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Rebuttal of Telegraph claims on general licensing for shooting

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a carrion crow
A carrion crow

The Telegraph has today (Thursday) incorrectly claimed Natural England is ‘to be stripped of responsibility for shooting licences’.

The online copy states the Environment Secretary has made the decision to take control of the introduction of new general licences for shooting some types of wild birds, after Natural England revoked three of the licences last week.

Natural England is working closely with Defra to find the best way to resolve the current situation with general licences. That is our priority.

A spokesman for the Environment Secretary said:

The Secretary of State has asked officials to urgently investigate the issues around general licensing.

He is also actively exploring with Natural England what options could fix the problem as swiftly as possible.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:

This action came out of a legal challenge, and I fully understand the frustration of users and our stakeholders about the uncertainty this has caused. It was not a decision Natural England took lightly, but we had to act within the law.

It is important to understand what lessons can be learned in the longer term. But our priority is to find the best way to resolve the current situation with general licences quickly and effectively. We are working closely with our stakeholders, including Defra, to understand the best way to do this.

You can read the latest from Natural England’s chief executive, Marian Spain, on the NE blog.

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  1. Comment by Gaz posted on

    The above statements are all very good points
    The facts are there in black and white. Why did this happen last minute at the worst time of year. All pest species are deserved respect but they are taking over. In my 35 years of controlling pests for agriculture and songbirds etc i have never seen so many corvids and seed eating birds as of the last 2 years. They are in no threat at all and culling a few humanely would not even dent the population but save peoples businesses and livestock like they always have. When there are Big issues control properly and dont shoot just because you can
    If this is not resolved i see the problem escalating like the rat epidemics we have. Odd how no one mentions those clever and adaptable creatures just because most people are scared of and detest them. This is a ludicrous law that some said ,,,,,expect you to jump through hoops to warrant shooting a pest species like many have done for centuries
    So rats are ok to be killed but corvids who prey on songbird eggs and chicks etc is ok???. Come on guys is this really what we want
    I dont think Packham and his group live in the real world and just read books for some info. Get real and get out there and see the damage pest birds can do
    My family does not help as we feed the rooks crows and jackdaws and pigeons in our garden. They all come and there are lots and we know every one and every newcomer. We have done this since day one
    Most return year after year with their young so they are not doing too much harm locally hence their return every year.
    So perhaps we are helping as well as controlling pests
    Today visiting one of my farm locations i had to see a new born lamb with both eyes pecked out and still alive. Honest truth but what a way to start life and a soon a death. Very very upsetting to see . The farmer was close to tears also as he said its a job but still hurts. I know that having many pets. If a crow was attacking a new born i would shoot it instantly and take the consequences after
    Packham and friends should come and visit and see how sad and traumatic it is for all to see.
    I know it is not what was intended but some people need to see how it really is. A few rooks feeding on a ploughed field is not too bad but when crows and pigeons join things go from ok to very bad
    I know i joke but i wonder if people know the difference from a crow jackdaw and rook and raven etc. I honestly think many dont know
    The do gooder no idea brigade have caused even more suffering now for sure
    Good plan
    Shoot the ringleading pests and hope that will suffice because the licence is a joke. Please read it. Contain all livestock. Scare off with human presence.Plant crops to let pests feed then plant your income and feed crops. Who wrote this stuff its beyond belief
    Agriculture is expected to plant crops for the pests then plant their own crops????. Do the pests think they will eat the crops for them and then leave the good stuff un touched. Who writes this rubbish
    On a different topic
    Another location i shot magpies for 2 years and took notes as there were virtually no songbirds on a very large farm. Now there are 100s and they even seem to know i helped them. Dont laugh but they land on my vehicle etc as if they know they are safe and always keep close to where i am shooting. Sounds like a fairytale doesnt it. No its all true and i will protect them no matter what. Magpies were the main culprits and i have never seen so many
    I have tried to bring a happy medium and it is all i can do. Now though the songbirds will suffer as no licence yet and i applied on the first day
    Thats what you are up against.
    Who will police the ban???. I can see an officer saying sorry we can not attend your child being attacked as we have suspects who have shot a crow so we can not attend. They dont have enough resources as it is let alone burden them with more things to do
    Dont people see the obvious before making ridiculous laws
    The country is going downhill fast due to do gooders who only read books that are inaccurate and false and have no clue about the countryside and a balance of nature. Yes some things should be banned and are cruel but shooting pests when needed ???? Get real
    This is not a rant and just facts but heres my rant
    Did the so well educated on nature do gooders in co with Chris P brigade release 5000 game bird chicks. That worked well. They all died because they needed water and food and warmth to live
    The end of season clear up shoot
    Most are still alive and were populating well butnow the corvids will take care of any wild bird eggs and chicks
    Sorry its long but its so so wrong and people who have no idea try to change things for the worse but are blind to the true world
    Ask the people who see and know and are time served and educated in these matters
    Utter disgrace for agriculture and produce and wildlife in general. So so sad people with no idea can make things a very big problem and a very big mess in future years to come

    • Replies to Gaz>

      Comment by OSR KING posted on

      never thought of using a bird scarer then?? they work for me!

