Another dead Buzzard reinforces the lie of ‘national parks’

Our so-called ‘national parks’ are not what many of us imagine. They are neither wildlerness nor pristine, nor do they protect the wildlife that lives within them. They are in fact largely privately-owned, large areas are run as shooting clubs for the wealthy, and birds of prey especially are probably safer in parks and farmland. The shooting of yet another Buzzard in the wildlife crime hotspot of the Peak District ‘national park’ will come as little surprise to anyone paying attention. Raptors frequently die in ‘national parks’, and we’ve reported on that fact many times. That is because ‘national parks’ are heavily gamekeepered, are blighted with grouse shooting estates, and birds of prey are simply not tolerated. Anyone walking anywhere near a shooting estate in a ‘national park’ looking for birds of prey won’t find them.

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South Yorkshire | Poisoned Peregrine Update

Last month (Oct 26th) we reported on a Peregrine poisoning in South Yorkshire. Initially found alive the bird was taken into care but later died. Forensic analysis determined that it had been poisoned with Bendiocarb, an acutely toxic insecticide. South Yorkshire Police’s (SYP) Fran Robbs de la Hoyde said at the time that, “This was a deliberate act that caused the death of a beautiful and protected bird. I am saddened by this and I am asking for your help to bring those responsible to justice.” Yesterday (Nov 17th) SYP raided a property under warrant, and seized what they have described as ‘a number of suspicious items’. They stressed just how important community cooperation has been in the case…

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RSPB launches burning reporting website

The RSPB is today launching a website where members of the public can submit their records of managed burning in northern England’s uplands as part of showing the Government where burning is still taking place. The charity will then analyse the records to see if they’re likely to be on peat soils (to indicate where blanket bog should be) and in protected areas (SSSIs, SACs). An IUCN report on peatland estimated that the UK may host between 8.8 and 14.8% of Europe’s peatland area and about 13% of the world resource of blanket bog. They state that though blanket bog has a species-poor assemblage it “contains an exceptionally high proportion of species with legal protection under UK and European conservation law“. Blanket bog forms the largest expanse of semi-natural habitat in the UK, but almost three quarters of peatlands in England are already damaged or degraded, according to Natural England, with burning a key driver.

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Guest Post: Hunt Investigation Team | #SnareAware

“In 2016, a majority of UK MPs voted to ban the manufacture, sale, possession and use of snares outright. The government ignored this and instead introduced an unregulated voluntary Code of Practice. Since then, a damning catalogue of breaches has been documented by HIT, NASC and other groups. The Code of Practice is demonstrably failing on multiple levels and snare users have consistently proven themselves incapable of self-regulation. An outright ban on snaring in the UK is needed…The situation is brought into sharp relief when we consider the huge numbers of snares in use in England and Wales – hundreds for each shooting estate and many more on farmland. These high numbers of unregulated snares in use inevitably lead to an unacceptably high rate of suffering.” Guest post, Hunt Investigation Team

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Ireland | 1,200 ‘protected’ hares held for coursing released into the wild

1200 wild-caught hares that were being held by coursing clubs have been released back into the wild because covid restrictions mean that coursing has been suspended. What really struck us was a disingenuous platitude quoted in the Irish Times which reports Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage saying that “it formally requested the clubs to release all of the captive hares due to the importance of “the welfare and conservation of a protected species”. Disingenuous? Yes, because guess who is the Minister responsible for licencing the hunting and capture of hares for coursing in the first place? Of course, that would be Minister Darragh O’Brien…

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Hunts on the run

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) have obtained a series of webinars which reveal the efforts hunting is now having to go to ‘prove’ they are ‘trail hunting’ (or hunting legally as they call it). Leading figures in hunting (including former police officers) are clearly taking the impact of sabbing very seriously indeed, and are recorded giving a LOT of advice about overt trail laying, filming everything, storing video long-term, and being very careful not to get into fights with what they typically call ‘antis’. Hunting is being forced to comply with the law (or at least are being forced to being seen to be complying with the law) because of pressure from sabs and monitors and appear to know that the days of just killing wildlife and blagging their way out of trouble is over. As we have said many times, the sabs and monitors who have achieved this are heroes to a person.

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