There have been recent reports that Defra is proposing to cull buzzards or is about to implement a new policy to control their numbers.
Defra is absolutely not proposing to cull buzzards or any other raptors.
We work on the basis of sound evidence. This is why we want to find out the true extent of buzzards preying on young pheasants and how best to discourage birds that may cause damage to legitimate businesses. This would be only in areas where there is a clear problem, using non-lethal methods including increasing protective cover for young pheasants with vegetation, diversionary feeding of buzzards, moving the birds elsewhere or destroying empty nests. The results of this scientific research will help guide our policy on this issue in the future.
As the RSPB have said, the buzzard population has recovered wonderfully over the last few years, and we want to see this continue.
So what do you make of that?
It strikes me as pretty cursory response and releasing it in 'mythbusting' format seems a rather light-hearted means of regaining public face (if that was the intention)
Of the 'myth', I haven't actually seen any articles that refer to a cull of buzzards but I suppose I could've missed that given the extensive coverage of the issue.
Of the 'truth', it claims, once again, that they are working 'on the basis of sound evidence' yet not apparently on the basis of rational thought, financial sensitivity or ecological understanding. It also mentions the damage caused to legitimate business. While there are no qualms here about the legitimacy of pheasant shoots, what they totally fail to address is that, aside from the wholly unnecessary and callous methods proposed of managing buzzards (captive removal and nest destruction), what's got most people riled is that taxpayers money is being used to boost the profits of private businesses (which are hardly in dire straits) They cannot seriously qualify spending this amount on economic grounds since the margins are minimal - how long would it take to recoup an investment of £375k? Livelihoods are not at stake and there is no benefit to the wider public at all. This is not how a government department tasked with protecting the environment, promoting an environmentally sustainable economy and good quality of life should be spending money. Perhaps they'd like to bust that myth?
Anyway, I'm sure we're all on the same page with this, no point banging on what's already been said elsewhere. I guess the issue will keep rumbling on and we'll just have to wait and see just how much this lives up to the claim of being 'scientific research'. Will it be the kind of scientific research that results in sound, progressive policy making? Or will it be the kind of 'scientific research' that whaling nations use to legalise the pointless slaughter of hundreds of cetaceans every year?
In the meantime though, it would be great if everyone who reads this blog signed this petition (if they haven't already) to Richard Benyon MP. And while you're at it, sign this one as well! Write a letter, go birdwatching...lets poke Defra out of their tree before they get started. Ha.