Further to our blog earlier this month about the Hawk and Owl Trust becoming the third conservation group to walk out of the Hen Harrier Dialogue process (see here), soon after similar exits by the Northern England Raptor Forum (here) and the RSPB (here), the Hawk and Owl Trust have just issued the following press release to clarify their position:
The Hawk and Owl Trust (HOT) has resigned from Environment Council’s Hen Harrier Dialogue process: President of HOT, wildlife presenter Chris Packham calls for a firm stand against the persecution of birds of prey.
The Hawk and Owl Trust, as the last pro-raptor body participating in the discussion group the Hen Harrier Dialogue process, set up by the Environment Council back in 2006 to bring together those with an interest in the future of the Hen Harrier in England, have decided to leave the Dialogue process.
The Trust cite the lack of any progress or willingness of the grouse moor owners and their representatives to recognise the existence of raptor persecution in any meaningful way; despite solid scientific evidence to prove lethal persecution exists. This type of persecution is illegal under British law yet is widespread to this day. See the case of young female Hen Harrier ‘Bowland Betty’ as an example.
The Hawk and Owl Trust are joining fellow conservation organisations, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) who left the dialogue last summer, and the Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF) who left recently for the same reasons.
Nearly seven years of dialogue and numerous meetings have resulted in the appalling fact that, due to persecution, 2012 saw only one breeding pair of Hen Harriers in the whole of England, despite the habitat being available for some 300 breeding pairs.
As President of HOT, wildlife presenter Chris Packham speaks out on behalf of the Trust:
“The Hawk and Owl Trust feels that it is completely unacceptable for any bird of prey to be killed – and should remain absolutely illegal” says Chris. “It is time for all who want to make Britain a better place for birds of prey to take a firm stand.”
Patient dialogue has failed, so HOT will be joining other conservation bodies in looking for other more effective ways to end the wholesale slaughter of our birds of prey and the Hen Harrier in particular. The illegal persecution of birds of prey must stop and those with a commercial interest in grouse moor shooting must be made to put their house in order.
Hawk and Owl Trust website here
Well done to the Hawk and Owl Trust, as well as to NERF and the RSPB. It’s great to see these organisations taking a stand. If, like them, you want to see grouse moor owners and gamekeepers being held to account for the continuing criminal persecution of hen harriers and other raptors, you too can take a stand. Please sign this e-petition calling for a licensing scheme and get your friends to do the same: SIGN HERE
If you don’t know what happens to hen harriers on grouse moors, take a look at this photograph – this male hen harrier was caught by the legs in an illegally-set spring trap on a Scottish grouse moor. Fortunately he was discovered by raptor workers before the person who set the trap came back to kill him, perhaps by shooting him, or maybe bludgeoning him with a heavy stick, or perhaps just kicking him to death.