggs is also a conservation issue. So as this is a website against animals treated cruelly in sport I think you are missing the point ! The RSPB do not use dogs to rip apart foxes for sport nor do they see how many birds or other wildlife they can kill by shooting, trapping, snaring and poisoning all in the name of sport. These issues are being used by yourself to try to undermine the league and also the work the RSPB do such as conserving biodiversity on their sites, nobody is covering anything up ? I'm sure most people know the RSPB has to manage their sites in order to keep a balance whether they agree with it or not. On another note I see in the papers yesterday the gamekeeper Glenn Brown has lost his appeal, he now has to pay another £7,000 costs on top of his original fine of £10,000 for seven charges relating to the illegal use of a trap baited with a live pigeon in order to take birds of prey, the intentional taking of a sparrowhawk and a number of animal welfare offences. Since 1990 there have been over 100 gamekeepers convicted of crimes relating to the despicable persecution of birds of prey all in the name of your sport !

  • Mikaell

    11/02/2012 03:01

    At about mid-day today 17-12 2010 my wife and I were at Meole Brace retial park Shrewsbury and in trees outside Halfords there was a group of Waxwing numbering approx:20

  • sheryl

    16/02/2012 03:26

    Mikaell - That's brilliant, but I have to ask, my post above yours was written a few weeks ago and we are now in the year 2012, so why have you wrote you saw waxwings today 17-12 2010 ? I'm just wondering.

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