Defra - Don't Spend Taxpayers' Money on Harassing Buzzards

  • by: Judith B.
  • recipient: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK

To appease the shooting industry, the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs proposes to spend taxpayers' money on a systematic program of harassing buzzards, including destroying nests and relocating adults. Gamekeepers complain the birds take the occasional pheasant, although their main food is small mammals.

The species has only just started to recover from the persecution of the past, but buzzards are not pests. In fact, to legitimate countryside users, such as farmers, they are an asset because they keep rabbits and rodents under control.

There is no reason why public money should be spent persecuting a protected species just to benefit an ethically dubious and highly profitable industry. An industry, furthermore, that only serves a minute, well-heeled minority. The harassment could also be the thin end of a nasty wedge, opening the door to future culls.

Tell Defra to end this ill-thought-out plan immediately.

We the undersigned ask that you not go ahead with the trial of "buzzard management techniques", which is essentially just systematic harassment of the wild raptors. Buzzard populations have only recently recovered from the, often illegal, persecution of the past and they now perform a vital ecosystem service by helping to keep rabbits (a genuine agricultural pest) under control.

The only interests that would be served by this plan are those of the shooting industry, an industry that can well afford to lose the occasional pheasant to Britain’s native raptors. Moreover, spending tax payers' money to benefit a highly profitable industry that only serves a tiny minority of the British people is not at all in the public interest, especially during a time of extensive service cuts.

The public interest, including that of agriculture, is served by protecting our remaining wildlife, including buzzards, and not by reverting to the persecution of the 19th century.

Thank you for your attention.

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