DEFRA has published its latest General Licences which permit the killing of some bird species for some approved purposes, such as protecting crops, protecting livestock, for public health and for nature conservation.
This time the General Licences (for England only) have been extended to two years instead of one, and DEFRA has applied some dodgy licence conditions that allow the killing of some wild, native bird species in order to protect gamebirds (non-native pheasants and red-legged partridge, of which approx 61 million are released into the countryside every year to be shot). DEFRA reckons that these gamebirds can be classed as ‘livestock’ at certain times (when it suits the shooting industry) and as ‘wildlife’ at other times (also when it suits the shooting industry).
Conservation campaign group Wild Justice has been at the forefront of challenging the lawfulness of General Licences across the UK for the last two years with some success. Today they’ve published a blog (here) about DEFRA’s latest General Licences and Wild Justice’s intention to take legal advice, again, on whether DEFRA’s definition of gamebirds as livestock/wildlife is lawful.
Wild Justice has also produced this helpful flowchart:
Wild Justice is a not-for-profit company and its three Directors (Chris Packham, Mark Avery, Ruth Tingay) work voluntarily to take legal cases and advocate for a better deal for wildlife. If you’d like to make a donation to support their work please click here. If you’d like to receive news directly from Wild Justice please sign up for their free e-newsletter here.