Birds of prey such as hen harriers are persecuted illegally by many in the grouse shooting industry across the UK.
This is because the gamekeepers want the grouse to be shot by people who pay to do it for "sport", and don't want birds of prey to eat them. As a result of raptor persecution, hen harriers are critically endangered
and at risk of becoming extinct in England and Wales. However, it's very difficult to prove who killed the bird, so there are very few prosecutions.
In Scotland, the laws protect raptors much better than in England and Wales. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in Scotland includes the "Vicarious Liability Law" which means that landowners can be held responsible, charged and prosecuted if a dead bird of prey is found on their land. This law needs to be expanded to England and Wales, to act as a deterrent to the illegal persecution of birds of prey, and enable successful prosecutions of those responsible.
Please sign my petition to DEFRA to demand that raptor persecutors face consequences not just in Scotland, but in England and Wales too.
Update #6about a month ago
Labour is calling for a review into grouse shooting.
Labour demands review into grouse shooting over environmental damage concerns.
The party makes clear that if it wins power at the next general election, it will launch its own review into the practice, considering the alternatives and examine the economic and environmental effects, if the conservatives fail to do so.
Update #4about a year ago
MP Cat Smith raised our concerns with the Under Secretary of State for Environment, who unfortunately responded to essentially reiterate Defra's poor original response. We are continuing to work with MPs to keep the pressure on the Government so please keep sharing this petition and asking your friends to sign!
Update #3about a year ago
I have now shown the petition to my MP, Cat Smith, who will urge DEFRA to take urgent action. Cat Smith MP also promised to contact the Shadow Environment Minister Sue Hayman about the issue. We hope that the continued support for the petition will lead to the issue being discussed in Parliament. Please keep sharing the petition and I'll keep you informed of progress.
Update #2about a year ago
DEFRA responded and said, "We do not have compelling evidence that the introduction of the provisions in Scotland has had a significant deterrent effect on those who persecute such birds." However, I spoke to the Scottish Government and RSPB Scotland who confirmed that since the introduction of the Vicarious Liability Law in Scotland they HAVE seen a decline in the illegal persecution of raptors. As such, DEFRA’s response is inadequate. Please keep sharing the petition.