NSA concern regarding bird control following revocation of licencing rights

25th April 2019

Following Natural England’s decision to introduce an individual licence to farmers wishing to shoot birds across England.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “I don’t believe this is a decision that Natural England would have wanted to make but its hand has been forced by a legal challenge behind which lies Mark Avery (ex RSPB) and the BBCs Chris Packham. It’s extremely disappointing to see people without a practical understanding of land management and livestock farming being able to frustrate things in this way and not consider the reasons behind the need to quickly and humanely control birds that are causing animal welfare problems.”

NSA is concerned that adding a level of bureaucracy to the licensing process, even temporarily, will result in ewes and lambs suffering as a result of bird attacks.

Mr Stocker continues: “It is common for Corvids to peck out and eat the eyes of sheep unable to defend themselves, take the tongues of new born lambs so they cant suck, and even tear their stomachs out. Individual birds will quickly develop behavioural habits and they will even teach their peers and influence others.  If farmers are unable to control problem birds by shooting them, this issue could very quickly worsen from its already troubling position.  It is disappointing that animal rights extremists have been allowed to force the hand of Natural England and in doing so have a negative impact on the welfare of other animals.”

NSA will be in communication with Natural England on this topic, and try to encourage a quick and easy licencing scheme which helps protect farmers and their property.