|A Common Buzzard in Scotland.|
Buzzards take a mere fraction of the 40 million gamebirds released into the countryside each year and the reasons why they should be controlled are shaky to say the least. We're not talking about protecting pheasants, this is about a commercial enterprise out simply to make money.
There is absolutely no way that any measures should be taken against a natural, wild predator who is allegedly (as yet, unproven) killing captive.y reared birds. Birds bred purely for sport, for commercial purposes, intensively reared, released and then slaughtered in large numbers. Especially when - as quite clearly stated in the DEFRA project proposal - the effect of predation is 'unclear' and statements like "It is claimed that the shoots have suffered significant losses from buzzard predation ..." don't exactly give a definitive case for the buzzards being the cause of loss. (Many other natural predators are also frequently killed by gamekeepers, whose only interested is to keep the birds until they're ready for the guns.)
In fact over 3 million pheasant poults are killed on the road, so shouldn't the game keepers be seeking to ban motor vehicles which account for the loss of far more birds! Or perhaps if these birds weren't so intensively reared, they wouldn't make such easy pickings for natural, wild predators.
You always know when it's coming up to the shooting season, as large numbers of bemused young birds are released, only to end up victims of Roadkill Alley, as I've named one particular stretch of road which is littered with bodies and piles of feathers. How anyone can call this 'sport' - it's more like shooting fish in a barrel.
I would hope there are rather more people who would prefer to see a wild bird soaring in our skies than the few who get their pleasure from shooting a reared bird, intensively bred, simply for the purpose of being blasted out of the skies within a few short weeks of being hatched.
If you want to stop this totally ludicrous state of affairs then write to your local MP and ask them to forward it to Richard Benyon the MP responsible for this decision.
You may like to highlight;
- Predation by buzzards is a relatively small cause of loss of pheasants
- Buzzards are a native and recovering species, while pheasants are a non-native gamebird
- The good that £400,000 could do for species of highest conservation concern, such as the hen harrier.
If they get the OK on buzzards - what species will be next?