Currently a general licence is issued annually by Natural England. This ‘open’ licence, ensures farmers and shooters do not have to apply individually, to cull pest species which can threaten livestock, crops, fisheries, or spread specific diseases.
In total, according to the Farmers Weekly, there are 15 species covered, including wood pigeons, crows, jackdaws, jays, magpies and rooks.
Mark Avery, director of Wild Justice, said: “Natural England and Defra are allowing the casual killing of millions of birds each year with no monitoring, no control and no justifiable reason. Mass killing of wildlife under general licences has been going on for nearly 40 years – it’s time this casual killing ended”.
Such unsubstantiated inflammatory misinformation makes one wonder if these people have ever experienced life on working farms, where food is produced for home consumption and export. If they had they would understand the challenges farmers and growers face from predators.
For example pigeons descend in their hundreds as recently sown crops emerge as tender morsels, which they ‘mechanically’ pluck travelling along rows. They can decimate fields, which in extreme cases require replanting, in an afternoon, unless the guns are ready to pick them off, and deter others.
Just before harvest they return to the ripened crop which can appear to have been flattened by a steam roller. A crushed and depleted crop makes combining difficult, and slashes income.
Pigeon and other vermin control has taken place on farms and in the countryside for decades. I defy Messrs Packham, Avery and Tingay to demonstrate that there are less of these birds and other farm pests, which we attempt to control, than a hundred years ago. They are certainly not endangered species.
However, if they keep up their relentless crusade attacking farmers and land owners, it is likely that these traditional ‘keepers of the countryside, and custodians of British wildlife’, will be the ones who become extinct. I am beginning to suspect that is their plan.
This week I had intended to avoid the subject of Brexit altogether. However I am seething with anger following the antics which took place in parliament last week. Speaker Bercow, despite having claimed to be ‘a servant of the House’, tore up parliamentary procedure and protocol, in his attempt to frustrate Brexit, and has degraded his office in his efforts to create a blaze of notoriety, with his usual narcissistic smirk.
This, combined with the Prime Minister’s threats towards principled conservative MPs, who are understandably reluctant to support her shameful Withdrawal Agreement, which flies in the face of what she promised to deliver following the referendum. It is anti-British, undemocratic, and an appeasement to her chums in Brussels.
A majority of people I speak to, and those who have contacted me in recent days, feel utterly betrayed by parliament. A majority of MPs consider they know better than 17.4 million voters, despite most having stood on a manifesto that promised to deliver the referendum result. As Jacob Rees- Mogg said, “This is dishonest and challenges the country’s democratic system.”
Quentin Letts was spot on when he said, “When Parliament’s arbiter breaks the rules, Parliament itself becomes bent. But I think we all knew that Westminster no longer has legislators. It has been captured by anti-democratic squatters.”
MPs are the servants of the people not our masters. Shame on those who believe it is acceptable to ride rough shod over our democracy, in their desire to abandon our national sovereignty.