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Birds of Prey and the Law

Birds of prey are widely persecuted on shooting estates (and on some farms) but all species are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and most (excluding Common Buzzard, Kestrel, and Sparrowhawk) also come under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

This means that NO bird of prey can be shot, poisoned, or trapped, and those on Schedule 1 can not additionally be intentionally or recklessly disturbed while they are nest building, nesting or caring for fledged chicks without a licence issued by the British Trust for Ornithology on behalf of Natural England (but there appears to be no provision in law for an offence of preventing a bird of prey from starting to nest).

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 even makes it an offence to be in possession of the body of a dead bird of prey (in fact of any wild bird protected under Schedule 1).

  • There are currently no exceptions, though the shooting industry is increasingly applying for licences to kill Buzzards on or near shooting estates.
  • For information on wildlife crime involving poisons and birds of prey  > Illegal Poisoning and poisoned baits

 

If we report a wildlife crime involving a bird of prey we will NOT be expected to know what species is involved, but Protect the Wild has a page of the most routinely persecuted species > BIRDS and here are six of the most commonly targeted linked to their individual species accounts.

Common Buzzard

Golden Eagle

Hen Harrier

Peregrine

Red Kite

Short-eared Owl

A bird of prey is any bird species that pursues birds, mammals, or fish for food. They are classified in two orders: Falconiformes and Strigiformes (owls). All birds of prey have hook-tipped beaks and sharp curved claws called talons (in nonpredatory vultures the talons are present but atrophied).

There are 15 species of diurnal, breeding raptor resident in the UK, split into three basic groups: eagles (the largest), hawks (the next largest, with broad wings) and falcons. There are also six species of breeding owl (seven if the very small numbers of breeding non-native Eagle Owl is included).

Not in law, no.

The terms are somewhat interchangeable but ‘raptors’ tend to exclude owls. Owls though are fully protected by law.

Raptor persecution is a wildlife crime against a bird of prey, their chicks, and/or their nest. It is one of the UK Wildlife Crime Priorities and the term includes poisoning, shooting, trapping, habitat destruction and nest destruction/disturbance.

All birds of prey and their chicks are protected by law, therefore any harmful or damaging action taken aganst them  is a crime and is ‘raptor persecution‘.

For more  > What is raptor persecution?

 

Birds of prey in Northern Ireland are protected all year under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, as amended by the Wildlife and Environment Act (NI) 2011. It is illegal to disturb them at, in, on or near their nests.

Unlike the rest of the UK (where Common Buzzard, Kestrel, and Saparrowhawk are not listed on Schedule One of the Wildlife and Countryside Act) ALL raptors are listed on Schedule 1 of the order and there are six raptor species which receive additional protection on Schedule A1 which protects them and their nests from disturbance or destruction at all times of the year: Peregrine Falcon, Red Kite, Barn Owl, Golden Eagle White-tailed Eagle and Osprey.

  • If witnessing any bird of prey being antagonised or disturbed please call PSNI on ‘101’ or anonymously at Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

Birds of prey are deliberately and relentlessly shot, trapped and poisoned in the UK countryside because they take small numbers of birds, like Red Grouse, that are reared by the shooting industry to be sold to be shot.

Some farmers (particularly in areas dominated by sheep farming) still persecute birds of prey because they believe that larger species like eagles will take lambs: evidence suggests that any lambs that are taken will have been scavenged rather than hunted.

ALL birds of prey are protected and it is illegal to shoot, poison, or trap, any species, and most can not be intentionally or recklessly disturbed while they are nesting or caring for fledged chicks.

Most experts agree that the Hen Harrier is Britain’s most persecuted bird of prey because that’s what the data suggests.

Hen Harriers breed on moorlands, and amongst a wide and varied diet will take Red Grouse chicks. This has led to the almost complete annihilation of the species from England’s uplands – just four pairs nested in 2017 despite there being suitable habitat for hundreds.

The highly-respected website Raptor Persecution UK keeps a running total of the number of Hen Harriers that have ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances or have been found illegally killed, since 2018.

In August 2023 the site stated that since 2018 at least 98 Hen Harriers have either been illegally killed or have ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances, most of them on or close to driven grouse moors.

It went on to say that “there is no question that the grouse shooting industry is simply taking the piss”.

