a century ago, the barbaric acts of putting baits laced with deadly poisons out
into the countryside to kill wildlife was outlawed [note 1]. Yet despite this,
a new report, published today (Thursday 3 November) by the RSPB, shows that
this practice remains a major problem for the birds of prey.
on these shocking findings, the RSPB is calling on the UK government to outlaw
the possession of these poisons in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The
Scottish Government has already put such measures in place.
of prey persecution is a significant area of bird crime found in the UK, and in
addition to poisoning, acts of persecution can also include shooting, nest
destruction and illegal trapping.
Whitehead, spokesman for the RSPB in the South West Said “The RSPB’s Birdcrime
report details deaths from poisoning of buzzards in Somerset and Devon and
peregrines in Gloucestershire in 2010. This year we have already seen eight
birds of prey killed by poisons including an unprecedented find of four dead
goshawks in Devon. Sadly the south west appears to remain a hotspot for this
sort of crime.”
RSPB believes that the number of recorded incidents is way below the actual
number and that they are indicative of a much wider problem.
Harper is the Conservation Director of the RSPB. He said: “It has been illegal
to poison birds of prey since 1911. But in a bizarre quirk, it is not illegal
in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for individuals to possess some of the
most deadly poisons, even though they have no legitimate use for them.”
list of chemicals used to illegally poison birds of prey includes a host of
agricultural pesticides, such as Carbofuran, Alphachloralose and Bendiocarb.
The poisoner will usually douse the carcass of a pheasant, rabbit or a pigeon
with the poison and leave the bait in a place where a bird of prey is likely to
RSPB is calling for the law to be enacted, which prevents individuals from
having named poisons in their possession if they have no legal use for
them. The RSPB’s Martin Harper
added: “Our report shows there are a number of poisons commonly used to
illegally poison wildlife for which those people responsible can have no
previous Government accepted in 2006 that it was sensible to make it illegal
for unauthorised people to possess these poisons, but despite the law being in
place, the Government hasn’t listed the banned pesticides. This is despite the
controls being in place in Scotland since 2005, where police find it a very
useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime as 10 convictions have already
Crompton – the Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police – is the lead on
wildlife crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers. Commenting on the
issue of the illegal killing of birds of prey, he said: “Of particular concern
are those offences that target or involve birds of prey and which affect the
conservation status of those birds and it is quite right that the police should
consider such offending as a matter of priority.
police service is absolutely committed to bringing those who commit wildlife
crime to justice.”
RSPB’s Martin Harper added: “If this Government is serious about tackling illegal
persecution of birds of prey, it really needs to start taking meaningful
action. Putting additional controls on the possession of these common wildlife
poisons would be a relatively easy first step, especially as these controls
would not affect legitimate pesticide uses.”