      • Replies to OSR KING>

        Comment by Gaz posted on

        Yes we have tried all sorts of things. Yes they work sometimes. I cover many farms for pest control and try all non lethal options first. Always have in 35 years of doing the job
        The problem is some fields are so large. We have 4 bangers on some and flags and kites. It works but only for a day even if we move them around. Cant spend all the time there as there are many farms etc i cover so i find shoot a few and a few next time and they move on, or most do. Dont shoot big numbers but i see more pests now than even 4 years ago
        Keep the balance and eat the birds. The old folks love them
        So its not all sad as many cant afford a proper meat meal
        I understand nature and its been my life. I respect all and waste nothing
        I wish people could see how things are and not just read things ,many of which are not correct. I will admit one bird scarer works well. I have had it years but it does not always keep them away
        Only shoot the old birds if i can and always keep a balance. I hope others do the same
        Keep things in context and do what is needed. If your not sure attend a course to prove you know about wildlife. Thats my advice for anyone wishing to obtain a licence for the correct reasons
        Saying that mine is still not here

  2. Comment by Brian Fielding posted on

    Getting away from general license problem for while,Why has Criss Packham and other so called do gooders never mentioned the use of Myxamtosis to control Rabbit numbers which now infecting Hares this is the worst death that could ever be inflicted on any animal?

    • Replies to Brian Fielding>

      Comment by Gaz posted on

      Yes i agree. A most horrible death as bad a cancer if not worse
      Is this why rabbits are not covered. What will be the excuse for rats i wonder
      It will be no one likes them. I do they are so clever
      It will be they spread disease so need to go
      What about starlings??? Also even worse feral pigeons who carry similar disease to rats. Im glad i dont live in a city with millions of them
      For pest control they really do need controlling
      My choice would be to be able to control
      Crows Jackdaws Magpies Rooks occasionally, wood pigeons < feral pigeons and very occasionally collared doves but thats hardly ever

  3. Comment by A Mitcheson posted on

    I have just studied the new wood pigeon licence - issued at the 11th hour. It is not fit for purpose. Gove has met with Packham - an irrational extremest - and has rewritten the licence per Packham’s preferences. It is astonishing that Gove has not listened to the rural community and its experts, which Defra was established to serve. Is it Gove also then, who is not fit for purpose? Defra need to recognise that the wood pigeon population is unnaturally extreme, relative to other species, as it benefits disproportionately from current land use models. It therefore needs to be controlled generally throughout England, and not in specific situations, after overburdening scaring and ‘hoop jumping’ exercises. The general approach has always worked well and the wood pigeon numbers have remained stable or slightly increasing, with a current estimate of 10.8 million individuals. There is only one solution to this whole fiasco - Gove must go.

  4. Comment by Jerry Mead posted on

    "The Telegraph has today (Thursday) incorrectly claimed Natural England is ‘to be stripped of responsibility for shooting licences’."

    Incorrect? Are you quite sure about that?

    I guess par for the course ... and in fact about as believable as NE's ability to properly handle anything of real importance to the grownups.

  5. Comment by Roy posted on

    What I find astonishing is that despite the uproar and chaos no one at NE has seen fit to apologise for the totally inept handling of the decision. No accountability and can just do what they want. I have never seen a public body make a decision that affects its stakeholders so significantly without even taking the time to explain themselves at the time of the initial press release.
    No apology for lack of information and mishandling and no apology for no contingency plan and, finally, no apology for failing to even manage to meet their own promises after the event.
    Where are the new licences for protection of flora and fauna that were promised this week?
    If I ran my business like you run your operation I would not only have no customers I would be bankrupt. When your word is worth nothing then you are worth nothing.
    Although ironically if anyone loses their jobs over this fiasco I guarantee they will leave with their pockets lined with their termination settlements,
    Wildlife Justice? Maybe, Natural or actual justice........ not a prayer

    • Replies to Roy>

      Comment by Gaz posted on

      Well said. An apology or just get licences out quickly. Mine has still not arrived from day 1

  6. Comment by Peter B posted on

    Wild justice claim they were happy for the licences to continue until next year when they could be reviewed, is this true as you have failed to answer that question? If it is true, why did you feel the need to fold so quickly especially after assuring that the licences would stay in place for now. Perhaps NE should look to SNH (leave the licences in place until a realistic solution is reached) on how to deal with the situation

    • Replies to Peter B>

      Comment by A Mitcheson posted on

      It has become patently obvious that NE are not an appropriate body to oversee any matters primarily concerned with farming - including the control of excessively common and highly damaging pest birds. NE are now too heavily infiltrated by the 'bunny hugging' ecowarrior mentality - never has such an undeniable stark reality become so apparent. Juniper’s appointment as chairman, and his personal associations with the so called ’Wild Justice’ group, clearly illustrates this. NE have unfortunately become far too removed from any kind of pragmatic and wise form of countryside management. They definitely need to be stripped of their responsibility for shooting licences.