No. This is a myth put about by some shooting lobbyists, shooting estates, and gamekeepers, who cling to the Victorian belief that birds of prey need to be ‘controlled’ by man and are ‘eating everything that moves‘ and that shooting estates can’t be profitable where there are ‘too many’ raptors ‘in conflict’ with shooting interests (this manufactured ‘conflict’ is purely based on profit, shooting lobbyists GWCT commenting in 2014, for example, on the Langholm Moor Development Project that “if there are too many harriers on a moor the shoot becomes uneconomic”).

Whilst it is true that some species of bird of prey – notably Common Buzzard and Red Kite – are more common now than they have been for decades, this actually reflects a recovery of some populations after centuries of persecution that has seen species that were pushed to the point of local extinction now spreading back into old territories.

Will populations ever recover to levels last seen hundreds of years ago? No reliable data exists to identify how common birds of prey once were beyond the enormous numbers recorded locally killed on shooting estates, but common sense says that it is unlikely. The natural landscape has been hugely changed/degraded since birds of prey were last truly plentiful, prey numbers are much reduced (and it is availability of prey that will ‘control’ the number of predators in any habitat in the long run), and ongoing illegal persecution (especially of Hen Harriers, Northern Goshawks, and Peregrine Falcons) is still having a severe impact on survival rates.

Whatever the statistics say, though, all birds of prey are protected by law, and as we say repeatedly on Protect the Wild, the shooting industry is not fit to decide how many birds of prey live in the UK and  must never again be allowed to ‘control’ them.

If a bird of prey is trapped in a legal cage trap ( > Cage Traps and the Law) it must be released by the cage operator immediately. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

It is not recommended that we try to release a bird of prey from a trap (no matter how tempting). A trapped bird may attack injuring themselves or us, and we may even find ourselves charged with damaging a legal trap.

Take a photo and contact the police or RSPB Wildlife Enquiries (01767 693690) instead.

In May and June 2023 the Raptor Persecution UK blog published reports of ‘mannequins’ being used as scarecrows on grouse moors. The mannequins, positioned prominently and posed to look like they were pointing at something or walking, were found in areas where Hen Harriers (a highly protected species but the UK’s most persecuted bird of prey) might breed.

Is this illegal though (ie what law/s might be being broken)?

  • The Wildlife & Countryside Act says that NO bird of prey can be shot, poisoned, or trapped, and they can not be intentionally or recklessly disturbed while they are nesting or caring for fledged chicks but there seems to be no legislation making it a crime to prevent (without causing harm or injury of course) a territorial pair of birds of prey from nesting in the first place.
  • While the estates in question were in a National Park, they are actually privately owned and managed. Presumably the gamekeepers that set these mannequins up had the landowners’ permission so there is no question of charging anyone with littering or fly-tipping etc.
  • It’s obvious to any outside observer what the consequence of placing these mannequins in this way might be (ie deterring Hen Harriers from nesting on the moor), but if the birds hadn’t already started nesting proving ‘intent’ to commit a crime would be extremely difficult. The landowner or employee could say that the mannequins were placed to ‘protect’ Red Grouse from corvids or to discourage foxes (so were just modern versions of ‘scarecrows’ which are used as non-lethal deterrents by Natural England themselves) and had nothing to do with Hen Harriers.
  • Couldn’t someone just take them down anyway? The mannequins were on private land, securely staked and fenced off. In law they will be considered to be private property and anyone found damaging them or taking them away could risk being charged with theft or criminal damage (but only if they were seen, of course).

Yes, but as part of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, if a bird of prey is listed under section 7, schedule 4 they must be registered as living at an address in England or Wales and any captive bird of a species listed in Schedule 4 must be registered with Animal Health (DEFRA).

As of 2009 just nine species of bird are covered. As well as being registered these birds must also be closed ringed (a permanent identification ring placed on the bird as a hatchling) or microchipped.

 

Peregrines and Falcons do not need to be registered if an Article 10 certificate for the bird is held, and it’s ringed or microchipped.

Hunting foxes was banned by the Hunting Act 2004, but a ‘falconry exemption’ allows dogs to ‘flush’ a fox so that it can be caught by a bird of prey.

Under Schedule One ‘Exempt hunting‘, Section 6 ‘Falconry’, the Act states that:

Flushing a wild mammal from cover is exempt hunting if undertaken—

(a ) for the purpose of enabling a bird of prey to hunt the wild mammal, and

(b) on land which belongs to the hunter or which he has been given permission to use for the purpose by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by a person to whom it belongs.

