Target: Andrea Leadsom Secretary of State for the Environment
Goal: Stop granting licenses for the killing of buzzards after they recovered from near extinction.
The government of the U.K. has issued a licence to shoot and kill buzzards to a currently anonymous British landowner, the first such licence issued since 1954. This move comes after pressure from the shooting industry in order to protect their profits.
The shooting industry in the U.K. releases 45 million pheasants–birds raised in factory farms–into the wild each year for recreational hunters to shoot. Buzzards prey on pheasants, which undermines industry profits. However, the number of pheasants killed by motorists each year dwarfs the number killed by buzzards.
During the 19th and early 20th century, Buzzards were hunted to extinction in many parts of the U.K. Their populations rebounded under legal protection by the British government. Experiences with the legal killing of other previously protected species show that issuing licences often leads to increases in illegal killing of the species.
Given that the government is maintaining the anonymity of those receiving licences, it would be easy for anyone caught illegally hunting buzzards to claim to have a license. Sign our petition and demand an end to the legal killing of buzzards and that the U.K. government reaffirms its commitment to protect wildlife.
Dear Secretary Leadsom,
I was alarmed to hear that Natural England has issued a licence to an anonymous landowner to hunt buzzards. I believe that this is a move in the wrong direction for the U.K. and will only serve to endanger a species that owes its resurgence to the past 60 years of legal protection.
The primary rationale for killing the birds is their predation of pheasants. However, while 45 million pheasants are released into the wild each year, buzzard account for a minuscule proportion of the bird’s deaths. A far greater number of pheasants are killed by motorists than by buzzards.
Furthermore, as previous experiences have shown, issuing licences to hunt protected species leads to a significant increase in their illegal killing. In the 19th and early 20th century, hunting buzzards resulted in their extinction from much of the U.K. Please ensure we do not repeat that mistake.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peter Trimming