Radio 4 Interview with Guy Shorrock RSPB – Should harmful Pesticides be banned?

BBC Radio 4 on the farming programme this morning broadcast an interview with Guy Shorrock from the RSPB’s Investigation Department about the societies calls for a UK ban on harmful and dangerous pesticides, many of which are currently being used to kill birds of prey in many regions of our countryside.

To hear what the RSPB had to say on this issue click on the attached link and move the audio slider control to 9.39 to begin listening to the interview with Mr. Shorrock.

With less police resources now available generally, disappointingly but understandably birds of prey and their protection is likely to become a low priority for many police forces across the country. With this in mind there is no doubt persecution of raptors will increase and the detection of these offenses will be made more difficult in the years to come. 

As Guy Shorrock states in the interview there is already a real possibility the Hen Harrier will become extinct in the very near future. As both financial and human resources diminish, a direct consequence of the global economic impact, protecting raptors throughout England’s uplands is certain to result in an already bad situation becoming much worst.

11 comments to Radio 4 Interview with Guy Shorrock RSPB – Should harmful Pesticides be banned?

  • paul williams

    All the more reason to redeem yourselves… Natural England, and return the Forest of Bowland to its protective status and sanction licenses for NWRPG so they may monitor and protect birds of prey. We do not mind doing the fieldwork, all we ask is that in the future you listen to us; had you done so last year perhaps the 14 destoyed peregrine territories would still be in tact!

  • sh23363

    I fear that some will take the suggestion that harriers may soon be extinct as encouragement … just one last push?

  • Jock Scott

    What difference would banning any particular pesticide make? The use and/or storage of carbofuran has been illegal for years but is still the poisoners’ substance of choice.
    It’s not the poison that kills the bird it’s the poisoner. The answer lies with the justice system and harsh, realistic sentences that fit this disgusting crime.

    • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

      For a few weeks I have been thinking along similar lines as the points you have raised and find for the first time I am in complete agreement with the comments you have put forward.

      In my opinion one possible solution would be to make the illegal storage and possession of pesticides subject to a mandatory prison sentence of at least 18 months, together with a substantial financial penalty (£10,000 for a first offence). Where anyone is successfully prosecuted for storing and using these substances to kill ANY protected species of wildlife the sentence should then be a mandatory 24 months in prison together with a fine of up to £20,000.

  • paul williams

    A good reason to introduce vicarious liability. When the police find illegal substances on a property, the owner is convicted of the said crime.The landowner should be liable for anything illegal undertaken by his emplyees on his property.

  • Mr. Shorrock is not telling us anything new, we know the Hen Harrier will soon be extinct in this country, the question I would ask Mr. Shorrock is, Why and What are you doing about it? not much it would seem. The RSPB condemn the persecution of raptors but are in bed with the very RICH LANDOWNERS who fill the RSPB’s coffers, you can’t run with the Hare and Hunt with the Hounds Sir. I hope the HH that has flown to Normandy from Britain decides to stay there, there is no happy ending or a future for it here and there is a good chance that the many LE and SE Owls that come to this country to overwinter will meet a sad and dreadful end also, I would advise them to stay away.
    I agree with Jock Scott, many of these pesticides have been banned for years but have been stockpiled by the very people who use them to kill our raptors so in fact the ban has been useless and ignored by these devious people and they are getting away with it, sadly the very people who should be policing this issue are falling very short of their duty, yes Jock the answer is a much harsher punishment but sadly even murderers don’t get life these days so what hope is there for our wonderful raptors.
    There are many of us out there who could do the job much better but even they are themselves persecuted for reporting wildlife crime, it is a vicious circle without a doubt and at the end it will be down to us all to keep reporting these matters wherever we can to make it public.I know that the vast majority of people don’t have a clue what goes on and just how bad raptor persecution is, when I give talks and mention it I can see by peoples faces that they are shocked.

  • There should always be a check on who is putting over their views on the radio as some people may have a ‘hidden agenda’ that is not based on the facts. What is needed is a balanced debate as the facts are birds of prey are common in general given they are at the top of the pyramid and this precipitates other birds like song birds that are not so high profile being predated to the extent that they are becoming rare. There are however a few exceptions that are always going to be rare in the UK as we are on the limit some birds of prey’s geographic range.

    • Alan Foster

      Derek what the RSPB did was licensed and therefore legal and carried out to control a pest species under carefully controlled condition. This debate is all about the illegal use of banned poisons to kill protected birds of prey by unscrupulous individuals which you appear to have over-looked.

  • paul williams

    Derek Canning….not much… the subject was about POISON!

  • Alan I know it was done under licence, I know the grass root level of the RSPB do great job but it is the double standards and the fact I know certain things about the person featured on the radio that caused me concern. The culling of sea gulls to protect other birds is not intrinsically wrong but not with poison as you cannot control where that bird is going to die and what will feed on it after death, moreover it is traumatic sight watching a poison sea gull convulse in agony before it dies. There is also the Royal Charter to consider that relates to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and not just the ones that have a high profile. Notwithstanding what I just said if culling gulls by means that are not cruel to save our turn population then I would agree with killing gulls