 

 

The loophole was originally meant to ensure falconers did not get prosecuted if their birds killed a mammal that had been flushed out of cover by dogs, but Defra warned as long ago as 2005 that hunts were using birds of prey (including Golden Eagles, Steppe Eagles, and Eagle Owls) to flout the ban, so issued a clarification:

Employing (whether or not released to hunt) a bird of prey which does not ordinarily hunt that particular wild mammal [would be illegal], because, in our view, it suggests that the flushing was not for the purpose of enabling the bird of prey to hunt the mammal.”

They also said that the falconry exemption allowed dogs to flush out wild mammals for the birds to hunt but not for the dogs to “run after, chase or pursue the wild mammal after it has been flushed out. Nor does the exemption allow the dog(s) to kill the wild mammal.

  • Hunts can only carry a bird if they have the correct licences and any behaviour that abuses or causes suffering to the bird of prey should be reported to the police.
  • Hunts must be able to prove that the bird was not taken from the wild and be able to properly care for the bird when not out with the hunt.

 

In 2019 George Adams, a former huntsman with the Fitzwilliam Hunt, was found guilty in what was called ‘a landmark decision’ of illegally chasing and killing a fox, despite trying to use the ‘falconry exemption’ as an excuse. Evidence for the prosecution had come from the Beds and Bucks Hunt Saboteurs, who said afterwards, “Other hunts which use this loophole will now have to reconsider their options as they will no longer be considered to be taking part in exempt hunting just by having someone with a bird of prey present. The use of birds of prey alongside hunting with hounds is not, and never was, falconry.’

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) issues Schedule 1 permits for ringing and nest recording on behalf of Natural England. 

The BTO can only permit disturbance of specially protected species for purposes of ringing and nest recording. Limited photography at the nest during these activities is covered by such a permit as is photograpy for the purpose of nest recording.

If a Schedule 4 listed bird of prey is to be used for commercial purposes, an Article 10 certificate must be applied for. This is because some birds of prey are defined as endangered by CITES, meaning that all commercial movement and activity is regulated in order to protect them.

According to Defra commercial purposes includes: “the selling of, the purchase, offering to purchase, acquisition for commercial purposes, display to the public for commercial purposes, use for commercial gain and sale, keeping for sale, offering for sale and transporting for sale”. It will also need to be wearing a closed ring or be microchipped.

A bird of prey must be ringed, marked and registered to be kept in captivity legally.

If you suspect that a neighbour’s bird of prey is wild (or has been taken from the wild), or has not been registered, please contact your local police force’s wildlife officer for assistance.

All native owls are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, but both the Barn Owl and the Snowy Owl have further protection under Schedule One which makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb both species at, on or near an ‘active’ nest.

No. It is illegal to take a bird of prey or owl of any age home. All are legally protected.

Members of the public do sometimes find young owls on the ground and become concerned they are ‘orphans’ and might die. Young owls are very adventurous though and often climb out of nests they can’t then climb back into. It’s quite possible that the parents will be nearby. If the bird has no parents then he or she will need to be hand reared. This is a very specialised job, and must be done by a wildlife rescue centre.

According to the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit (which lists raptor persecution as one of its seven ‘wildlife crime priorities‘):

“The purpose of Operation Owl is to increase public awareness of bird of prey persecution and to seek support in tackling it head on. As part of the Operation, police will carry out checks on known persecution hot-spots at random times to disrupt offender activity. Birds like peregrines, red kites and hen harriers are deliberately and relentlessly shot, trapped and poisoned in our countryside. 

This initiative, supported and governed by the National Police Chiefs Council Wildlife Crime & Rural Affairs portfolio, builds on the successful blueprint introduced by North Yorkshire Police [the county with more confirmed incidents of raptor persecution than any other in England], the RSPB and the RSPCA, working together with the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks in 2017.”

Wildlife crime is defined as any action which contravenes current legislation governing the protection of the UK’s wild flora and fauna, including species traded in the UK.

Note that wildlife crime does NOT include:

  • Incidents involving domestic or companion animals such as dogs (other than dogs being used to hunt mammals), cats, rabbits, domesticated birds, etc.
  • Wild animals that have been involved (killed or injured etc) in road traffic accidents.

Road accidents with wild animals do not need to be reported to the police, but note that domestic animals (as well as goats, horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep and pigs) come within the remit of the Road Traffic Act.
If you have a road accident involving these animals you are required by law to report it to the police. If the wild animal is so badly injured in a road accident that there is no chance of recovery or the animal can not be returned to the wild then he or she may be euthanised, providing there is no appropriate long-term captive or semi-captive accommodation or when treatment would involve undue suffering or distress.

