Friday 17 August 2012

Damn them all 17 August 2012

Our village is surrounded by miles of farmland but you hardly see or hear a bird these days except maybe along one of the hedges that have been allowed to remain. There was a book called Silent Spring written by Rachel Carson  in 1962 in which she highlighted what the dreadful consequences of wantonly drenching our crops in pesticides was having on our birds of prey. The pesticides were eventually banned and our birds of prey recovered. Problem solved? Well no.The pesticides were simply sold to those third world countries where there was no law against it, they knew no better, were frankly, totally irresponsible and corrupt or had other priorities. So we in effect polluted and still do the very countries we often seek to visit on birding holidays to see more birds and species than we can ever now encounter here. Fifty years on from Rachel Carson's book and our land is now saturated with 'safe' pesticides and herbicides. The result is a drastic reduction in the supply of weeds, seeds and insects for farmland birds to feed on and now these farmland species are almost as endangered as the birds of prey were in Rachel Carson's time. And what of our so called healthy population of raptors, fifty years on from its nadir? Why, the totally irresponsible and inane (Mark Cocker's words not mine) Minister for the Environment, Richard Benyon tries to introduce an outrageous scheme this year (the fiftieth anniversary of Rachel Carson's book) via the emasculated body called DEFRA, to have Buzzards killed, to save the estimated 2% of Pheasants taken by Buzzards and other raptors out of 40 million Pheasants released each year, to be slaughtered by him, his mates and anyone else who cares to purchase a shotgun. Hen Harriers breeding in England? No chance. Not one pair managed to breed this year. According to the RSPB there is suitable habitat in England for over 300 pairs. I repeat 300 pairs. They are however relentlessly and illegally culled by gamekeepers sanctioned by irresponsible and arrogant landowners, even royalty, to save a tiny percentage of game birds for shooting by a rich and privileged minority. The landowners do not care about any laws as they know their gamekeepers will take the rap and then be re-employed. The landowners are to all purposes safe to assume they are immune as their actions are tacitly sanctioned by the very same self interested Government Minister who is meant to be protecting our heritage of wild birds but not if it involves birds of prey or conflicts with his landowning chums interests. Why do we put up with this and them? It makes the continued royal patronage of the 'Royal' Society of Birds an insult to its members and frankly indefensible. It's an insult. Prince Harry and Richard Benyon to give two prime examples of privileged arrogance must be laughing at our seeming myopia and thrall when it comes to the privileged rich with their selfish and self interested attitudes towards our birds of prey. Yes, OUR birds. Come on RSBP.  Drop the 'Royal' and become the PSPB - Peoples Society for the Protection of Birds.You might even get a whole load more members

1 comment:

  1. Having recently been on the North Yorkshire Moors I do agree that the the persecution of raptors is not acceptable. However on the plus side the management of the Grouse Moors is beneficial for the breeding success of Curlew, Golden Plover and Lapwing. I am not suggesting that this justifies the situation with the raptors but there are so many habitats where there are only losers. At least in these areas some species are benefiting.