Richard Benyon – The bird-brained minister

The Buzzard fiasco now shows just how committed our government is to protecting the interest of our birds of prey. The link to the attached article says it all. Mr Benyon the only responsible option for you now is to resign, sooner rather than later.

Statment recently published by Defra, explaining their position on the Buzzard scenario

The Myth: 

There have been recent reports that Defra is proposing to cull buzzards or is about to implement a new policy to control their numbers. 

The Truth: 

Defra is absolutely not proposing to cull buzzards or any other raptors. 

We work on the basis of sound evidence.  This is why we want to find out the true extent of buzzards preying on young pheasants and how best to discourage birds that may cause damage to legitimate businesses.   This would be only in areas where there is a clear problem, using non-lethal methods including increasing protective cover for young pheasants with vegetation, diversionary feeding of buzzards, moving the birds elsewhere or destroying empty nests. The results of this scientific research will help guide our policy on this issue in the future. 

As the RSPB have said, the buzzard population has recovered wonderfully over the last few years, and we want to see this continue.

UPDATE – 30th May 2012

We’ve listened to public concerns, so we are stopping the planned research and developing new research proposals on buzzards.

Today, Wildlife Minister Richard Benyon said:

“In the light of the public concerns expressed in recent days, I have decided to look at developing new research proposals on buzzards.

“The success of conservation measures has seen large increases in the numbers of buzzards and other birds of prey over the last two decades.  As Minister for Wildlife I celebrate that and since 2010 we have championed many new measures to benefit wildlife across England – set out in our England Biodiversity Strategy. 

 “At the same time it is right that we make decisions on the basis of sound evidence and we do need to understand better the whole relationship between raptors, game birds and other livestock. I will collaborate with all the organisations that have an interest in this issue and will bring forward new proposals.”

3 comments to Richard Benyon – The bird-brained minister

  • John Miles

    The main prey of the Buzzard is rabbit which is projected to increase in numbers due to global warming hence the increase in Buzzard numbers around the country. The present damage caused by rabbits in the Uk is around £200 million a year to agriculture, horticulture and private gardens. DEFRA has been spending a lot of money looking for alternative diseases to wipe out the rabbit population as other diseases are not working. Natural predation by Buzzards and other birds and mammals, many wiped out by shooting estates to protect the pheasant, could save DEFRA and the tax payer £millions.

  • Kitt Jones

    The less pheasants the better— I manage a nature reserve which is inundated with pheasants fron a neighbouring shoot.
    Over the years I have seen pheasants eating slow worms, young grass snakes young great crested newts and rare flowers. All of which are a very important part of the biodiversity on our site. This year I observed a cock pheasant consuming the larvae of Silver washed fritillary butterflies which are very very rare in our area. The impact of millions of hungry game birds on endangered ground dwelling butterfly larvae can only be imagined. Also these alien captive bred game birds take alot of natural food that native birds rely on.
    Pheasants are also a menace on the roads, a local motorcyclist was killed some years back when he collided with a flying bird and lost control of his machine.

  • Daniel Marsden

    Kitt a very well written piece – based on very sound knowledge, first hand experiences. Pheasants, indeed more like poultry, are ever hungry birds which must impact massively upon the immediate and further micro Eco systems. Listen close mr.benyon, your parties on rocky ground as it is for not listening to its voters. Do not make the folly mistake of taking us for fools – times an tides are changing!!!