If we come across a wildlife crime scene or a dead bird/object that may be related to a wildlife crime every piece of information is – or might be – important, but it needs to be recorded properly and accurately for the authorities to have a chance of prosecuting an offender.

  • Before we do anything else it is very important that we do NOT approach anyone we suspect of committing a crime – they may be violent and/or aggressive. This is especially true of badger baiters and hare coursers who are typically extremely violent. This must be a first priority!
 
What do we need to record?
  • What we can see happening – what sort of crime is being committed
  • Are any firearms involved, could we or the public be in danger?
  • The exact location. Most smartphones have map apps or download the free What3Words app. If in open countryside look for obvious landmarks or fence lines, a tall or isolated tree, a wind turbine, any streams or brooks etc. Think about what would you need to re find a remote location.
  • It is important to record if at all possible whether we are on or near public land as this will determine the type of police response.
  • Never put ourselves in danger, but can we see who is involved and what they look like (e.g. number of people, their gender(s), age(s), the clothing worn, tools being carried)? Can we hear them – if so what are they saying, are they using any names etc?
  • If any dogs are involved how many are there, what colour are they, do we know what breed they are (even information like ‘terriers’ or ‘lurcher-types’ can be very useful).
  • The make, colour and registration number of any vehicle (we can take photos of a car if we think it is being used or might be used to commit a crime). Does it have any obvious dents, branding or markings, spotlights, bullbars etc.

 

DO and DO NOT

  • Do NOT disturb the scene by walking around unnecessarily – small pieces of evidence (cigarette ends, footprints, the marks left by a spade etc) may be lost or trampled into the mud or grass.
  • If photographing an object do try to use eg a coin or a notebook/field guide for scale – providing it won’t disturb the crime scene.
  • If in the countryside take wide angle photographs of any landmarks (a tree, a distinctive fenceline, a hill) that might help officers relocate the crime scene. DO NOT mark a site with eg a white plastic bag though. Being able to see a marker from a distance might sound like a good idea, but it will also alert an offender that someone has been at the site: they may go back and remove the evidence
  • Do NOT move any items at the scene – the exception being if they are likely to disappear before the police arrive when we can collect them as evidence.
  • Do NOT touch any dead birds or animals with bare hands. They may be poisoned baits or victims of poisoning. Many poisons (eg Carbofuran) are extremely dangerous in even very small amounts and can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Do NOT do anything illegal ourselves – that might mean our evidence is not admissible.
 If we see a wildlife crime taking place (or someone is at risk of getting injured or is being threatened) call 999 immediately.
They will want to know what we can see happening:
  • What sort of crime is being committed
  • Are any firearms involved
  • Could we or the public be in danger
  • Do we have photos or video footage which may be used as evidence
  • Tell whoever you REPORT the crime to exactly what you have RECORDED as described in the section above.
 
To report a historic crime – that is, a crime that is no longer taking place – use 101 or a local organisation instead.
  • If calling the police ask to speak to a Wildlife Crime Officer and make sure to get an Incident Report number.
  • Please always follow any advice given and – if they are not available – insist that a Wildlife Crime Officer is made aware of your report.
  •  Our options are wider if the event is over, and it may be preferable to talk first to a charity or NGO to get advice. Crimestoppers (an independent charity) can be contacted in complete confidence on 0800 555 111
  • When thinking about reporting a crime it’s worth noting that only the police have statutory powers to make an arrest. RSPCA and RSPB investigation officers work with the police for successful prosecutions.
 
Reporting a wildlife crime (or even a suspected wildlife crime) is important for two reasons.
  • If the event is still happening it may enable the authorities to catch the criminals ‘in the act’ (which means a higher chance of prosecution),
  • and if the event is over a report can still help to build up a more accurate picture of what might be happening in a specific location or across the country as a whole.
The RSPB has a world-renowned Investigations Unit. They can be contacted directly via their confidential ‘Raptor Crime Hotline’ 0300 999 0101 – note this should ONLY be used to REPORT sensitive information specifically relating to the illegal persecution of birds of prey,

No, there is no legal obligation to report finding a dead bird of prey, but ignoring a potential wildlife crime risks the criminal doing the same thing again (and some gamekeepers for example are serial offenders and continue illegally killing birds of prey until they are caught).

