Statement from Glanusk Estate about mass poisoning of raptors

Following yesterday’s blog (here) about the mass illegal poisoning of birds of prey on the Glanusk Estate within the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Estate has issued a statement, probably as a measure to placate the organisers of the Green Man Festival (held annually in the Estate grounds) as we know those festival organisers have asked Glanusk about what’s going on. Here’s the Glanusk statement:

Glanusk statement2

In addition to this formal statement, Debbie Murray from the Glanusk Estate wrote the following in an email to one of our blog readers:

I can assure you that we take any matter of animal welfare seriously and we have extensive health & safety measures in place for all of the activities, land and property that we engage with/own.

The alleged poisoning has been said to have been located on land outside of the Glanusk Park where our events take place and there is no risk at all to animals or humans. We enlist an external consultant to provide risk assessments and health & safety advice and again to reiterate, any risk to any of our visitors is received and treated with the utmost severity“.


So, let’s just take a closer look at these statements.

For a start, the police investigation began in 2013, not in 2012 (read the RSPB Investigations team’s blog (here) about how things unfolded at Glanusk Estate, starting with the discovery of poisoned baits in October 2012 and leading to the discovery of 15 poisoned victims and more poisoned bait in October 2013).

Is the Glanusk Estate saying 2012 by mistake, or are they trying to suggest that the poisonings took place in 2012 because that sounds better than the more recent 2013?

Glanusk Estate mentions the “alleged poisonings“, presumably to imply that they might not have happened. Hang on a minute, investigators found nine poisoned baits, two poisoned ravens, five poisoned red kites, and eight poisoned buzzards. All of them were subjected to toxicology tests in a government laboratory and all of them tested positive for the poison Bendiocarb. There is no ‘alleged’ about it – these poisonings took place and the 9 baits and 15 victims were definitely found on Glanusk Estate.

Here’s a photo of a poisoned buzzard, one of the 15 poisoning victims found on the Glanusk Estate (photo by RSPB Investigations).


Glanusk Estate says: “the poisonings were located on land outside of Glanusk Park where our events take place”. Hmm. How does the Estate know where the poisonings took place? The majority of those victims (seven buzzards and three red kites) were found stuffed inside feed sacks stacked up next to a pheasant pen. There’s no way anyone (except the poisoner(s)) can know precisely where on the Glanusk Estate those birds were actually poisoned. And even if the poisoned baits had been found in an area of the Estate away from the central ‘Glanusk Park’ area (where their events take place), there’s every chance that a bird might eat some of the bait but then manage to fly some distance before succumbing to the poison. Indeed, isn’t this the very excuse we’re given by the shooting community whenever a poisoned raptor has been found? ‘Ah well, even though the poisoned bird was found on our land, that doesn’t mean it was poisoned on our land, it could have flown a few miles from somewhere else and it just died here’.

Glanusk Estate says: “there is no risk at all to all animals or humans“. Sorry, but there is absolutely no way the Estate can give this sort of assurance. These poisonings took place over the period of at least one year, and nobody from the Glanusk Estate noticed them. The pile of ten raptor corpses stuffed inside feed bags and stacked next to the pheasant pen, the nine poisoned baits and the other five corpses of poisoned birds left on the open ground – all apparently missed by the gamekeepers that worked in that area every day (hard to believe, we know). The poisoner is still at large, because nobody has been charged for these crimes, so for all the Estate knows, poisons may still be being put out on that land and the Estate owners and workers have failed to notice, again. How on earth can Glanusk Estate declare “there is no risk at all to all animals and humans“? It’s just absurd.

Glanusk Estate says: “We enlist an external consultant to provide risk assessments and health & safety advice“. We’re sure they do – as a commercial outfit they are legally obliged to do this. So how come the organisers of the Green Man Festival were apparently unaware of the mass poisoning of wildlife on this estate prior to our blog going out yesterday? Surely, information about the presence of toxic poisons, such a serious hazard to festival-goers, would have been provided in the Festival’s risk assessment, no? Or is it the case that Glanusk Estate has suppressed this information for the last three years, with the assistance of Dyfed Powys Police and the Welsh Government, hoping that nobody would find out?

For the safety of those thousands of visitors to Glanusk Estate, let’s hope the festival organisers ask some probing questions.

UPDATE 3 July 2016: Further statement from Glanusk Estate here

28 thoughts on “Statement from Glanusk Estate about mass poisoning of raptors”

  1. So, they are saying ” it wasn’t us, you can’t prove anything “. The fact that poisoned carcasses in a sack, beside pheasant pens, should have meant that the estate was have been charged, and should have had all funding withdrawn ! That it did not happen, is a complete failure of law and order?

    Every square inch of the estate should be examined ( at their expense ) by an independent health and safety body, for any remaining poisons, before any public gathering ( including shooting ) is allowed.

  2. Their statement is entirely for the benefit of the Green Man Festival: hence all the BS about Health & Safety in Glanusk Park. It is a typical move to obscure the details of the crimes committed on their land and, if we had a proper legal system in this country, instead of one designed to protect the already rich and powerful, [Ed: rest of this comment deleted as libellous]

  3. I’ve had absolutely no response from Green Man. I’ve repeated my requests for information and asked them to reply by Monday. If nothing is forthcoming by then I think it would be fair to draw our own conclusions about the organisers attitude regarding the safety of their customers and their pets, and whether they have any real green credentials. No doubt they are currently in a bit of a fulster, but I think a weekend to think about it is more than enough.

