(not satire – it’s the UK today!)
Britain’s wealthy landowners are secretly waging war on Britain’s rarest wild birds in order to make it easier to develop land or use it for so-called ‘sports’ such as grouse shooting.
And even when they break the law they’re getting away with it.
Every year, hundreds of beautiful wild birds are killed or their eggs and nests destroyed – the majority by gamekeepers wanting to illegally rid grouse moors of potential predators on shooting estates.
And just last year, the government secretly allowed landowners to destroy eggs and nests from previously protected wild birds such as robins and starlings in order to make it easier for them to develop land.
In theory, it’s not just the gamekeeper or developer who is liable to be prosecuted if it is proven birds, eggs or nests of protected species are destroyed. The landowner is liable too.
Which is probably why the wealthiest landowners are escaping prosecution by hiding their identity behind a network of offshore registered businesses.
A gamekeeper on a shooting estate in Aberdeenshire was recently jailed for four months after being found guilty of killing a rare bird and setting traps illegally to capture others.
The wealthy landowners, however, got off scot-free because ownership of the shooting estate is hidden behind a company registered in Jersey with no named directors.
For its part, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds has been doing a sterling job trying to protect our birds from destruction in the face of outright hostility from some landowners:
One of Sir Ian Botham’s main businesses, incidentally, is organising commercial grouse shootings on his country estate.
Coincidence, I’m sure.
Please feel free to share. And comment.
The Coalition Government Colouring and Activity Book is now available for download as a PDF and in print: