Category: Blog Posts

Bangladesh | National Ketoprofen Ban

The Oriental White-backed Vulture of India and southeast Asia was so abundant up until the 1980s that it was considered one of the most common large birds of prey in the world. Once numbering several million individuals, just a few decades later it was listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered after an almost incomprehensible 99.9% decline.Iin Asia especially vultures have been almost wiped out through the use of anti-inflammatory drugs like Diclofenac, which are routinely given to cattle. Vultures scavenging on the carcasses of cattle that have been recently treated with the drug, develop gout, kidney failure and die within just a few days. Diclofenac was banned over a decade ago, but was quickly replaced with a similar drug, Ketoprofen, which is also deadly to vultures. So the ban reported by SAVE (Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction) is a significant step forward…

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Petition | Introduce a national fishing line recycling scheme

Recently launched by Brighton-based Drew Taylor, this government e-petition runs until August 2021. Drew says that he wants to “highlight ways we can make small changes through education and increased accessibility to recycling points”. Is recycling fishing line an important issue though? Absolutely. Birds and other wildlife are regularly caught up in the almost invisible monofilament lines (and the hooks attached to them) that are all too frequently left behind by recreational anglers. And according to the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS), which began in 2016, the amount of line discarded per annum (if 2 million UK anglers only re-spools 2 reels with 200m of monofilament line once a year) is a staggering 400 MILLION METRES. And that the amount of time it takes for heavy monofilament to degrade in a landfill is 600 YEARS. The ANLRS is a positive step forward but if successful this petition would add legislative weight and government funding and help make recycling a ‘normal’ part of angling – which seems to us like a very smart idea.

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Ireland | Reminder of hedge-cutting ban during nesting season

The UK legislation protecting birds and their nests is the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the various amendments and provisions that have followed since. Ireland is of course not covered by UK legislation, so it was interesting to read a timely reminder on the law in Ireland that has just been published in the online TheJournal.ie. The relevant law in Ireland is set out in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Heritage Act 2018. These Acts stipulate that “it is an offence to destroy vegetation on uncultivated land between the 1st of March and the 31st of August each year”. There are numerous exceptions (of course) but on the face of it, it does seem to offer nesting birds some measure of protection. However, as the comments below TheJournal’s article note (and we often point out ourselves), legislation on its own is next to useless if it’s not enforced…

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Suffolk police and the Wildlife & Countryside Act

The following blog post was sent to us on behalf of Suffolk-based George Millins, and highlights an issue that we have highlighted many times on this site: wildlife legislation ONLY EVER protects wildlife when it is enforced. If the agencies supposed to be enforcing the law (in this case Suffolk police) don’t know or understand the legislation (the Wildlife & Countryside Act), that protection is often lost and important species destroyed. While the site involved here may have been small, as the post points out, the slow-worms and common lizards present on it were supposed to be protected from killing and injury by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

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Another Peregrine poisoned on a Peak District grouse moor

Another day, and the RSPB are having to write yet another press-release (posted below) describing yet another dead Peregrine found poisoned inside one of our so-called ‘national parks’ – the notorious ‘Dark Peak’ region of the Peak District National Park, a raptor persecution hotspot dominated by grouse farms and patrolled by gamekeepers. This particular Peregrine was found next to a baited Wood Pigeon by a fell runner nine months ago, and the toxicology results have only just been released. Not Carbofuran this time, but another favourite of the ‘professional poisoner’: bendiocarb, a constituent of the infamous ‘Nidderdale Cocktail’. Why the delay in letting the public know about highly potent illegal poisons being used in an open area with public access is not currently known. Let’s hope it’s a Covid-related issue and not ‘shielding’ of a more sinister type…If you would like to help stop this in the future, please learn to Recognise incidents of wildlife crime, learn how to Record them properly, and always Report them: even if nothing seems to be done immediately, it does help establish a pattern and help to ensure that the ‘professionals’ know we’re out there watching them.

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Petition | Call for nature’s recovery by 2030

Over 50 nature conservation groups have joined together to urge the Prime Minister to make sure this crucial change gets through. While the amendment would apply to England only (because the Environment Bill’s provisions are mostly restricted to England) a strong response to the petition will influence the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland too. You can sign this petition on behalf of English wildlife wherever you live and help to make a difference – so please do. As Mark Avery pithily put it in an email today “if you care for wildlife in England you should sign this petition, please, unless you fully trust this government and future governments to reverse the decline in wildlife without a legally binding amendment to this bill. Please add your voice on Day 1 of this campaign.

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Scotland | Mountain Hares are now a protected species

Today is being hailed as #MountainHareDay, the day that legislation comes into force which should be a huge step forward in the protection of Mountain Hares – native wild animals, let’s not forget, that only needed protection because gamekeepers on Scotland’s grouse moors were shooting so many of them (why? for the reasons they usually eradicate wildlife from the grouse moor farms of the uplands – to protect shooting profits). As of today new regulations mean that it is illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take Mountain Hares without a licence. The ‘without a licence’ clause is of course extremely important here. How easy it will be to get a licence and, crucially, how strictly Scottish Natural Heritage (the licence-issuers) will ensure that licence criteria are adhered to will be a vital measure of how seriously this legislation is taken. However, cynicism aside, this is a fantastic achievement by a large number of people, but Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, in particular, has been key to protecting this iconic animal. Our thanks and congratulations go to her…

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Massive thumbs-down to NI’s fox hunters

Another gratifyingly very bad day for fox hunting (to add to dire financials caused by lockdown, leaked webinars, media coverage of pets being killed and of hounds being killed on the road, landowners suspending licences for so-called ‘trail hunting’ etc) as figures released by the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday showed overwhelming support for a ban on hunting with dogs following a country-wide consultation. An Alliance Party member’s bill to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland (where it is still legal) gathered a huge 18,425 responses – perhaps the largest response ever to a private member’s bill there: 78% of those respondents were in favour of a proposed law protecting wild animals from being killed by dogs. Which begs the question: for how much longer can the grubby hobby of chasing foxes around the countryside exist before it is properly outlawed altogether? Going by the panicked response to every ‘threat’ to fox hunting, and despite what they tell the media, deep down even the most aredent lobbyists must know that the answer is ‘not for very much longer’…

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