Does your elected representative ‘welcome birds of prey’?

Ten days ago, following the news (here) that two white-tailed eagles from the Isle of Wight Reintroduction Project had been found dead in suspicious circumstances (one in Dorset, one in Sussex), Dorset Conservative MP Chris Loder published an extraordinary statement on Twitter, whipping up some Victorian anti-eagle hysteria by declaring that ‘Dorset is not the place for eagles to be reintroduced‘ and suggested that Dorset Police shouldn’t waste ‘time and resources‘ on investigating (see here and here).

Twitter went in to meltdown and the story was picked up by several national newspapers, including the Independent and the Guardian.

The story prompted a new hashtag on social media, #BirdsOfPreyWelcome, with people from around the country sharing stories about how welcome birds of prey are in various locations.

Conservation group Wild Justice launched a Twitter poll (runs for three more days, here); the results so far indicate overwhelming support for birds of prey.

But given the ongoing persecution of raptors across the UK, Wild Justice is also asking members of the public to email/write to their elected representatives, whether they be in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, to ask whether they, too, support birds of prey.

Wild Justice has provided some guidance about what your email/letter might look like (here).

I’d encourage as many of you as possible to participate. We know that letter-writing campaigns like this can be incredibly powerful when enough people get involved. It sends a clear message to our elected representatives that raptor persecution is an issue of concern that needs addressing.

Thank you

19 thoughts on “Does your elected representative ‘welcome birds of prey’?”

  1. My MP is Julian Smith (Con) covering Ripon and Skipton. This includes Nidderdale and the Swinton Estate, both featuring on this website. I have invited him more than once to publicly condemn raptor persecution and he has refused to do so.

    Nuff said.

  2. I very much doubt it.
    He has one of the largest shoots in Herefordshire
    Tells me how valuable shoots are to the
    Rural economy ( Philip Dunne)

    Carol W

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. I think contacting our MP’s is a great idea. I certainly shall be. Are the replies going to be collected and collated by anyone, is this an organised campaign? It would be great to know which MPs supported #BirdsOfPreyWelcome, and which didn’t. And if reasons for either stance were given, then so much the better.

  4. Will certainly write to my elected representatives. Incidentally, the wonderful Chris Loder still hasn’t replied to my email 😢. Perhaps he is a busy man serving his paymasters rather than all his constituents!

  5. I’ve sent a letter to my Tory MP as Mark Avery suggested but not as yet had a reply. I wonder what it will say assuming I get one. If I don’t he will hear from me again!

  6. Given that my local MP, James Gray, North Wiltshire, used to ride with the Avon Vale Hunt, wants the Hunting with Hounds Act repealed, called for the eradication of wild boar in Wiltshire and doesn’t think that bird of prey persecution should be allowed to distract from the money and jobs that the shooting industry generate, whilst ignoring that the entire industry, in all aspects: jobs, money, etc, is dwarfed by eco-tourism, without the criminality and little environmental damage, I suspect his answer is “No”.

  7. I have very little faith in achieving a positive reply from my two political representatives (MP and MSP) when it comes to conservation of species and animal welfare issues, as all I have ever received have been prepared statements about how the Scottish Government has installed legislation that is fully comprehensive in protecting the environment, enforcing the laws on protecting endangered species and in ensuring animal welfare. YET, how is it that so many organisations and protest groups have arisen to get the very obvious neglect of law enforcement sorted, and when alleged offences have gone to court, weak non-deterrent sentencing have resulted? What has not been recognised by those in Government, is that a more erudite and ethical population has arisen in Scotland and the rest of the UK, no longer tolerant of those inflicting cruel destruction of wildlife, and the welfare of animals marginalised in certain activities (factory farming, transport of farm animals, laboratories, fish farms).

    Here we have blatant down-playing of what is really happening here on the UK landscape regarding humanity’s treatment of other forms of Life. David Attenborough and many others, daily denounce the ongoing pollution of the oceans, river systems, destruction of rainforests/temperate forests and essential wildlife and plant habitats. YET, the powerful lobbyists for those who profit from environmental abuse, and the pillaging of the Earth’s wildlife and and plant life, can attract the appreciative ears of those in Governments, with the promise of developments and job creation, and the provision of specious arguments to win over public compliance. Thank Heavens that courageous and determined people all over the planet stand up against such trite machinations, and here in Britain we have a vibrant rising class of humane thinking and acting people signing petitions, donating to save areas of scientific importance and to finance legal actions against destructive developments and species slaughter, as with our birds of prey. Hopefully, if the strides of today become a charge against those in power and replace them, IN ALL OUR POLITICAL PARTIES, with those who see that the days of drafting laws that have deliberate weak parts, that would be used to stall and eventually weaken any convictions, as we witness at present. It is to be hoped that those who have dominated our landscapes for hundreds of years, with their inimical policies towards certain species of wildlife in their bastions of shooting estates, are finally effectively restrained from using cruel methods against any creature that they class as VERMIN. This will require a massive re-education programme, without contradiction of its humane demands, so that every person has a complete and simply explained reasoning of why it is essential that such a new order come into existence, if our country is to play a decisive role in taming the dilemma the Earth now faces. HUNTING IS A BIG FACTOR IN SPECIES EXTINCTION.

    PERHAPS MY DISCOURSE WILL EXPLAIN MY PAST EXPERIENCES ON CONTACTING MY POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES, WHICH HAVE VARIED PARTY-WISE OVER THE YEARS, AND MY FRUSTRATION AT THEIR FINDING EXCUSES FOR NOT SUPPORTING ANY ISSUES RELATING TO CONSERVATION AND ANIMAL WELFARE, AND IN ASSAILING ME WITH PLATITUDES. They also had the irritating get-out, by stating that jobs came first and the economy would be affected, which is no excuse nowadays with so many scientific breakthroughs, giving new ways of managing the landscape better and restoring habitats, with better paid job creation. The blueprints are out there for our politicians to study, but will they do it without any strings attached to themselves by party whips, who are controlled by strong lobbying by vested interests in maintaining a hellish state, for wildlife and the environment, hitherto imposed on our forbears and ourselves by rich and royal blood sports enthusiasts.