AVIAN FLU (2023): In the interests of monitoring and understanding the spread of avian influenza (bird flu), Defra ask that we report: One or more dead birds of prey (such as owl, hawk or buzzard); Three or more dead birds that include at least one gull, swan, goose or duck; or. Five or more dead wild birds of any species.

Our help is always welcomed
  • Whoever we decide to contact we have been assured that our help is welcomed and that if we’re in any doubt that what we’re seeing is a crime we should report it anyway. Remember, if what we see ‘feels’ wrong, it probably is!
  • Even if we’re not sure about what we’re seeing, we can take a photograph and email it to the police or an investigations officer – they are trained to quickly recognise for example when a snare is illegally placed, whether a trap is being used illegally, or whether a crime is being committed or not.
  • We may help stop or solve future crimes by helping build up a pattern of behaviour in an area.

Birds of prey are routinely and illegally persecuted, particularly by the shooting industry. Protect the Wild has not detailed all of the birds species recorded in the UK but we regularly feature raptor persecution in our news stories and we have written species acounts for those that are most widely persecuted > BIRDS

Have you ever wondered what UK law says about hunting with dogs, shooting, or collecting bird eggs? Or what protection foxes, badgers, bats, and birds of prey have? Whether a gamekeeper is using a snare, spring trap, or a cage trap legally? Wanted to know more about operating drones, using airguns, or driving quad bikes legally? What the different forms of trespass are, what constitutes assault, or what we should do if we’re arrested?

And have you ever been unimpressed with having to search hunting and shooting websites to find some of the information you need?

Us too! Which is why we have developed ‘Protectors of the Wild‘ and laid out the information we need in over thirty simple, mobile-friendly pages just like this one.

Protectors of the Wild‘ is a free resource to help us all become ‘eyes in the field’ by learning how to recognise, record, and report wildlife crime and wildlife persecution.

After all, the more we know, the more any potential criminal will have to be looking over their shoulder wondering if we know enough to Recognise, Record, and Report what they’re up to.

And the more we can all do to help protect the wild.

Have you ever wondered what UK law says about hunting with dogs, shooting, or collecting bird eggs? Or what protection foxes, badgers, bats, and birds of prey have? Whether a gamekeeper is using a snare, spring trap, or a cage trap legally? Wanted to know more about operating drones, using airguns, or driving quad bikes legally? What the different forms of trespass are, what constitutes assault or harassment, or what we should do if we’re stopped and searched or even arrested?

And have you ever been unimpressed with having to search hunting and shooting websites to find some of the information you need?

Us too! Which is why we have developed ‘Protectors of the Wild‘ and laid out the information we need in forty-one simple, mobile-friendly pages and over 500 FAQs just like this one.

Protectors of the Wild‘ is a free resource with two aims: to help us all become ‘eyes in the field’ by learning how to recognise, record, and report wildlife crime and wildlife persecution; and to provide a ‘quick guide’ to anyone interacting with hunts, hunt supporters, or the police.

After all, the more we know, the more any potential criminal will have to be looking over their shoulder wondering if we know enough to Recognise, Record, and Report what they’re up to, and the more we know our rights the better we can protect ourselves.

And the more we can all do to help protect the wild.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit currently has seven priority offences for wildlife crime.

Badger persecution

It is illegal to interfere with or block a badger’s home or ‘sett’. Badger baiting is a centuries-old now illegal blood sport, where small dogs such as terriers or lurchers seek badgers out of their setts before fighting and killing them.

Bat persecution

Bats and their homes are legally protected, so disturbing or removing them is an offence. If bats roost in your roof, you need to obtain a special ‘bat mitigation licence’ from Natural England to be allowed to disturb them. They are hugely important to our ecosystem.

Trade of endangered species

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) sets out which endangered animals and plants have protected status. It is illegal to remove any of them from their natural habitat, possess, or sell them. Currently, the top priorities are European eels, birds of prey, ivory, medicinal and health products, reptiles, rhino horns, and timber.

Freshwater pearl mussel offences

These Endangered mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) are only found in rivers in Scotland and small parts of England. They can live for more than 130 years but are extremely sensitive to water pollution and have been illegally farmed for years. It is illegal to damage or destroy their habitat or to take, injure or kill them.

Poaching

Fox, deer, and hare hunting are all illegal under the Hunting Act 2004. Poaching offences also cover illegal fishing – when anglers do not obtain a licence or remove protected fish from lakes and rivers without returning them.

