Friday, 16 July 2021

Subject: Wild Justice 69 - new legal action, Shooting Times update

 

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Good morning!  Our main news today is that we are mounting a challenge of DEFRA's regulations that relate to burning vegetation on peatland soils. However, we know that many of you are interested in our tussle with the Shooting Times over an article they published back in February so we'll take this opportunity to tell you about that and a few other things too.  But first, our challenge of the Burning Regulations...
 
1. Burning Regulations
Back in early June, in Wild Justice newsletter 63, we told you that we had sent a Pre-Action Protocol letter to DEFRA saying that the Burning Regulations which they had brought in were, in our view, unlawful because, essentially, they weren't good enough - they aren't strong enough and they aren't clear enough.  DEFRA responded saying something along the lines of 'Oh yes they are'.  Our legal advice is that their defence is weak and flawed so we have taken the next stage in the three-step process of judicial review - we issued detailed papers in the High Court on Tuesday. These lengthy papers contain a financial statement, a witness statement about the issue by Wild Justice and the top-level legal argument  which is a called a Statement of Facts and Grounds by our lawyers. 
 
DEFRA will have to respond to these arguments in detail - unless they'd like to give in now - and then a judge will or won't give us permission for judicial review of the Burning Regulations. We almost certainly won't hear whether or not we have permission until the autumn. If we get permission we move on to even more detailed legal arguments and a hearing before a judge at a later date who will pronounce on whether we are right, or DEFRA is right (and sometimes it is a bit of both - see our challenge of NRW's general licences - click here).
 
You can read our press release on the matter - click here. The Wild Justice quote in that release is 'There's a climate crisis and a biodiversity crisis, and this type of burning adds to both. Instead of acting decisively, DEFRA is fiddling while the uplands burn.'.  We'd say that is undoubtedly true, DEFRA probably wouldn't agree, but DEFRA's measures have been very widely criticised by other environmental and conservation groups, by many peers in the House of Lords and by the Committee on Climate Change in its very recent report to Parliament, so it's a widely held view. Our legal challenge seeks to establish that not only is DEFRA dragging its feet on this matter but it is doing so in a way that is unlawful because of existing legal commitments under environmental law.  It's a complex case, but one which we believe is well worth taking - win or lose. Our lawyers at Leigh Day say that the Regulations 'create a façade of effectiveness preventing real progress from being made' - that's a good way of putting it too! 
 
Obviously these challenges cost money BUT, no, we aren't asking you to contribute to this challenge at this stage. Thanks to the generosity of Wild Justice supporters we have built up a fighting fund and so we have the first stage (the PAP letter) and the second stage (which will end with a decision on permission over proceeding to a court hearing) covered.  If we get permission to go to court then we will ask you for help in funding that last, third stage.
 
Talking of money, very briefly...
 
2. We have filed our company accounts for 1 November 2019 - 31 October 2020 - you can see them here on our blog or on the Companies House website (but they are quite dull).
 
3. The Perfect 10 or the Imperfect 8 - an update. 
In late May we told you (in newsletter 62 and this blog post) about an article, published in Shooting Times, which described a man going out to try to shoot the 'Perfect' 10 species in a day, which we had reported to DEFRA as a potential breach of the terms of the general licences. We updated you recently (newsletter 67 and three blog posts, The Shooting Times and the general licencesA letter to the Shooting Times and What that Shooting Times article might have said) about the fact that when the Essex Police sought to interview the writer of the article he changed his story (presumably to the truth) and admitted that the article was, in large parts, false. We wrote to the Shooting Times pointing out that they had not only published an article that was not true, but had it been true then it was describing behaviour that might be illegal and that they should make amends for that. There is a small correction printed in Shooting Times this week and you can see what we think of it in another blog post published today - click here.
 
That's more or less it for now.  There will be another newsletter very soon telling you about our plans for Hen Harrier Day and what the three of us got up to, with some friends, on some grouse moors and other moors when we all met up earlier this week.
 
If you like what we are doing, please consider making a donation through PayPal, bank transfer or a cheque in the post - see details here. All our work is funded solely by donations.
 
Back soon!
 
 
Wild Justice (Directors: Mark Avery, Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay).
 
Image of heather burning - thanks to Sarah Hanson.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

The meaningless destruction of the Malay tapir

 

Malay tapirs need your help

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Siamese crocodile hatchling being held by conservationist

The meaningless destruction of the Malay tapir

Malay tapirs are glorious. These adorable animals spend their time innocently wandering around the rainforests of Southeast Asia, blissfully grazing on foliage and keeping to themselves. Often disguised in the deep undergrowth, they rarely encounter humans face to face, so we actually know surprisingly little about them.

But what we do know is shocking. 

The forests they call home have become a literal death trap. The trails they use daily have been filled with tiger snares, and tapirs are being caught in the crossfire.

The effect is devastating. The poorly sighted tapirs, who try so hard to stay out of trouble, end up walking right into the traps.

It is a sickening sight. The snares cause horrific pain, tightening with each tug as the tapirs try to pull free, and the struggle can last for many hours, the cables tearing through their skin. The result is a slow and agonising death.

And the most depressing part is yet to come.

As tapir meat is considered forbidden by most locals, when these poor creatures are eventually found by poachers, they are ruthlessly and uselessly discarded.

It’s like twisting a knife in a wound - not only are these tapirs being subjected to such barbaric pain, but the whole process is totally needless and utterly devoid of sense. It is heartbreaking beyond measure.

This is why we need your help – tapirs have a relatively slow reproduction rate so their population could take many years to recover. The only way to end this tragedy is to clear the snares, and clear them fast.

Through your donations, we can get rangers patrolling the forest, detecting and safely removing snares to help protect tapirs and other wildlife. This will make a crucial difference in securing the future of the Malay tapir.

Let’s save these wonderful creatures before it is too late.

 

Please help save Malay tapirs - there are only 2,500 left. If everyone reading this donates just £3, you could help put rangers in the field to carry out crucial snare removal, helping to keep the forests safe for the magnificent Malay tapir. Thank you.

Brunswick the shark

 Meet "Brunswick" And 8 Other Bone Chilling Great White Sharks Who Have Visited Our Jersey Shore

Cats are predators and natural hunters, but kittens must be taught how to stalk and kill. Wild cats often injure animals and carry them back so their ..

Big cat in Carolinas

 North Carolina man reels in record-setting 127-pound blue catfish

It is the third-largest blue catfish ever caught in the U.S. ... "But once we got that big one in the boat and it bottomed out my 110-pound scale, we ... new North Carolina state record blue cat would've been on the other end of the line

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

BBC: Anglers on alert for invasive Pacific pink salmon



Anglers have been asked to report catches and sightings of an invasive species of salmon in Scottish rivers.

Pink salmon are native to Pacific Ocean waters but have spread to parts of northern Europe after being released into rivers in Russia in the 1960s.

"Unprecedented numbers" of the fish were found in Scottish rivers in 2017, and high numbers were again seen in 2019.

The salmon have already been caught this year in the Ness in the Highlands.

Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) has asked anglers to report where else the fish have been found.


Read on…

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