Things to do list #1

Recognising that the criminal persecution of raptors in Scotland shows little sign of ending, the Scottish Parliament voted in March this year to introduce the offence of vicarious liability as part of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (see here and here). Basically, this will allow prosecutors to take action against the landowner and/or sporting tenant, and not just an individual gamekeeper, when persecution incidents are detected. Whether this will be effective or not remains to be seen; if the landowner/sporting tenant can demonstrate that he/she knew nothing about the persecution and can show that steps were taken to try and prevent it from happening on their estate, then they will have a viable defence. Once the WANE Act is commenced in full, it won’t be long before the effectiveness of vicarious liability will be tested. At least we’ve got something to work with and by voting to accept this new legislation, the Scottish Parliament has acknowledged that the problem still exists.

Unfortunately, the same opportunity is not available in England. Earlier this year, we reported on the Defra Minister’s response to a request for the introduction of vicarious liability in England. You can read MP Richard Benyon’s response here, where he suggests that vicarious liability is not required and that he applauded gamekeepers for their wonderful work!

Well, now there just may be an opportunity to bypass Richard Benyon’s incredible lack of foresight and have the issue debated in the House of Commons. A new e-petition website has been provided by HM government, whereby ordinary members of the British public can start an e-petition on a topic of their choice (within the bounds of decency!). If after 12 months their e-petition has attracted at least 100,000 signatures, then the issue becomes eligible as a topic for debate in the House of Commons.

Yesterday, a new e-petition was established to introduce the offence of vicarious liability for raptor persecution in England. If you are a UK citizen, you can help support this effort by signing the petition online. Your personal details are not publicised and the whole process takes less than a minute. If you care about the ongoing illegal persecution of raptors in England, here’s your chance to add your voice and it won’t cost you a penny. Please also share this post with your friends, family and colleagues.

Please sign the e-petition here

5 thoughts on “Things to do list #1”

  1. Thank you for bringing this to your reader’s notice. As you all know many Scottish birds migrate to England so face the same persecution. Sadly this autumn so do many European birds face this persecution with fast numbers of Short eared Owls, Long eared Owls and Hen Harriers crossing the North Sea thanks to the best breeding season in 50 years many of which will be shot on Red Grouse moors. So even Europeans should be signing the petition!

  2. Am I correct in thinking John that people in Europe can sign this petition, not just people living in Britain, if so that makes things a bit better as I have many friends in Europe who would willingly sign this.

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