Tag: wild justice

Happy Second Birthday Wild Justice

Personally I find what might loosely be called ‘conservation’ to be disappointingly staid and risk-averse. So many decisions about how our countryside should be run are being determined by a handful of environmentally-damaging industries, and conservation doesn’t seem to know how to respond. The shooting industry, for example, has normalised killing on an enormous scale and has gone virtually unchallenged for far too long. Our larger, flatter-footed organisations are reactive, determinedly neutral even when they are being scavenged on by the likes of BASC (or indeed the NFU). It’s rare that something like Wild Justice comes along that is straight away so instantly appealing and that ‘feels’ like a new approach to old problems (rewilding is another, perhaps, which similarly seems to look at things differently and say, ‘There are better ways of doing this‘). Challenging bad wildlife and environmental law (which is what Wild Justice does, rather than, as those industries allege, take an oppositional stance just because they’re ‘antis’) is simple enough that it makes you think ‘How come that’s not been done before‘. But while Ruth Tingay, Mark Avery, and Chris Packham make what they do seem easy, it’s really not.

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Wild Justice | Badger petition tops 100,000

“Shooting is poorly monitored and Wild Justice believes it has never met the animal welfare standards recommended by a 2014 Independent Expert Panel, whose recommendations were accepted by DEFRA. This method of culling is inhumane and should be banned immediately.” Congratulations Wild Justice. After some very focussed work on social media (we should now start calling the three founders and Directors – Drs Mark Avery and Ruth Tingay, and Chris Packham – ‘social media influencers’ though thankfully it’s doubtful we’ll ever see any of them lording it over the rest of us by mailing in their blogs from Dubai) their epetition to get a government debate over the shooting of badgers has reached (and passed) the requisite 100,000 signatures (10,000 signatures gets you a government response, 100,000 triggers a debate at some future date).

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Wild Justice | Wales : further success on general licences.

“Wild Justice would like to thank BASC for their intervention in this case. In our opinion, BASC’s presence did nothing to change the course of this court case, which hinged on the law, except that it made it abundantly clear that BASC wished the licences to be interpreted in a much broader way with none of the restrictions of time of year or location that NRW, Wild Justice and now the court understand them to have. We thank BASC for demonstrating the impacts of the vagueness of the current published NRW licences.” A classic ‘burn’ from Dr Mark Avery, who is incredibly good at gently letting you know that he is in fact more intelligent than you are (as we can personally attest!). We can just picture his studied innocence when BASC come back at him – as they will – as he explains yet again that if you want to kill wildlife you should at least do so within the terms of the law…

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Wild Justice | ‘Wilful Blindness’ petition in court soon

Wild Justice themselves put it perfectly on their blog: “This is a surprise…”. Not because the cause doesn’t deserve its day in court, but because a VERY long time has passed since this petition elapsed. Never mind that, though, on January 25th Wild Justice will be fighting for wildlife again – and no doubt (sadly) running headlong into the same selfish lobbyists who would stand up for shooting wildlife even if the country was on its knees and almost shut down entirely by a pandemic…

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Wild Justice | ‘What gamekeepers do’

Wild Justice, the campaigning organisation that stands up for wildlife using the legal system and seeking changes to existing laws, have just mailed a hugely important press-release which looks at changes to the law impacting the role of gamekeepers which take effect in 2021. The primary role of gamekeepers is not – as lobbyists like to tell us – ‘conservation’, it is killing any wildlife that their employers (the shooting industry) claim will impact their profits. This killing, which if you or I were to do it would see us breaking the law, has been allowed under the ‘barely-there’ terms of the government-issued General Licences. The terms of these licences have always been heavily loaded in favour of shooting, and heavily against native wildlife – especially foxes, mustelids (particularly stoats and weasels), Mountain Hares, and corvids (members of the crow family: Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, Rook, and Raven – the very rare Chough is still fully protected).

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Wild Justice | General Licence Reforms

The General Licence system is essentially a way for industries (especially agriculture and shooting) to get ‘permission’ from the government to step around the laws that protect birds in England. Nominally, all wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). You and I can’t simply go out and shoot or trap birds. It’s illegal. Unless of course you and I claim that the birds we want to kill are ‘pests’ or causing us economic harm, in which case Defra will let you wave a metaphoric piece of paper around and off you go. And these ‘licences’ are unbelievably easy to get hold of: in legislative terms they’re pretty much the complimentary peanuts on Natural England’s bar, and Defra the bartender who couldn’t really give a toss how many you take or what you do with them because peanuts are cheap and anyway they have better things to do like kill badgers for the dairy industry or defend fox hunters and ‘trail hunting’.

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Wild Justice | Historic environmental legal victory on licencing bird releases

What an achievement! Wild Justice has just announced via their blog that they have secured a remarkable legal victory. After challenging Defra (the government department responsible for the environment) in court over the potential threat to protected sites and species from the unregulated releases of around 60 MILLION pheasant and red-legged partridges by the shooting industry, Wild Justice have secured a long overdue review and a future licencing scheme. On top of that, pheasants and red-legged partridges (both beautiful but non-native birds, so only found here because of shooting releases), have been added to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which places them alongside Japanese Knotweed and other species “which cause ecological, environmental or socio-economic harm”…

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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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