I am writing this to you in abject despair and frustration, for my friends there are many injustices in this world that get me riled, but none moreso than when wildlife are being unnecessarily hunted down for the profit of a small number of humans that have no regard for anything except their grubby money.
Foxes, badgers, now corvids and soon sparrowhawks are the target of these despicable people.
The trial cull of crows and magpies will be carried out by the Game & Wildlife Conservation (oh, the irony in that title) Trust, which is considering sites in Hampshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Herefordshire and the Scottish Borders in March (possibly, although dates amongst other things are vague from this organisation) this year.
Studies already compiled have shown that corvids are not to blame for the demise of the UK's Songbird population. There are many mitigating factors such as urbanisation, intensification of farming methods and pesticides, loss or degradation of habitat, cats and other introduced predators (such as the American Mink) also contribute to the Songbird's demise. Corvids are opportunists, they will take eggs or young of smaller birds but this is not their primary food source. Farmers also blame Corvids for stealing their seed crops and yet they are much more likely to be grubbing for worms or insects in the fields.
Dark Mavis portrait by Sheryl la Bouchardiere.
Why am I getting so hot and bothered about this? The seemlingly conservationist organisation Songbird Survival Trust is chaired by Viscount Coke (the son of the Earl of Leicester, who owns Holkham Hall where there is a large nature reserve and is one of the largest gaming properties in the UK, they have been embroiled more than once in arrests over illegal killings of wildlife by their gamekeepers on their property) and the Countryside Alliance, both of which have influence within Members of Parliment and many rich landowners. These organisations have ignored the findings of the studies they themselves funded with the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology).
With the government here now selling off the country's forests to the private sector under it's Big Society programme (shudder), the next on the list is the country's nature reserves, and while they are in talks with charities such as the National Trust and RSPB these organisations do not have the money and want the government to fund this. Stalemate, and guess what's going to be the biggest losers?
As the rich blast their way across the countryside, with their thinly veiled version on conservation of this country's wildlife, consider this: do you really think that ridding yourselves of Corvids will increase your ability to shoot down a Pheasant, or will you just pave the way from a more virulent predator?
Image courtesy Valerie Harrison
Please check out these websites and articles which give information about about Viscount Coke, the larsen traps and other wildlife organisations which oppose this cull.
ACT against corvid traps
Independent article 31/01/11
Article about wildlife offences at Holkham estate
There is also a petition to stop this proposed cull, please could you sign and share:
Stop the Corvid cull petition!
Rescue centres that do take in Corvids are bracing themselves as most other wildlife centres do not rescue Magpies, Crows, Ravens, Rooks, Jackdaws and Jays. Ravens have had full protection but as their numbers have grown so have the calls from farmers and Game properties to destroy them for supposedly interfering with their livestock. Choughs are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and even they may not be safe if these 'studies' go nationwide. How will it be policed? Will they have to hand in carcasses to any governing authority? If not, do we just take their word for it, sit back and wait for them to skew figures and tell us that any increase in songbird populations is due to the 'fully experimental scientific tests' the Songbird Survival Trust have conducted?
This sorry affair is not only affecting the corvid population, raptors such as the Sparrowhawk and the Buzzard amongst others are also in their sights, we need to stand up against these awful excuses for human beings and not allow our forests and natural eco systems be destroyed by the few for the few.
"If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows." Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (Mid-1800's)
My (at this time, sad) regards to you all