Thank you to over 900 people who have supported our crowdfunder to challenge the casual killing of wildlife in Wales. This is now fully funded.
We are waiting for news from the slowly moving legal system about whether we can take this issue to a judicial review. We are confident that we have a strong legal case and we believe that the current general licences in Wales are unlawful, unscientific and unjustified.
It’s important that the status quo is challenged and thank you to all who have supported us in this case.
As Wild Justice wrote on their crowdfunding page, they are seeking a judicial review of the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to issue General Licences GL001, GL002 and GL004 on 1 January 2020. Similar licences apply to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and our case will have implications in those countries too.
NRW’s licences allow the unlimited killing of a range of birds without those killing the birds having to apply for a licence, without having to justify why the action is necessary, without having to explain why alternative non-lethal measures such as scaring or proofing are ineffective or impracticable, and without having to report on how many birds are killed. All a person needs to do to ‘qualify’ to kill unlimited numbers of these birds is to claim to have read and understood the relevant General Licence.
Wild Justice are particularly concerned about General Licence GL004 which allows unlimited killing of Jay, Jackdaw, Magpie and Carrion Crow for alleged conservation purposes. We believe that Jay, Jackdaw and Magpie should be removed from this licence altogether and that any licence to allow killing of Carrion Crows for nature conservation purposes should be much more constrained as to time of year, location etc
Wild Justice believes that NRW is operating an unlawful and scientifically discredited licensing system which permits the casual killing of large numbers of otherwise protected birds. We contend that it is NRW’s legal responsibility to satisfy itself that killing these birds is an appropriate last resort but that it has failed to do so.
As Wild Justice (and us, and a growing number of other concerned campaigners and conservationists) have pointed out the General Licence system is a clear example of how wildlife killing is largely unregulated in the UK. The system is lax and has allowed millions of birds to be killed without any proper oversight or regulation.
Or as we might put it, the General Licence is an essential element of the war on wildlife here in the UK, and it needs to be inspected, overhauled, and either removed entirely or at the very least made fit for the 21st century.