    1. Well said Greer…so many fine words and so little real change during my involvement since the early 1980s…I would put this down to the dead hand of landownership and the equally stultifying efforts of an important section of the justiciary….both still more powerful than public opinion or that of the more elightened members of our political reprentatives.

    2. At least you got a reply. That’s more than I got from George Freeman (Mid Norfolk – Con) when I’m wrote to him twice on wildlife conservation and wildlife crime issues.

  8. I’ve written to my local MPHolly Lynch [Labour]in the past regarding raptor persecution,she is very nature and enviromentally aware. It is always the tories who bleat and moan about wildlife.Must be cos they are the landowners,and have vested intrests.

  9. Do you have any other method of voting, Please? I’m and Ancient, and can manage FB, but not Twitter (although I can see it is appropriate,!)

  10. greerhart wrote, inter alia, “I have very little faith in achieving a positive reply from my two political representatives (MP and MSP) when it comes to conservation of species and animal welfare issues, as all I have ever received have been prepared statements about how the Scottish Government has installed legislation that is fully comprehensive in protecting the environment, enforcing the laws on protecting endangered species and in ensuring animal welfare.”

    I have zero faith in Scottish political representatives who present as absolving themselves for all responsibility in respect of challenging the wildlife criminals. In fact, the reality of the current situation is that the majority party among the Holyrood impostors are recklessly devoted to supporting the shooting goons and their sycophants whilst pursuing (or pretending to pursue) their own hallucinatory doctrinal fantasies.

  11. I think it might improve responses if your emailed correspondence with your elected representative over this matter is copied to your local newspaper(s) and local BBC station.

    (The recipient will notice that in the cc line!)

    You might then be able to complain to your local newspaper(s) and your local BBC station about your elected representative’s lack of / ignorant response, if necessary:-)

    That would also serve to draw further attention to the issue in your constituency… or point to further points of resistance in the media to publicising criminal behaviour surrounding the shooting industry.

    Or, you might be able to congratulate your elected representative’s response to the local media:-)

  12. When I wrote to my MP in 2021 regarding the perilous state of nature in the UK, I did get a positive response from my MP, who is a senior member of the current government.
    Those thinking of writing to their MP might like to note the following?

    Firstly the government has stated raptor crime is a national wildlife crime priority. This would suggest the government takes raptor crime seriously, and views those who commit these crimes as criminals who deserve to be identified and punished in accordance with the law . (I would suggest this might indicate Mr Loder is completely out of touch with the governments position when he stated Dorset police shouldn’t investigate the suspicious death of the sea eagles but focus on other crimes such as county lines? A criminal act is a criminal act, and I am not sure if it is the place for a politician to tell the police they should turn a blind eye to certain crimes, especially when that crime is a national priority?) ( I appreciate this stated position regarding raptor persecution often seems at odds with the actions taken, but it is worth reminding politicians of what has been stated!)

    Secondly, I understand from the reply I received from my MP, that it is the government’s intention to introduce legislative measures through the Environment Bill to ensure it can deliver on its commitment to tackle environmental priorities, which will include a “legally binding target on species abundance for 2030” with an aim to halt the decline of nature, and “improve the status of native species.”
    Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, Red Kites etc are all native species, so if the government sets legally binding targets for species abundance, then I assume we can rightly expect to see raptors included in these targets?
    In order to achieve this then it can only be assumed that the amount of suitable habitat available for these species will have to be increased, along with better legislation to protect them. It would also suggest there should also be support for the reintroduction of some of these species into areas in which they are currently extinct? (Again, I would suggest this may be contrary to Mr Loders position of not wanting Sea Eagles introduced along the south coast of England?).

    However, this may introduce a dilemma for the government, in that in order to achieve its stated objectives it will come up against vested interests operating in the countryside.
    So a question MP’s might like to answer is -how do they intend to support the governments objectives as set out in the Environment Bill, if they are under pressure from vested interests operating in their constituencies which oppose these objectives?
    History suggests that this is where the smoke and mirrors and slight of hand comes into play, and proposals are frequently watered down or amended, so that the hidden puppet masters pulling the strings, ensure their vested interests are not undermined by new legislation.
    This however opens up a whole new question of integrity and honesty.
    Is an MP who openly states his or her agreement with the intention to improve the status of native species, but then goes on to propose or vote for amendments which undermine that improvement, acting honestly and ethically?

    It is also worth remembering timing is important. The best ideas introduced at the wrong time often go nowhere.
    Before I write to my MP, I try and find out what are the important topics of the day, covid, Brexit, fuel poverty or the current situation in the Ukraine?
    The Sea Eagles story has opened an opportunity to put raptor persecution on the table, but this matter may get drowned by other events? When the Scottish parliament eventually (if ever) put their grouse shooting licensing scheme on the table, that will also offer another good opportunity to ask searching questions of the Westminster politicians as to why this isn’t a UK proposal??
    As well as Wild Justice, charities such as RSPB often coordinate campaigns- so it can be worth signing up to this, so that petitions etc are timely and coordinated.

    1. All excellent points and all quite correct, and should be put to use in our campaign.

      Know your elected representative (friendly/antagonistic/agnostic), and tackle them accordingly using the Government’s own statements, where possible.

      I also try to add local publicity (see above).

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