Author: Charlie Moores

Red Kite shot near Cotswolds shooting estate

A Red Kite (a protected species of course was shot close to the village of Salperton in the Cotswolds, about eight miles east of Cheltenham, on March 12th. Who would want to shoot a Red Kite? There are few details at the moment, but interestingly the local police released a tweet (see above) with two hashtags that presumably suggest where their thoughts lie: farming and shooting. alking of the shooting industry, anyone living locally will have had beels rung by the mention of Salperton. Yes, it is a village near Cheltenham, but it’s also the location of Salperton Park, and if you Google ‘pheasant shoot salperton’ – well, suddenly a possible connection between pheasants and blasting down a Red Kite (which will possibly have been scouting out a nesting territory in March when the shooting took place) emerges…

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Jonathon Seed | Talking with ITV News

Jonathon Seed, former huntmaster of the Avon Vale Hunt and Wiltshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Comissioner candidate, on being interviewed on ITV News (April 14th) seemed startled that the journalist should ask him about his hunting past – saying (as he repeatedly says) that no-one is interested in the fact he spent years killing wildlife – and as we repeatedly say, ‘Actually, yes they are’. Check out our previous posts and the number of RTs and likes our tweet got after just a few hours online…

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Bee-flies – not dangerous unless you’re a solitary bee

We’ve written a fair bit about our love for – and the importance of – insects on this site. Their populations are collapsing globally though, and while we may not be able to do much about the over-use of pesticides by the agricultural industry, if we’re lucky enough to have a garden we can at least do something to look after the insects that live right next to us. Not killing them because we’re not sure what they are is a good start…Which brings us to a strange, fast-flying insect which makes an appearance in gardens all over southern Britain at this time of the year, triggering a flurry of online identification requests and letters to newspapers: the bee-fly.

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Kudos to the Yorkshire Post

We’ve written a number of posts praising the straight-up reporting of raptor persecution in the Yorkshire Post (a daily broadsheet published in Leeds and covering the whole of what used to be Yorkshire as well as parts of north Derbyshire and Lincolnshire), most notably by Grace Newton (see for example – North Yorkshire ‘black hole for raptors’ says Yorkshire Post and North Yorkshire | Peregrine falcons found poisoned in quarry). For a regional newspaper that is sold in an area dominated by shooting estates that takes courage. Now in another notable and entirely laudable move, the Yorkshire Post has published a ridiculous piece of propaganda by shooting lobbyists BASC (we’re guessing it would have been difficult to refuse) but then slapped a notice on it making clear that BASC paid for the advertorial (defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a “a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article”) and that it does not reflect the views of the newspaper.

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Why is it so hard to prosecute wildlife crime?

“All wildlife crime investigations are extremely complex and without sufficient, strong evidence, it can be very difficult to bring about a successful prosecution. We know this is frustrating to members of the public and it is frustrating to our officers but we can only act within the legislation available.” (North Yorks Police ). While there is no doubt at all that some police officers on some forces actively support illegal fox hunting (either because they hurt themselves or their colleagues do) the Hunting Act (ie the legislation) needs strengthening to remove the exemptions which make evading the law so easy and pursuing hunters in court so difficult.

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Operation Easter | Targetting egg thieves

While the number of egg thieves has dwindled away to almost nothing, the idiots who continue to raid nests have become extremely ‘professional’, obsessive to the point of compulsion, and can have a disproportionate impact by specifically targetting rare breeding birds – in some instances virtually removing an entire generation of rare or recently-established species by stealing their eggs. A s recently as May 2018 over 5,000 wild bird eggs were seized from a property in Norfolk belonging to a Daniel Lingham. The eggs were from 298 different species, including rare and declining birds such as Nightingales, Nightjars, and Turtle Doves. The RSPB’s Mark Thomas described Lingham at the time as a “one-man crime wave in terms of rare birds in Norfolk” whose actions had an “incredible impact on birds both regionally and nationally”. Helping stop egg thieves is something that we can all do though…

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Big Garden Birdwatch – we’re losing our ‘common’ birds too

Lockdown, we’re told. has helped us appreciate our gardens. Stuck in our homes we have turned to staring longingly out of the window, grateful for glimpses of colour as birds like Greenfinches and Great Tits flit over our fences in a kaleidoscope of feathers…Will that last? It would be wonderful if the UK’s collective focus on the birds that do their best to survive alongside us had become permanent, because it’s not just farmland, upland, woodland and wetland birds that are in trouble – according to the results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch (BGBW), the more or less official national garden bird survey, so are our garden birds. But that is something that we can all help to turn around…

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AXA | Insuring fox hunting

Fox hunts (and there are still hundreds operating across the UK despite the passing of the Hunting Act which banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs almost twenty years ago) operate as businesses. Many (scandalously in our opinion) received grants to help them through lockdown – according to a report in The Independent in September last year, councils in England and Wales had by then already given hunts more than £160,000 of taxpayers’ money in grants intended to help businesses struggling during the pandemic – and those ‘businesses’ need to be insured. A recent series of posts by the campaign group Hunting Leaks has shown that insurance is being provided by AXA, a French-based multinational insurance group which reported gross revenues of €96.723 billion for 2020. Here in the UK Axa trades as Axa UK, with subsidiaries including Axa Insurance, Axa Wealth and Axa Health, and Swiftcover. We have no doubt at all that AXA and Swiftcover want to do the right thing. Many of us are offering to help them do exactly that. All they need to do is ask…

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