Unfair game: why are Britain’s birds of prey being killed?

Are gamekeepers killing off Britain’s raptors? It’s a question that gets to the heart of our right to privacy – and to roam.  Game managers rear and release as many as 40 million pheasants and six million red-legged partridges every year into the natural environment. There is a much darker side to shooting pheasants. Only a month before my visit to Raveningham and just 12 miles from the estate, a gamekeeper called Allen Lambert was sentenced for killing ten buzzards and a sparrowhawk. The 65-year-old had a lifetime in the profession. At his workplace on the Stody Estate in Norfolk he was caught with a bagful of dead birds of prey, along with a “classic poisoner’s kit”, including syringes and the banned pesticides aldicarb and mevinphos. It was the worst incident of illegal raptor poisoning recorded in England.

[airesizeimg src=”http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Red-Kite-in-nest.jpg” alt=”Red Kite in nest” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14136″ ]

The red kite is one of many species of raptor under the onslaught of gamekeepers on some estates in England.

In his defence at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, Lambert claimed that he was protecting the partridges and pheasants bred for his employers, the Knight family, to shoot on their Stody property. He was found guilty, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £930 and given a ten-week jail term, suspended for a year. The perceived leniency of the sentence angered environmentalists.

The above two paragraphs were included in a very good article published in the NewStatesman written by Mark Cocker  in early July. What Cocker has written is very interesting and well worth a read. You can read what Mark Cocker had to say here. 

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