New challenge to the General Licence

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One of the replacement General Licences, issued by Natural England in April to protect livestock, is facing a potential legal challenge (General Licence WML - GL26). The campaign group that prompted the withdrawal of the previous general licences feel that pheasants should not be included alongside other livestock, such as lambs, that can be protected from carrion crows.

In law pheasants remain livestock while they are being reared and during the release period when they are being fed and watered in and around release pens. During these periods they can be at serious risk of damage from crows.

The group Wild Justice wish to challenge this licence by Judicial Review (JR) and so have sent a ‘pre-action’ letter to Natural England which gives both sides the opportunity to address the matter without it actually reaching the courts. Since Defra announced in May that it was taking control of the new licences it is entirely possible they have already satisfied themselves on this point of law.

Defra announced Friday 7th June, “We intend to announce shortly how we will proceed on general licensing, following an evidence-gathering exercise undertaken by Defra over the course of the last month. We received more than 4,000 responses to the call for evidence, and we have since been carefully considering all the evidence received in order to determine next steps, alongside additional evidence. As part of our evidence gathering we have sought the views of user groups on the usability of different potential licensing options. We appreciate the urgency of getting a working licensing system in place as quickly as possible. A final decision has not yet been taken on the way forward, but we will be setting out next steps shortly.”

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Keeping control of Jackdaws.

at 4:40 on 14/06/2019 by Joe Allen

Dear Sir Until the revocation of the General licenses, I gave this very little thought. On a spasmodic basis I eliminated a Jackdaw to clear the chimneys of a recurrent pest. They foul the surrounding area and introduce insect pests into the chimneys. They are also very noisy and intrusive! I have in the past been asked by neighbour's to perform this service for them. We now have no workable solution to this intermittent nuisance other than standing at the backs of our houses and "shooing" them away. Perhaps "Mr Packham might like to show me how this can be done effectively!". My solution accounts for a couple of jackdaws in the course of a Summer. Once done the problem goes away for a couple of months. It is hardly decimation! They arrive in their tens once one of their number is eliminated and do not return in any number once the funeral rites are over. I have recently been asked by a near neighbour to remove a fallen jackdaw from their drive. It had fallen from its nest, I presume. The family children refused to go to play in the garden whilst it remained, mother was quite intimidated by the bird. I did not try to "shoo" it away but disposed of it quickly and humanely out of sight of the family affected. Hardly a big issue but I do wonder how I would stand legally. Would I be granted permission, under one of the new licenses, to continue with my previous activities? An opinion would be appreciated and would also indicate that this correspondence has been read! We have numerous friends and acquaintances in the Farming community. They are without exception extremely angry about this removal of the general license, which forms part of the necessary activities for their businesses . What right has one sector of the community to interfere with the necessary activities of normal decent working people? If the law is not right there are people clever enough to realise it and put it right before the interfering busy bodies change good practice with their uninformed opinions. The law is the servant of the people not the other way round! Is there something else occupying Politicians at this time which has caused them to take their eyes off this most important issue?? Yours sincerely. Joe Allen

General licences

at 20:49 on 13/06/2019 by Gary Veale

After reading this it is an absolute disgrace how is it possible for people to try and tell the country folk who run the land and work it how it should be and have done for years can tell us what we can and can't do. If they can tell us what to do then they should foot the cost of there actions. We can catch up all the vermin instead of controlling them and release them all into to city for them to deal with. We regulate our control and that's what it is vermin control and not just shooting for the sake of it. We have managed to do this for years and this is why numbers are not falling . The townies complain about seagulls and want them controlled in towns and cities but we can't control vermin that are costing farmers there livelihood and they have to just put up with this cause some jump up no good for nothing sad bloke thinks he knows it all. The government should b ashamed of itself for passing this. What do they want no farming or agriculture in this country and just turn it all into housing cause that's what there better off doing if this stays the same. Chris Packham can foot the bill for everyone's losses till it's put back to the people who actually know and care about the countryside. What a joke. Get it sorted defra for Christ sake.

General licemces

at 15:49 on 12/06/2019 by Richard Brunt

What about Mr Packhams Hen Harriers? These are ground nesters, are they not, and thus subject to predation from crows. Let us shooters not be blamed for poor fledging counts while Wild Justice keep up this ridiculous series of legal challenges against GLs.

General Licences

at 11:56 on 12/06/2019 by Simon Scott-Priestley

This situation is getting more ridiculous by the minute. Wild Justice and their supporters(I actually wonder how many) are little interested in the welfare ,or otherwise, of animals and wildlife but just want to see all shooting banned. Pity they have not got the guts to "come clean " over the issue. The lunatics are truly running the asylum !!


at 9:47 on 12/06/2019 by John Pexton

We live 5 miles west of Ipswich a very rural area just north of the A12. We now see more magpies than blackbirds, more jays than thrushes. The area enjoys an abundance of wildlife but the balance is changing rapidly . It is no longer a rarity to witness nest predation by magpies or jays it is sadly a very common occurrence. They are both very successful breeders and numbers are increasing alarmingly . Something must be done to preserve their dwindling quarry .

General licence

at 16:24 on 11/06/2019 by Colin Eddy

Having sat in my local pub and witnessed a pair of magpies raiding not one but two blackbird nests clearing them of Chick's to distress of the parent birds but also to children in the beer garden seeing them dismembered on the lawn, I ask how far the corvid population has to spiral out of control before Wild Justice realizes the impact on our songbirds , the RSPB realizes this so why can't Wild Justice it's a joke !!.

New Challenge to the General Licence

at 16:23 on 11/06/2019 by stephen taylor

If gamekeepers are allowed to control corvids and fox not only does this help the gamekeepers, more importantly it helps all ground nesting birds e.g. skylarks, English partridge and curlews. Once again Wild Justice is interfering with countryside management with drastic consequences for ground nesting birds and songbirds. As Chris Packham is Vice President of the RSPB one would have thought that he would have considered all the consequences of his actions. It is interesting to note that the RSPB control corvids and fox and no-one seems to have mentioned this, especially Mr Packham.

Crows attacking calves and cows

at 13:54 on 11/06/2019 by Raymond Hallam

I was down on a dairy farm where I used to control crows and magpies, there was a cow which wasn't very well and crows were on it pecking at it. One of the farm hands stated that thay would probably kill it over a few days. There are literally hundreds of crows on this farm and apart from that incident which I'm told isn't an isolated one they are taking and fouling the feed on a daily basis Regards Raymond Hallam Ps; I've applied for a licence some 4 or 5 weeks ago and I've not heard anything not even an acknowledgement to say they've received it. In the meantime these atrocities by the crows continue. Frightening them off does not work they go Way and return in minutes

General licences

at 12:50 on 11/06/2019 by Kit Taylor

On our small area which we are returning to a wildflower pasture we have wild pheasants which stay within the area as it is not shot over, Last year 2 small broods survived due to corvid and ground vermin control. Crows can still be controlled due to sheep on the ground but the Magpie population is reaching plague proportions 10 at the last count within 5 acre area ,perhaps I could stop controlling squirrels and train them only to take magpie eggs. Nothing to do with preservation everything to do with anti shooting

General licence

at 11:59 on 11/06/2019 by M t Simpson

It’s ridiculous that Wild Justice are proposing that lambs can be protected from Crows but Pheasants should not. I suppose the answer would be for every gamekeeper to keep a few sheep to enable warranted Crow control ?

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