Crowdfund Petition Sees Pigeon and Crow Shooting Suspended in England

Little by little hunting activities are slowly being chipped away across the globe. These same groups are also targeting your fishing and firearm rights. England has already seen their firearm rights heavily reduced by these same groups.

The Field Sports Channel reported the Government has bowed to Chris Packham and is banning most pigeon, crow, gull and Canada goose shooting in England.

Natural England – the Government agency responsible – is “revoking three general licences for controlling certain wild birds as of Thursday 25 April 2019,” says the Government in astatement. It adds: “These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose, some gulls and pigeons.”

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have not reacted yet.

Chris Packham crowdfunded and launched a legal challenge calledWild Justiceto the way the licences are issued, arguing

that shooters are not acting lawfully. Government lawyers appear to have folded and let Packham have his way.

The three licences subject to the legal challenge cover 16 bird species, including several members of the crow family (crows, magpies, rooks, jackdaws and jays), feral and wood pigeon and number of invasive non-native species (such as Canada goose).

The specific licences:

  • General licence GL04: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to prevent serious damage or disease
  • General licence GL05: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
  • General licence GL06: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to conserve wild birds or flora or fauna

Details are sketchy. They do not appear to include licences to protect crops, though GL04 specifically includes crop protection. They probably do cover Larsen traps.

Taken by surprise by the decision, Natural England says it is “working at pace to put in place over the next few weeks alternative measures to allow lawful control of these bird species to continue where necessary”.

In the meantime, and until new licences are issued, anyone needing to control one of 16 bird species where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will need to apply for an individual licence in the same way they apply for licences to control birds such as cormorants and ravens. These licences take weeks to obtain and are seldom given out – though Natural England reassures shooters: “If people need to take action in the meantime they will need to apply for an individual licence, using a simplified process which will be available on from 25 April.”

Natural England’s interim chief executive Marian Spain says: “We recognise this change will cause disruption for some people, but we are working hard to ensure it is kept to a minimum.

“We will bring forward interim measures as quickly as possible as the first stage of our planned review of the licences. We want to make sure our licensing system is robust and proportionate, taking into account the needs of wildlife and people.”




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