Stop Destroying Raptor Nests to Protect the UK Pheasant Shoot

  • by: Judith B.
  • recipient: Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment, Water and Rural Affairs, UK

In the past, buzzards were persecuted to the point of near extinction in the UK. Populations of these dramatic birds of prey have only just started to recover, but licences have been secretly issued to destroy their nests.

Apparently bowing to pressure from the lucrative pheasant shooting industry, the government body concerned, Natural England, issued licenses to destroy four buzzard nests this year, all in the greatest secrecy.

The secrecy is understandable, because this is utterly outrageous. Destroying England’s threatened wildlife just to ensure a few more pheasants to shoot is not acceptable. There are just 40,000 breeding pairs of buzzards as opposed to the 35 million pheasants reared every year.

Pheasants are not a native species, they are not even a farm animal. The only reason pheasants are reared in such numbers is so the well-heeled can indulge a bloodthirsty hobby.

Tell the UK government not to let this happen again.

We the undersigned ask that you not grant any more licences to destroy the nests of buzzards or any other birds of prey except under the most extreme circumstances, which does not include gamekeepers protesting that these birds are taking a few pheasants.

Buzzards and other native raptors were almost exterminated in the UK because of this sort of persecution and populations are only just starting to recover.

England’s natural heritage should be prioritised over the complaints of a minority, and rather controversial, hobby, no matter how affluent those hobbyists might be.

The enormous secrecy surrounding the issue of licences to destroy four buzzard nests this year simply underlines just how unacceptable we the British public find such actions.

We insist that you refuse to grant any more such licenses on such feeble grounds.

Thank you for your attention.

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