Raptor persecution

Birds of prey are often targeted on shooting estates. Their eggs are also traded illegally. It is an offence to target, poison, or kill them, with a particular focus on Golden Sagles, Goshawks, Hen Harriers, Peregrines, Red Kites, and White-tailed Eagles. Disturbing or taking their eggs or chicks is also illegal.

Cyber-enabled wildlife crime

Social media is often used to promote wildlife crime and recruit people to take part in it. Endangered plants and animals are also traded illegally online.

  • Punishment must fit the crime. Conditional discharges and paltry fines are not a disincentive for criminals.

A common complaint is that even if wildlife criminals are brought to court the fines or sentences they get are pathetic and not a disincentive. In most cases judges are giving out the penalties they are allowed to under the law. Changes can be made though. In 2022 the maximum sentence for ‘causing uneccesary suffering’ went from six months to five years. That was the result of targeted public pressure and campaigning. We need to identify where changes should be made and push hard for them.

 

  • Wildlife crime must be notifiable and statistics accurately compiled so that resources can be properly targeted.

Police forces are required by law to inform the Home Office of any notifiable offences, which then uses the reports to compile the crime statistics known as ‘recorded crime’. Currently, wildlife crimes are not ‘notifiable’ though (and wildlife crime involving firearms are also not recorded as firearms offences by the Police).  Without them being notifiable, no one knows how many wildlife crimes are being committed across the UK and where the hotspots are (though ‘grouse moors’ is one obvious response). As we have stated many times on this website, law and legislative enforcement is hugely underfunded and under-resourced. Some of this has undoubtedly been through political choice, but if we at least know which crimes are being committed and where, the resources that are available can be placed where they are needed most.

 

  • There must be changes to make it far easier for all of us to play our part in ‘Recognising, Reporting, Recording’ wildlife cime.

As even a quick glance at the Protectors pages makes clear, laws protecting wildlife are hard to understand. Major pieces of legislation like the Hunting Act 2004  and other laws are riddled with exemptions which strongly favour the hunting, shooting, and agricultural industries. Some date from a century or more ago and don’t reflect the modern world. These need to be updated. While there has undoubtedly been efforts made by successive governmants to use ‘plain english’ to explain legislation, any government wanting to tackle wildlife crime needs to make understanding what is and what isn’t a crime far more easily understood and put resources into a reporting system that the public feel confident using. Crucially, the public need to be sure that if they do report a crime it will be acted upon.

 

  • We have to protect the environment and wildlife properly.

Laws protecting wildlife and the environment need to be revised to reflect the 21st century and the biodiversity and climate crises we are in. Animals (and plants) are not an add-on or a ‘nice to have’ – they have shaped the systems that life depends on, and our laws need to reflect how critically important they are.

 

If you’d like to support just one legislative change, Protect the Wild has launched ‘The Hunting of Mammals Bill: A Proper Ban on Hunting‘ – please sign our petition calling for a proper ban on hunting with dogs.

We would like Protectors of the Wild to be the ‘go to’ free resource, packed with the kind of information that really does help all of us become ‘eyes in the field. But we can’t possibly think of every question that might need answering or every situation someone might find themselves in! And while the information in these pages is largely taken from Government online advice and was compiled in 2023 (and constantlyy updated), perhaps we’ve missed something out.

If you could provide us with legal advice get in touch. Or if you find a mistake or a gap please let us know. That way we can continually improve Protectors of the Wild – for the benefit of animals and all of us. Thanks.

‘Protectors of the Wild’ is a project of Protect the Wild. We have a dedicated email address for anyone wishing to get in touch with a specific Protectors query or with additional information etc. Please use the form on our Contact Protectors page or email protectors@protectthewild.org.uk. Thank you.

Much of the information we give in these pages is very technical or to do with legislation which can be revised without much notice. While we have worked very hard on these pages and we take keeping our information accurate and up-to-date very seriously, Protect the Wild are not legal professionals. Just to make sure no-one thinks we’re offering professional legal advice, we feel obliged to include the following disclaimer on every page.

  • Please think of the ‘Protectors of the Wild’ pages as a ‘first stop’ before seeking legal advice. We provide detailed information but not professional advice. The information provided by Protect the Wild should NOT be considered or relied on as legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. Any of the material on our website may be out of date at any given time, and we are under no legal obligation to update such material. While we update and revise as often as we can, Protect the Wild assumes no responsibility for the accuracy and correctness of any information, or for any consequences of relying on it. Please do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal advice.