The Countryside Alliance (CA), British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Moorland Association (MA) and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) – four of the largest organisations representing shooting in England and Wales – have been joined by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in issuing the following joint statement condemning all forms of raptor persecution:
“There is no excuse for the illegal killing of any bird of prey, and we unreservedly condemn all such acts. The shooting community has been tarnished with a reputation for persecuting raptors, and while many reports of such persecution have proven to be false and confirmed cases are decreasing year-on-year, the illegal killing of birds of prey continues to be carried out by a small minority of irresponsible individuals. We strongly condemn their actions and have a zero tolerance policy towards any such incident. These people have no place in a sector that is otherwise overwhelmingly positive; one that is the economic driver for many of our more remote communities, and the largest contributor to conservation schemes in England and Wales. Our countryside is a managed landscape and it is an environment in which there can be instances of some species coming into clear conflict with land managers. But two developments should serve to emphasise that the illegal killing of birds of prey is unjustified and self-destructive. Firstly, after the successful Judicial Review brought by Ricky McMorn against Natural England in 2015, farmers, gamekeepers and others working to create an environment that balances human and ecological interests should be reassured that Natural England will treat applications for wildlife licences – including those to control buzzards – more consistently. Secondly, the trial brood management scheme for hen harriers provides relief for land managers suffering high predation losses during the nesting season in the uplands”.