  4. It is interesting that 2 of the worst mass poisonings have not been directly linked to grouse shooting. I have doubts about the Red Kite massacre in the Black Isle and also those recent 10 (and counting) in Yorkshire because of the closeness of grouse moors but this one at Glanusk is definitely a pheasant shoot.
    If we ever get a debate it does swing things more towards an argument for total ban (which would be a shame for all the law abiding gamekeepers in the lowlands) or for the RSPB’s whispered proposal, licensing.

    1. Yes Anand, as I pointed out elsewhere there is an article outlining the aspiration for it to ‘graduate’ to DGS and we all know that you get your grouse numbers up by……so it is practicing DGS methods, such as elimination of predators.

  5. I think we should all contact the Patron of the RSPB to see if she can have a word with the van Cutsems, the Legge-Bourkes and the owners of other implicated estates, to see if she can help to moderate their behavior. One would have thought that the Protection of Birds would be paramount.

  6. If no further information is forthcoming by Monday i’d like to make a formal request to the relevant authorities to have this year’s event cancelled on health and safety grounds. I’d also like an official investigation into what all the interested parties (Glanusk Estate, Green Man Festival, Dyfed-Powys Police) knew about the health and safety risks over the last several years and who exactly suppressed what. Any advice on how to go about this from Raptor Persecution UK or it’s readers would be very welcome.

    1. All I can tell from the login page is that no comments have been made for over 4 hours. So it doesn’t exactly seem like a hot topic for them at the moment.

  7. Well done RPUK,this is a Great Breakthrough ,in getting this Disgraceful Poisoning Incident out into the Public Domain,and finally one of those Seemingly Untouchable shooting Estates ie glanusk being Named and Shamed !

  8. A full list of forthcoming events at Glanusk. I think they should all be cancelled on health and safety grounds. I’m happy to contact all the organisers but perhaps a formal statement from Raptor Persecution UK would be preferable? The prospect of a walk for alzheimer’s sufferers is particularly frightening.

    Royal Welsh Show 18 – 21 July 2016
    Monmouthshire & District National Eisteddfod 29 July – 6 August 2016

    Brecon Jazz Festival 12 – 14 August 2016

    Green Man Festival 18 – 21 August 2016

    Abergavenny Food Festival 17 – 18 September 2016

    Crickhowell Literary Festival 1 – 9 October 2016

    Alzheimer’s Society Gwent Memory Walk 9 October 2016

    1. TY Jim. I have emailed all of the events to enquire what safety measures are being implemented and whether those who attend the events will be warned of the dangers of poisoning as the criminals have yet to be apprehended.

    2. JIm, many of these events are patently not at Glan Usk ( e.g Royal Welsh is at Llanellwedd , Some 20+miles away ) . Suggest you double check before contacting them to avoid being accused of hype. When walking in the Glan usk area I will be extra vigilant for anything suspicious.

      1. Point taken Rich, merely taken from Glanusk’s homepage. I will be checking exactly which events are taking place at Glanusk Park and will proceed accordingly.

    3. Without disagreeing with you over your actions, I wish to point out that most of the events on your list are not taking place on the Glanusk estate or indeed have any connection with the Estate. Any adverse publicity will affect many charities who depend on these for their survival. Please be accurate and do your research.

  9. This is a pathetic and limp statement from the glanusk estate for such a serious Wildlife Crime, and how on Earth can they give assurances when the Perpetrators of this Very Serious Poisoning Incident are still at large on the estate,as no one was charged or prosecuted ! Yet if a member of the Public was caught trying to rescue a Bird or Animal from a trap or snare you can bet your bottom dollar they would be dragged over hot coals and prosecuted and named ! Talk about one Law for them and another Law for the rest of us !!

  10. Very well done again, RPUK, and an excellent demolition job on so many of their excuses. However, why is an important matter of public concern like this not appearing on TV – Newsnight for example – with a representative of Glanusk Estate being interviewed alongside a representative from RPUK? Somehow we need to make a breakthrough to get investigative journalists on the case against grouse shooting, pheasant shooting and the horrendous levels of crime being perpetrated on our wildlife. It is a fact, for example, that gamekeepers kill far, far more foxes than all the fox hunts in the UK put together, even before the hunting ban. I find that the public are generally unaware of this, and even tend to look upon game-keeping as an honourable, even romantic profession. D H Lawrence has a lot to answer for, just as Alfred Hitchcock condemned many crows and gulls to death through his film ‘The Birds.’ If only the public knew the truth about gamekeepers, the outrage we feel could be multiplied a thousand times, and we might finally see an end to their criminal activities. Is it beyond the wishes of RPUK to engage in higher profile with the public through the media? As I’ve said elsewhere (repeatedly!), they shouldn’t have to – that is surely a job for RSPB. I’d like someone to explain their deathly silence on this very serious problem.

  11. How to somehow prevent the rich, powerful and corrupt lying is a fiendish exercise, we’d have to live in a differently-structured society, wonder how that could work? Communist ideology doesn’t seem to fly. Human greed has become a fatal flaw in humankind’s nature.

  12. How appawling dyfed powys police I wonder why you let this Go?????? Could it be the fact that this was to do with sian leggebourke high sheriff…. I question If you would ignore a council Tennant doing the same… shame on you

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