Ten reasons why 2023 was a good year for wildlife

For those of us who love wildlife, it is easy to fall into despair when we read reports of foxes being killed and birds of prey being poisoned. Many of us will need a reminder that positive events happened in 2023! As the year comes to a close, we give ten reasons why this was […]

Inside Protect the Wild: why write news articles?

At Protect the Wild, we don’t just campaign to end the hunting and shooting industries. We also keep our supporters informed with news articles. For the past two years, we have covered news on a range of topics, including the criminal acts of fox hunters; how the shooting industry is responsible for lethally poisoning birds […]

Unelected Defra ministers won’t protect wildlife

Is our government fit to protect wildlife? We take a look at two men with key ministerial roles in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): Richard Benyon (on the left in the image above) and Robbie Douglas-Miller (on the right). Defra has a number of tasks, perhaps the most important one being […]

Damning WhatsApp messages show how Tory MPs looked after their gun-wielding friends

Michael Gove Covid Inquiry

The Covid Inquiry has been telling of how Britain’s most influential looked after their friends during the pandemic. And now more revelations have uncovered how politicians lobbied hard to ensure that hunting and shooting were exempted from Covid restrictions. Protect the Wild recently reported on comments made by former deputy cabinet secretary Helena MacNamara. She […]

Scotland: Shooting industry fails to bully politicians over snares

It’s welcome news that the Scottish government has announced that it will push ahead with a change in the law that would fully ban snares. As we previously reported, the shooting industry had been lobbying hard so that it could continue using the torture devices. Gamekeepers and landowners had been trying to influence legislation in […]

Shooting industry fails to criminalise Chris Packham

chris packham goshawk chicks

Hampshire Police has said that it won’t press charges against Chris Packham. The wildlife presenter’s supposed crime? Sniffing a goshawk chick on the BBC’s The One Show. Packham appeared on the programme back in August with three ringed chicks in the New Forest. He sniffed one to detect their “characteristic scent or perfume”. An individual […]

Men plead guilty to poaching grouse in North Yorkshire

Three men pleaded guilty in Teesside Magistrates Court on 7 August 2023, charged with a number of poaching offences. The men were searched by police on moorland near Lockwood Beck in the North York Moors National Park on 29 January 2023 after a tip-off. Cleveland Police said: “Officers immediately attended the area and detained the […]

An eleven-year-old boy suffers life-changing injuries during a shoot

On 31 August an eleven-year-old boy was shot in a woodland in East Sussex. His life-changing injuries are a stark reminder of how dangerous the shooting industry can be. Sky News reported that: “During the incident, the boy suffered a serious, potentially life-changing wound to his hip and was airlifted to hospital in London, according […]

Scottish Greens describe grouse shooting as ‘festival of violence’

The barbaric grouse shooting season began on 12 August, the ‘Inglorious 12th’. The Scottish Green Party has sent a clear message to gamekeepers and wealthy shooters that the blood sport is not welcome in Scotland. The Scottish Greens’ rural affairs minister, Ariane Burgess MSP, didn’t mince her words when she said: “There is nothing glorious […]

Defra cosies up to grouse shooting industry

Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), the government department “responsible for improving and protecting the environment”, has announced the appointment of a grouse moor owner to what it describes as a ‘key role’. Heather Hancock (pictured above), a former Food Standards Agency chair and former Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park […]

‘Moor’ bad news for grouse shooting in run up to Inglorious 12th

As we reported on July 22nd, United Utilities (UU), the largest corporate landowner in England, announced its decision to no longer renew grouse shooting leases on its moorland. The last of those leases will end in 2027, after which time UU (unless they bow to pressure from the shooting industry) will be out of the […]

Time for shooting and hunting to acknowledge the truth about ‘pests’

An article in The Guardian this week headlined, “Lichens, slime moulds and wasps: RHS lists top beneficial wildlife for garden” should be required reading for the shooting and hunting industries. Written by Helena Horton, it comes thirteen months after the same journalist wrote a Guardian article with the headline “‘Planet friendly’: RHS to no longer […]

Natural Resources Wales and one-sided ‘compromise’

As Protect the Wild’s Glen Black outlined in a March 31st news post, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking the public for its thoughts on new regulations designed to licence the release of pheasants and partridges by the shooting industry. Glen wrote that we need to ‘keep our eyes on the prize’ and that ‘those […]

I want you to help us bring down the bird shooting industry

If you find yourself reading this, it’s likely you’re anti fox hunting. Maybe you’ve watched our ‘Trail of Lies’ animation or came across one of our undercover investigations. Or perhaps you signed one of our online petitions or donated to a crowd funder. However, what’s less likely is your position on bird shooting and whether […]

Woodcock petition debate: through the looking glass with the shooting lobby

On the 27th of February, Parliament debated petition 619615 ‘Limit the shooting season of Woodcock‘, which was launched by Wild Justice and signed by 107, 916 members of the public. The petition asked that the (so-called) shooting season for Woodcock, a species in serious decline here, should be moved back from 01 October (it starts […]

“The Shooting Industry: it’s not just hunts that kill foxes”

A fox trots through a quiet wood. Suddenly a gun blast tears the air. Pheasant alarm calls ring out. The fox runs as birds are shot out of the sky… Those are the opening few seconds of a new 90 second animation we’re about to launch. It’s produced for Protect the Wild by Ben Sinclair […]

DORSET: Gamekeeper slapped on wrist for multiple raptor deaths

Gamekeeper Paul Allen of Wimborne St Giles, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on 16 February (2023) following a guilty plea last month relating to multiple raptor persecution offences. As we reported on Protect the Wild in January (Yet more dead buzzards and yet another gamekeeper in court) the bodies of six shot Buzzards and the […]

Pheasant shooting ‘season’ ends today

Dead pheasants Cornwood shoot

The vast majority of birds that breed in or regularly visit the UK are rightly protected by law and can not be harmed or killed at any time of the year. For those unfortunate species that were long ago declared as ‘game’ or ‘quarry’ though (and there are no biological reasons for the choices that […]

DARTMOOR: camping ban and pheasant shooting

Dartmoor protest

On Saturday 21 January, Protect the Wild joined more than 3,000 people marching in protest on Dartmoor after a pheasant-shooting millionaire took action to prevent wild camping. Hedge fund manager Alexander Darwall, who owns the 4,000-acre Blachford Estate on Dartmoor, brought the case against Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA). The high court ruled in his […]

Raptor persecution: if we think ‘shooting’ first who can blame us?

The recent discovery of the bodies of five dead young Goshawks dumped in a wood in Suffolk drew an instant response that shooting estates and their gamekeeper employees were likely to be involved. That feeling was compounded by x-rays that showed shotgun pellets in all five birds. Shooting lobbyists like BASC (the British Association of […]

Five shot Goshawks dumped in Suffolk wood

On 17th January Suffolk Police’s Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Unit posted a request on their Twitter feed for information after the discovery of the bodies of five young (Northern) Goshawks dumped in Forestry England’s King’s Forest near Thetford in Suffolk. The large and powerful birds – fully grown juveniles likely to have hatched just last […]

Podcast 02: Snares and trailing a new campaign


A short podcast by Charlie Moores about snares – recorded the day before he headed to London to listen to a pro-hunt and pro-shoot government ‘debate’ last year’s petition organised by Animal Aid that called for a ban on the use, sale, and manufacture of snares…   “If you’re a certain age you may remember […]

Ending Bird Shooting – let’s talk about foxes

How do you persuade an audience that is primarily interested in fighting foxhunting to become as concerned about the bird shooting industry? Oddly enough (and as a lifelong birder I’m writing this through slightly gritted teeth as it were), it’s probably not by talking about birds…   Last year Keep the Ban, which was built […]

The Killing Continues: Shooting industry driving raptor persecution

RSPB 2021 Birdcrime Report

The latest RSPB Birdcrime Report confirms that the shooting industry continues to drive the illegal persecution of birds of prey, listing 108 confirmed incidents across Britain in 2021. The tally of dead birds includes 50 Common Buzzards, 16 Red Kites, seven Peregrines and three Goshawks. Birdcrime is the UK’s only annual and comprehensive report of […]

Protect the Wild End Shooting

end bird 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 […]

Avian Flu: is the government serious about protecting wild birds?

