Triggered by the news that Natural England had issued the first ever licence for the destruction of a buzzard nest at the request of a pheasant shooting estate, a colleague pointed me in the direction of a blog from Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the RSA) about how to restore trust in public institutions. In it, Matthew says...
"Modern institutions – especially those which people believe should be expected to act in the public interest – must seek to make decisions as if they are operating in a glass box. (NB: This is not the same as arguing for total transparency. Indeed greater openness is more likely to be the consequence than the cause of more ethical organisational behaviour).
If an organisation which claims to be ethical is making decisions on a basis which the public would not understand or condone then it is ever more likely, sooner or later, that these decisions and the dodgy thinking behind them will be exposed, further eroding trust in institutions."
Makes you think, doesn't it?
There are two issues here. First is the secrecy surrounding the issue of these licences. Given the lack of any body of evidence to suggest that buzzards routinely impact pheasant production this licence should be subject to public scrutiny. The lack of transparency in this case is shameful. It is tantamount to an admission that this is wrong. I'm an RSPB member and I'm pleased that you have exposed this case.
The second issue is more fundamental. Can it ever be right to kill birds of prey or destroy their nests to protect a non native game bird. No, no ,no. If the shooting industry cannot operate without doing so it's not fit for the 21st century.
Indeed it does make you think and very well expressed. This is a sad and bad day for nature conservation but I suspect heavy pressure was put on Natural England from the direction of the Government. The general public would, I believe,expect those in charge to support the conservation of wildlife in preference to sectional interests. If this was not the case we would ,over time, loose all our wildlife. This support has clearly not been provided in this case and bodes badly for the future.
It does but be careful what you wish for! Some of your grass roots workers/wardens operate very closely with those that manage land and biodiversity - culling predators and trade-offs in habitat management - are part of these coal face works.
A mirror sometimes looks both ways and your members should be illuminated on, rather than sheltered from, some the modern 'red in tooth & claw' conservation methods required today.
I fear that our population's consumption and climate change will see some species disappear but we should focus on robust, perhaps at times unpalatable, science based conservation to save others before too late.
Sounds as if N E have allowed perhaps culling of 10,000 approx of GBBGulls perhaps over a period of 30 years on a estate owned by Duke of Westminster,story thought up was to protect water quality,nothing at all to do with Grouse chick predation,oh yeah.
Story something along those lines anyway.
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