Challenging the casual killing of birds

by Wild Justice

Challenging the casual killing of birds

by Wild Justice
Wild Justice
Case Owner
A not-for-profit seeking justice for wildlife in the courts
Funded
on 15th March 2019
£35,989
pledged of £36,000 stretch target from 1,095 pledges
Wild Justice
Case Owner
A not-for-profit seeking justice for wildlife in the courts

Latest: April 23, 2019

Wild Justice wins its first legal challenge.

Late this afternoon we heard that we had won our first legal challenge - thanks to the generosity of over 1100 donors.  Thank you all! 

We'll be talking to our lawyers about this and w...

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Wild Justice challenges the casual killing of birds

The statutory agency Natural England allows the unlimited killing of a wide variety of bird species under a series of ‘General Licences' which are published at the start of each year. Birds such as Carrion Crows, Rooks, Magpies, Woodpigeons, Jackdaws, Jays and Ring-necked Parakeets can be killed without applying for a licence, without having to justify why the action is necessary, without having to explain why alternative non-lethal measures such as scaring or proofing are ineffective or impracticable, and without having to report on how many birds are killed. All a person needs to do to ‘qualify’ to kill unlimited numbers of these birds is to claim to have read and understood the relevant General Licence.

Wild Justice believes this system is unlawful despite the fact that it has been in existence for decades and has 'authorised' the casual killing of millions of birds. We contend that it is the licensing authority’s (Natural England's) legal responsibility to satisfy itself that killing these birds is an appropriate last resort. However, in the General Licences issued on 1 January 2019 Natural England ducks its responsibility and instead places the decision-making completely in the hands of the General Licence user.  

Wild Justice is seeking a judicial review of Natural England's decision to issue General Licences GL04, GL05 and GL06 on 1 January 2019. Similar licences apply to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and our case will have implications in those countries too.

We are not asking for the 2019 General Licences to be withdrawn, but rather that Natural England does not issue further General Licences and instead develops a legal system for regulating and monitoring the killing of birds if lethal control is absolutely necessary as a last resort.

We see the General Licence system as a clear example of how wildlife killing is largely unregulated in the UK. The system is lax and allows gamekeepers, farmers and others to kill birds without any proper oversight or regulation.

To challenge the system, we need your help - whatever you can afford to donate! We need to raise £36,000 to ensure that we can fight this case all the way through the courts.

If for any unexpected reason we raise more money than we need to spend on this case then unspent funds will be allocated to other legal challenges on the CrowdJustice crowdfunding page.  These might be future legal challenges taken by Wild Justice or other environmental cases.

Photo credit: Andy Rouse

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Update 2

Wild Justice

April 23, 2019

Wild Justice wins its first legal challenge.

Late this afternoon we heard that we had won our first legal challenge - thanks to the generosity of over 1100 donors.  Thank you all! 

We'll be talking to our lawyers about this and what it means in the long term.

Here is the link to the announcement on the Westminster Government website - click here.

Thank you to everyone who supported this successful challenge.  We will post more information here after discussions between ourselves and with our lawyers.

Update 1

Wild Justice

March 22, 2019

We have issued our claim form

We have taken the next stage in our legal challenge - thanks to the terrific response to our crowdfunder.

Yesterday, Wild Justice's lawyers issued the claim form seeking permission for judicial review of Natural England's decision to issue the General Licences GL04-06 on 1 January 2019. 

For more details see Mark Avery's blog.

Thank you to the over 1000 peopple who have carried our crowdfunder through to within £5500 of meeting its full stretch target.

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