On Friday 7 June, Wild Justice launched a legal challenge against Natural England's (NE) licence GL26, which allows the killing of Carrion Crows that cause damage to livestock, including reared gamebirds. The non-profit company, set up by Chris Packham CBE, Dr Ruth Tingay and Dr Mark Avery, is launching the challenge citing a lack of clarity as to how the licences are awarded and questioning how Common Pheasants qualify as livestock.
This latest objection relates to two aspects of the licence, chiefly NE's approach to 'alternatives' and 'kept' in relation to the killing of Carrion Crows to protect Common Pheasants. In short, Wild Justice is questioning the fact that NE has not specified the circumstances in which there is no alternative to killing, while also inventing a new and unlawful definition of 'kept' which greatly expands the conditions under which Common Pheasants could be regarded as livestock.
News of this challenge comes following a recent victory for Wild Justice in which Natural England was forced to revoke general licences to kill certain bird species without reason. The justifications for this new challenge are similar, with Wild Justice feeling that England's statutory nature conservation adviser and regulator is failing to get the law right and protect wildlife from unlawful killing.