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General license scam !


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I'm slightly out of touch with the general license changes since Wild Justice scared the living daylight out of Natural England. Is it right you can no longer shoot a wood pigeon to eat ?

I've spent ten years researching case law related to the EU Birds Directive and Section 16 of the WCA and if this is the case its unlawful given that "other satisfactory solutions" are supposed to be considered within the principle of proportionality. The foundation of "proportionality" in UK law comes from Article 5 of the EU Treaty which states regulation should be the minimum required to achieve the objective so what is Natural England's objective by stopping people shooting a wood pigeon to eat, and what are BASC doing about this ? 

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18 minutes ago, falco said:

I'm slightly out of touch with the general license changes since Wild Justice scared the living daylight out of Natural England. Is it right you can no longer shoot a wood pigeon to eat ?

I've spent ten years researching case law related to the EU Birds Directive and Section 16 of the WCA and if this is the case its unlawful given that "other satisfactory solutions" are supposed to be considered within the principle of proportionality. The foundation of "proportionality" in UK law comes from Article 5 of the EU Treaty which states regulation should be the minimum required to achieve the objective so what is Natural England's objective by stopping people shooting a wood pigeon to eat, and what are BASC doing about this ? 

No it's not right.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, falco said:

I'm slightly out of touch with the general license changes since Wild Justice scared the living daylight out of Natural England. Is it right you can no longer shoot a wood pigeon to eat ?

I've spent ten years researching case law related to the EU Birds Directive and Section 16 of the WCA and if this is the case its unlawful given that "other satisfactory solutions" are supposed to be considered within the principle of proportionality. The foundation of "proportionality" in UK law comes from Article 5 of the EU Treaty which states regulation should be the minimum required to achieve the objective so what is Natural England's objective by stopping people shooting a wood pigeon to eat, and what are BASC doing about this ? 

As I understand it, you cannot shoot a pigeon because you want to eat it, or sell it. (or for any other reason except crop protection)

You can only shoot it to protect crops as a last resort, when all other means have demonstrably failed. However once you have shot it to protect crops as a last resort you are perfectly entitled to eat it or sell it to somebody else to eat. However, in the latter case other laws regarding the handling and sale of meat products for human consumption come into play.

Basically, as I understand it, a pigeon is not regarded as a game bird.

I say "as I understand it" because before too long somebody will be along to contradict everything I have said 

Edited by Vince Green
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Vince Green said:

As I understand it, you cannot shoot a pigeon because you want to eat it, or sell it. (or for any other reason except crop protection)

You can only shoot it to protect crops as a last resort, when all other means have demonstrably failed. However once you have shot it to protect crops as a last resort you are perfectly entitled to eat it or sell it to somebody else to eat. However, in the latter case other laws regarding the handling and sale of meat products for human consumption come into play.

Basically, as I understand it, a pigeon is not regarded as a game bird.

I say "as I understand it" because before too long somebody will be along to contradict everything I have said 

I think it would be interesting to see what the degree of proof the courts would require to prove wood pigeons cause serious damage to crops and whether NE requirement to prove that was direct was lawful. When considered proportionally my feeling is that - are wood pigeons capable of causing serious damage to crops, yes, does shooting them prevent that, yes, would it effect the favourable conservation status of the species, unlikely, so considered proportionally shooting pigeons under any circumstances is lawful. I'm no lawyer but have spent a lot of time researching the EU Birds Directive and the WCA, also case law from the European Court of Justice and proportionality plays a major role in court judgements.

If you look at the court judgement of the 2015 buzzard judicial review that states that unless it can be proven otherwise, what is generally accepted, is what derogation should focus on and that the authority cannot expect the person who is seeking derogation to supply proof that the authority cant provide so to me that would mean its up to any prosecutor to prove that someone who had shot a pigeon wasn't preventing damage to crops because its been generally accepted that they do, as was the case with buzzards killing pheasant poults ! The keeper didn't have to prove buzzards killed pheasant poults because that was generally accepted.

Also, the general license is to PREVENT damage, not to stop it, its focused on prevention !

Just my thoughts on the subject given Wild Justice hasn't been challenged on this.

 

Edited by falco
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Nobody has defined crop protection, there is no clarity whether they can only be shot over the crop you are wanting to protect? so how does that work for shooting over stubble when the crop has already been taken?  Or roosting?

Is clover a crop?

The other question is who is going to enforce it? the police won't.  

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There appears to be massive over-thinking going on here. 

To be clear, you've gone over your European case law but you haven't actually taken the time to read the GLs?  Seems a bit like not knowing how to apply a band aid and boning up on Ophthalmic surgery procedures.

Read the GL's, and follow BASC's guidance, keep a note of what you've shot one if you're concerned.   I've linked the England version as you appear to be concerned about England despite your location showing as Moray.

 

14 hours ago, falco said:

so what is Natural England's objective by stopping people shooting a wood pigeon to eat, and what are BASC doing about this ? 

They're not, so they aren't.

 

1 hour ago, Vince Green said:

The other question is who is going to enforce it? the police won't.

Correct, because it's not a criminal matter!

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49 minutes ago, udderlyoffroad said:

There appears to be massive over-thinking going on here. 

To be clear, you've gone over your European case law but you haven't actually taken the time to read the GLs?  Seems a bit like not knowing how to apply a band aid and boning up on Ophthalmic surgery procedures.

Read the GL's, and follow BASC's guidance, keep a note of what you've shot one if you're concerned.   I've linked the England version as you appear to be concerned about England despite your location showing as Moray.

 

They're not, so they aren't.

 

Correct, because it's not a criminal matter!

Now I'm confused:-

"By the way, it has always been thus on the general licences, you couldn't just shoot woodies for the pot, at least not in the past 38-odd years.  It's just the language is more explicit now. I suspect (but don't know) that you were probably on dubious legal ground before."

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, wymberley said:

Now I'm confused:-

"By the way, it has always been thus on the general licences, you couldn't just shoot woodies for the pot, at least not in the past 38-odd years.  It's just the language is more explicit now. I suspect (but don't know) that you were probably on dubious legal ground before."

Is that an earlier post from me?

It isn't at conflict with my post above though.  The Op's question was:

15 hours ago, falco said:

so what is Natural England's objective by stopping people shooting a wood pigeon to eat, and what are BASC doing about this ? 

They're not stopping people doing that* because that hasn't been legal since the the early 80s!  They are bound by the same act of parliament as before.  Merely the language has been clarified in the GL's as a result of WJ's law-fare.  That is all.**

Incidentally, the GL's are now published by DEFRA***, not NE, as they made such a hash of it.

The OP appears to be armchair-lawyering and is apparently keen for some sort of test-case.  Nothing wrong with that per se, but it also appears he hasn't actually read the GL's, or he'd know that NE don't issue them any more.

Honestly, read and comply with the GL's, follow BASC's guidance, keep a record of what you shot where and don't worry about it.  Enjoy eating Woodie.

 

*Or at least not actively

**Yes, some species have come off, others have come on

***In England

 

Quote

Correct, because it's not a criminal matter!

Brain-****, ignore, there are certain provisions for criminal offences in the 1981 act.  I would suggest though, that you'd need a specialist wildlife crime officer to even begin to attempt an arrest, never mind prosecution.

Edited by udderlyoffroad
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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, udderlyoffroad said:

Is that an earlier post from me?

It isn't at conflict with my post above though.  The Op's question was:

They're not stopping people doing that* because that hasn't been legal since the the early 80s!  They are bound by the same act of parliament as before.  Merely the language has been clarified in the GL's as a result of WJ's law-fare.  That is all.**

Incidentally, the GL's are now published by DEFRA***, not NE, as they made such a hash of it.

The OP appears to be armchair-lawyering and is apparently keen for some sort of test-case.  Nothing wrong with that per se, but it also appears he hasn't actually read the GL's, or he'd know that NE don't issue them any more.

Honestly, read and comply with the GL's, follow BASC's guidance, keep a record of what you shot where and don't worry about it.  Enjoy eating Woodie.

 

*Or at least not actively

**Yes, some species have come off, others have come on

***In England

 

Brain-****, ignore, there are certain provisions for criminal offences in the 1981 act.  I would suggest though, that you'd need a specialist wildlife crime officer to even begin to attempt an arrest, never mind prosecution.

That really is what I was after. Under evidentially valid conditions being told, " just a couple for the pot, Officer" would do it if someone felt obliged.

Always best to keep it simple.

Edited by wymberley
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11 minutes ago, wymberley said:

Always best to keep it simple

Agreed.  Also, if the police turn up at your perm, I'd suggest that, whether you're complying with every last clause of the GL's, is the least of their concerns.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, udderlyoffroad said:

Agreed.  Also, if the police turn up at your perm, I'd suggest that, whether you're complying with every last clause of the GL's, is the least of their concerns.

99 to 1 chance they have never even heard of the general licence, much less its finer points

never try to explain, you will only dig yourself a hole 

Edited by Vince Green
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This has all been discussed endlessly on PW - and there appears to be a periodical resurgence of angst every once  in a while. 

In essence there are so many  conditions and counter conditions within GL42 - resulting from attempts to satisfy conflicting stakeholders - that it is virtually condition free. Here’s one example: we are advised to initially use non lethal methods, OK…..then read further down that section, and guess what, you don’t need to use non lethals if you think they’re impractical or ineffective. 

Essentially we have an extremely wide range of reasonings to shoot pigeons. So much so in fact, that it would be virtually impossible (should there be a highly unlikely legal response) to prove that a certain shot pigeon had not been damaging food resources of some kind. 
 

Personally I am no longer concerned about the GLs. The key protagonists who challenged them in England have failed and redirected their efforts elsewhere. I think we should move on and just enjoy our pigeoning. Happy hunting all. 

 

 

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Vince summed it up very well.

Thankfully, like many of our laws, the licences are not that well written. This is to our advantage as crop protectors so best we all just keep quiet and carry on as we have been whilst simply being able to quote which GL licence number we are operating under if (and that is an astronomically big if) we are ever challenged to quote that specific information.

 

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1 hour ago, 243deer said:

Vince summed it up very well.

Thankfully, like many of our laws, the licences are not that well written. This is to our advantage as crop protectors so best we all just keep quiet and carry on as we have been whilst simply being able to quote which GL licence number we are operating under if (and that is an astronomically big if) we are ever challenged to quote that specific information.

 

Exactly - there’s nothing to worry about. Let’s crack on and forget about the unnecessary GL angst……..until someone dredges it up again…….😁.
 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 03/07/2021 at 16:49, Fellside said:

Exactly - there’s nothing to worry about. Let’s crack on and forget about the unnecessary GL angst……..until someone dredges it up again…….😁.
 

The only bit i'm uneasy about is the growing practice of charging people to shoot pigeons

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