Landowners should be held responsible for bird crime: RSPB

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has said that landowners should be held responsible for attacks on birds of prey.

The RSPB made the recommendation following last year’s 384 incidents of bird crime. 2009 was the second worst year for bird crime since the government started keeping records. Bird crime in 2009 was surpassed by only 2007 crime rate, when 389 incidents of crime rate were reported.

Last year’s incidents of bird crime included acts of poisoning of endangered species such as hen harriers, buzzards eagles, kites and hen harriers. Nests and eggs of these endangered species were also disturbed or stolen.

North Yorkshire, West Mercia, Devon & Cornwall and Northumbria have been identified as the areas with the worst rate of bird crime. It may be noted here that all these areas feature large number of shooting estates.

Commenting on the issue, RSPB spokesman Graham Madge said, “The RSPB is concerned the shooting industry appears unable to self-police and the Society believes new legislation is required to make the managers and employers of those committing these crimes legally accountable.”

The Scottish government ministers as well as officials are reportedly studying the proposal closely to make landowners personally responsible for the actions of their gamekeepers.