Tediously predictable response from Minister to Natalie Bennett’s House of Lords question on poisoned eagle

In late March, Life Peer Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (known to many of us as the former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett) posed a written question in the House of Lords about Dorset Police’s unthinkable decision to drop its investigation into the poisoning of the white-tailed eagle that was found dead on a shooting estate in Dorset (see here).

Here is Natalie’s question:

Natalie’s question has now been answered by the Parliamentary-Under-Secretary-of-State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Lord Benyon, who also happens to own a pheasant-shooting estate and a grouse-shooting estate.

Here is Lord Benyon’s response:

It’s predictably tedious and is just the latest version of the same old tosh repeated every time the Government is asked to respond to ongoing raptor persecution incidents, e.g. see this from Environment Minister Rebecca Pow in September 2021, and this from Richard Benyon in February 2022, and this from Rebecca Pow in February 2022.

There’s a running theme in all of these responses that is supposed to persuade us that the Government takes raptor persecution crimes seriously. For example, by the provision of custodial sentences (that have never been applied in England to a raptor-killing criminals and only once in Scotland, in 2014), by DEFRA’s participation in the sham-partnership that is the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG) that has been in place since 2011 and has delivered precisely nothing of any use, and by the continued funding of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) which is supposed to ensure that regional police forces have sufficient support and expertise to undertake investigations into alleged raptor persecution crimes – clearly ineffective when it comes to Dorset Police.

It’s obvious to anyone who cares to look that the raptor-killing criminals continue to stick up two fingers to the law, time after time after time after time, and yet still the Government pretends it’s all under control. Meanwhile, inept police forces like Dorset can make stupendously stupid /suspiciously dodgy-looking decisions and not be held to account.

Or can they? More soon…

9 thoughts on “Tediously predictable response from Minister to Natalie Bennett’s House of Lords question on poisoned eagle”

  1. For many reasons Police fail to investigation of wildlife crime at a consistent level.

    This could be addressed by giving other organisations additional powers, SSPCA in Scotland perhaps RSPCA in England.

    1. The RSPCA are planning on dropping their power to prosecute in England and Wales.

      There is a good explanation of the planned moves (including input from the SSPCA) on the RSPCA website:

      https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/strategy/prosecution

      In this the RSPCA write: “Very soon, we hope that our campaign for tougher sentences for animal cruelty will finally become law, increasing sentences for the worst cases of abuse from 6 months to 5 years.”

      That has now happened:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/maximum-prison-sentence-for-animal-cruelty-raised-to-five-years

      And guess what, this private members bill was introduced by none other than Chris Loder MP. That does not exonerate him from his stated opposition to restoring a balanced avifauna (which he does in opposition to Government official policy).

      1. This is terrible!The dreadful death of this precious bird must be looked into!It’s not good enough!These amazing birds must be protected!

      2. This looks like good news, RSPCA are changing the way their investigations are prosecuted, moving away from private prosecutions and changing to using the CPS. This will no doubt involve RSPCA being granted statutory powers to investigate and report crimes involving animals. This is currently how thing work in Scotland with the SSPCA and Procurator Fiscal.

        This would present an ideal platform to move towards RSPCA being able to investigate crimes against wild animal (wildlife crime)

  2. Of course, the biggest prop to Government complacency is that however large the resources and however strong the commitment the persecutors have the initiative- it’s a miracle and huge credit to committed police and investigators, especially RSPB, that anyone gets caught in the wide, empty expanses of the countryside. That they do probably reflects the persecutors confidence that they won’t get caught – why otherwise would keepers be caught with poison in their workshed when it would be so easy to hide out of the laws way ?

    1. In Scotland its the SSPCA who lead the way in investigating wildlife crime under animal welfare legislation

  3. The trouble is they can say unlimited fines and possible prison sentence but in reality I believe because they are summary only, guidelines severely restrict it down to hundreds of pounds. So they can say it’s serious but in reality their sentencing guidelines don’t really make it any more serious than a speeding fine, dropping litter..

    So to the outsiders it looks like they care but they don’t.

    Certainly, some officers really try but the system needs to change and senior officers need to back up the rank and file.

  4. Without the Government and the upper ranks of the Police onboard one can raise the penalties as high as they want but no one of note will ever be convicted and no effective system to catch the bird persecutors will be developed. it’s the same old crew in the upper ranks of the Conservative Party who have been involved with aspects of wildlife crime since at least 2013. Their records does not hold promise for the future. Indeed they are so arrogant now that statements by MP Chris Loder illuminate thecontempt they now hold for this issue.
    I’ve said this continually and will say it again — the hegemonic power in the areas of politics and Government/Local beaurocracies that they have at their fingertips will not be moved by doing the same things that have been done by highly motivated and sincere advocates on behalf of the birds. The only thing that will force a move in the right direction are the tactics of the Hunt Sabs which bring this terrible behaviour to the public eye. Videos, photographs, unguarded statements, publicity stunts and public shamings are what have the potential to recruit not only public sympathy but also the removal of Conservative Party political representatives at both local and National level.
    Whenever public negotiations are opened with representatives who are apologists for wild life criminals only serves to give them credibility in the eyes of the public and the more naive amongst our sympathisers as well as spreading false hope — which can be so very self immolating if repeatred often enough. i.e. one helps drain the enthusiasm and hope from one’s own supporters which ends in a drop off of sympathisers and it withers on the vine.
    Madness can be seen as doing the same thing time after time while expecting different results. We are close to reaching that stage.

  5. I have nothing profound or enlightening to say on this but I find it so upsetting that such magnificent birds are being killed and that the police and various politicians seem to have the power to ignore this abhorrent behaviour. So, so sad.

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