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end bird shooting

Protect the Wild End Shooting

A few weeks ago Keep the Ban became Protect the Wild. Our change is far more than just a re-brand. While foxes and enforcing the ban on foxhunting will always remain a key focus, with Protect the Wild we are expanding what we do. Part of that will see us bringing our drive, our commitment to wildlife, and our campaigning energy to work on shutting down the bird shooting industry.

We know saying ‘Protect the Wild End Shooting’ is a bold statement. It certainly won’t be easy, but then what campaign ever is? Shooting birds for ‘sport’ is currently legal. The industry behind the killing of millions of birds and mammals has wealthy and influential supporters. Even major bird charities won’t speak out against it.

How we intend to End Shooting will become much clearer when the Protect the Wild website launches towards the end of next week. Ahead of that launch, though, we thought we’d give supporters (old and new!) an introduction to our plans.

 

 

Being absolutely clear and unequivocal about our intentions is vital, so we have been creating a huge amount of new material and graphics which will be reached via our new homepage and the drop down as the image above shows.

That new material is a distillation of years of thinking on changing the narrative around the shooting industry and on where we think the shooting industry is most vulnerable.

We will be highlighting ‘bad actors’, the industry’s unethical killing of millions of birds for ‘fun’, the cruelty of laying countless traps and snares to kill native predators like foxes, weasels, and corvids, and the wildlife crime and routine illegal persecution that underpins it.

We have written a large number of ‘Shooting FAQs’  (and will write more) answering questions like  ‘Is bird shooting a ‘sport’?’, explaining why we’re opposed to grouse moor licencing, and why we won’t ever use the term ‘gamebird’.

We’ve written accounts for many of the bird species most impacted by the shooting industry, a number of which are Red-listed as Birds of Conservation Concern but still being shot. And of course we look at raptors like Hen Harriers, Goshawks, and Golden Eagles whose populations are being illegally suppressed. We’re not afraid to be emotional about the wildlife we love – and we don’t think you’ll find ‘bird pages’ quite like these anywhere else on the internet.

We’ll be launching six ‘asks’ that we will be working on throughout 2023. An immediate ban on shooting of Red-listed bird species, for example, asking why the taxpayer is still funding shotgun licences, and advocating that Common Pheasants should be included in the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 which bans even rehabbers from letting a single Grey Squirrel back into the wild at the same time that shooting gets away with releasing 50 million non-native birds into our nature-depleted countryside just to be shot.

We’ll be funding more undercover investigations too, more impactful animations, and (long-term) planning events and launching a scheme based around tacking wildlife crime by creating ‘eyes in the field’and the 3Rs – helping everyone to Recognise, Record, Report wildlife crime.

We’re not naive. As we say ending bird shooting won’t be easy, but the same was said when the feather industry was challenged more than a century ago, when a ban on whaling was proposed in the 1960s, and when hunt sabs and empathetic politicians drove forward the Hunting Act and a ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs. Like the efforts being made now to reverse the climate crisis that is already impacting all life on Earth (except, apparently, shooting which carries on regardless).

Like those campaigns it will take many of us banding together to achieve change, which is why we say that we’re building a movement to end shooting. Together we can chip away at the shooting industry once piece at a time. Blog by blog, investigation by investigation, and campaign by campaign.

As we write on one of our new pages:

“In the not too distant future an organisation like ours won’t have to explain why we wanted the shooting industry shut down.

The unethical killing for ‘fun’, the cruelty of laying countless traps and snares, the wildlife crime that underpins the entire industry will have ended and we will have saved the lives of enormous numbers of birds and mammals.

At the same time we will have freed up land that was effectively out of bounds to anyone without a gun, helped bring peace to our coasts and estuaries, and restored ecological balance to hundreds of woodlands used for pheasant rearing and to an area of moorland the size of Greater London used to raise grouse to be shot.

That future will come.”