Author: Charlie

Badger Cull and the Bern Convention

The Badger Trust, Born Free and the advocacy group Eurogroup for Animals, lodged a complaint against the British government under the terms of the Bern Convention in December 2019. The Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard also wrote to the Bureau of the Bern Convention in early September this year claiming the Government was “in breach of its international obligation to protect vulnerable wildlife” adding “there is no scientific or ethical justification for continuing with the cruel and unnecessary badger cull”. Which begs the question: what is the Bern Convention and why do campaigners believe it might be used to protect badgers from culling? We thought we ought to find out…

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Barnsley Council backs ban on grouse moor burning

Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors has announced that Barnsley council has joined the extensive roll-call of councils and public utilities to back a ban on the rotational burning of the nation’s uplands. Burning is a tool used by the grouse industry to ensure young heather shoots for their grouse ‘farms’, but it is linked with habitat destruction, the deaths of rare reptiles, smoke pollution, flooding in communities below the moorlands, and is incompatible with the UK’s stance on the global climate emergency. We have just published a timely podcast with Luke Steele, Director and spokesperson of Ban Bloodsports here, which looks at burning as well as the option of licencing grouse shoots.

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Podcast: Luke Steele | Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors Update Oct 2020

As part of The War on Wildlife Project we’ve been writing about the calls being made by councils across northern England to ban the deliberate setting of fires on grouse moors by the grouse shooting industry. Recently Kirklees council joined Sheffield, York, Calderdale, and Wakefield Councils, plus the Mayor of Doncaster, in calling for a ban. It’s taken hard work and a great deal of support…and one of the key figures who’s been working tirelessly behind the scenes, talking with councils as well as moorland-owning utilities like Yorkshire Water, is Luke Steele, Director and spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors. Charlie Moores talked with Luke about burning and the potential licencing of grouse shoots…

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Natural England protects shoot from ‘disturbance’

A tweet showing a Natural England sign which restricts access to land to ‘avoid disturbance to game and disruption to shooting’ has (rightly) gone viral (kudos @KeggieC). What on earth is Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. “We help to protect and restore our natural world” – doing? A quick internet search leads us to a Notice of Relevant Authority Decision following review of Direction restricting CROW Access rights, and that’s when things really start to stink…It turns out the public is shut out of open access land because there may be disturbance to non-native birds ‘pre-season’, during the season, and possible disruption to the shoot on shoot days! Shut out BY NATURAL ENGLAND. Because of DISTURBANCE to a bloody shoot. Astounding…

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Guest Post | Forestry England & Fox Hunting #5 – the United Pack in Shropshire

“In Shropshire, Forestry England has been licencing the United Pack. The United Pack are a hunt I’ve encountered on National Trust land when they had a ‘trail hunting’ licence for the site, but because myself and others documented the hunt’s terriermen on the site in December 2018, the licence was revoked. On top of their regular trespass across National Trust land, information requests have revealed that the United Pack regularly hunt across Forestry England’s land without permission too, often enough for the government department to threaten the use of solicitors and then write to the Master of Foxhounds Association [MFHA]…” Guest post by Jack Riggall

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Wild Justice | Raptor Forensics Fund opens with £10K

How much can you achieve in eighteen months if you’re focussed enough and sharp enough? If you’re ‘Wild Justice’, our absolute favourite trio of wildlife crime fighters (ie Drs Mark Avery and Ruth Tingay and Chris Packham MBE), one heck of a lot – from judicial reviews to speaking at national events to (now) launching a fund to help tackle an issue close to the hearts of all concerned: forensic testing in wild raptor crime investigations…Fantastic organisation, fantastic initiative. And if the shooting industry start squawking, they should bear in mind that it’s partly their own ‘wilful blindness’ on raptor persecution that will have led to this fund being set up…

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