Avian flu is spreading fast: Protect the Wild wonders whether the government is really serious about protecting wild birds, not just poultry. Avian Flu, or (HPAI) H5N1, is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds. A disease originating in East Asia, Avian Flu infected chickens […]

Another satellite-tagged Hen Harrier ‘disappears’ in suspicious circumstances

Durham constabulary

Another satellite-tagged Hen Harrier ‘disappears’ in suspicious circumstances near a grouse moor. “It is believed the protected species could have been shot down or killed unlawfully.” Under the title “Officers team up with partners in search for missing hen harrier“, Durham Constabulary has posted a press release describing a multi-agency search for Sia, a satellite-tagged […]

RSPB Investigations Officer: Reflections on a poisoning

Styrchine baited pheasant weeting norfolk

RSPB Investigations Officer: Reflections on a poisoning “Another issue that keeps rearing its head is the lack of any consequences for Stroud’s employers.” On 5 October 2022 gamekeeper Matthew Stroud was convicted of a long list of offences at Norwich Magistrates Court including killing protected birds – yet he escaped a prison sentence. Now Tom […]

RSPB’s review of lowland ‘gamebird’ shooting: “Bleak picture”

shooter with dead pheasants

Has the RSPB finally run out of patience with the shooting industry? The country’s largest bird charity speaks out – but in an oddly low-key way. Tied for over a century to a Constitution enshrined in 1904 which insists it should be ‘neutral’ on shooting, the RSPB (by far the most important and most effective […]

Birds still being released and shot despite Avian Flu crisis

Avian influenza Prevention Zone declared across Great Britain making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. Chief veterinary officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to prevent the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds in a belated attempt to control […]

Shocking footage released of pheasant shooting estate in Lancashire

dead pheasant

Shocking footage of dead and dying birds filmed on shooting estate in Lancashire. In September 2022 investigators from the Hunt Investigation Team, in collaboration with Protect the Wild, captured undercover footage from pheasant pens at the Leighton Hall shooting estate in Carnforth, Lancashire. Seasoned investigators were shocked at what they found. Many young pheasants were […]

Woodock shooting: MPs say Defra didn’t respond to government petition

dead woodcock

Woodock shooting: MPs say Defra didn’t respond to government petition. Back in early July, the campaigning group Wild Justice (set up by Dr Mark Avery, Dr Ruth Tingay, and Chris Packham) launched a petition asking Defra (the government department responsible for the environment) to look at shortening the so-called’ season’ in which shooters are allowed […]

Undercover investigation exposes sick birds bred to be shot

Our latest undercover investigation exposes sick birds bred to be shot. The shooting industry profits by rearing flocks of near-tame birds to kill, promising its clients huge ‘bags’ (the disrespectful collective term they use rather than referring to individual birds) and charging them hundreds of pounds a day for the privilege of standing in a […]

Hen Harriers and greenwashing

Hen Harrier

Hen Harriers and greenwashing – the shooting industry avoids clamping down on persecution   Thousands of pages have been written about Natural England’s ‘fix’ for the ongoing illegal persecution of Hen Harriers on grouse shooting moors, but as not everybody has read them it’s perhaps worth a quick recap in light of yet another attempt […]

Mass grave of pheasants found on Duke of Somerset’s land

corpses of pheasants in a pit on duke of somersets land

Protesters on the Duke of Somerset’s land stumbled across a mass grave packed with the corpses of pheasants this May. Protect the Wild joined hundreds of activists to take part in a mass trespass close to the duke’s Berry Pomeroy castle. The action was part of the wider Right To Roam campaign for greater access […]

West Sussex eagle poisoned with bendiocarb

West Sussex eagle poisoned with bendiocarb…the poisoner’s weapon of choice A few months ago news broke that two young White-tailed Eagles from the Isle of Wight reintroduction project (a five-year project bringing young eagles from Scotland and releasing them on the Isle of Wight to re-establish the species in part of its former range) had […]

Natural England protects shoot from ‘disturbance’

A tweet showing a Natural England sign which restricts access to land at Knapp Down, near Salisbury (Wiltshire) to ‘avoid disturbance to game and disruption to shooting’ has (rightly) gone viral (kudos @KeggieC). What on earth is Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. “We help to protect and restore […]