It’s our birthday!
Today is our birthday! On 26 October last year we registered Wild Justice as a not for profit company. It wasn’t until 13 February that we launched our website and our first legal challenge so we’re going to count that as a birthday too, but here’s a quick run through Wild Justice’s activities so far.
October 2018 – February 2019: set up website, register domain names, get an accountant, get a logo, open a bank account, set up a Twitter account, open a PayPal account, set up email addresses, explore a range of legal challenges.
13 February 2019: we launched Wild Justice and disclosed that we had sent a Pre-Action Protocol letter to a government agency as the precursor of potential legal action.
General Licence challenge: our challenge to Natural England over the legality of their general licences was successful. Our action has triggered a debate over the species included on the general licences across the UK and the terms under which they can be relied upon. Already Wales has changed its general licences reducing the species covered and more reviews are planned. Scotland is looking at the options for change too. In England the unlawful general licences were revoked, a small number of new licences were issued by Natural England and then DEFRA took over the process, issued some general licences which are similar to the former ones but, importantly, are now consulting on new general licences for next year. Wild Justice is involved with discussions with DEFRA over the legal and scientific basis for any new licences. We remain willing and able to take further legal challenges.
Wild Justice has started a process of review and change which we believe will lead to major and long-lasting changes to licensing of lethal control of birds by land managers. It will probably take at least a couple of years for the full impacts of our successful challenge to be seen.
Hen Harrier Day: Wild Justice organised the largest ever Hen Harrier Day event with over 1500 attendees and a great line-up of speakers.
Ban driven grouse shooting e-petition: Wild Justice launched an e-petition to the UK parliament calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting. This passed 10,000 signatures within a few hours (which generated an inadequate government response) and 100,000 signatures on Day 20 (which should lead to a Westminster Hall debate in due course). The petition currently has over 111,000 signatures and will close to new signatures when the expected general election campaign begins.
Non-native gamebird releases: Wild Justice’s second major legal challenge has forced DEFRA to agree to review the impacts of the release of tens of millions of Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges on native wildlife. We are waiting to see the shape of this consultation.
- Wild Justice is an active member of Wildlife and Countryside Link and has worked with other wildlife and environmental organisations on a number of campaigns.
- We have had meetings with a range of organisations and individuals from Natural England to the National Farmers Union and from senior police officers to politicians.
- We have investigated a wide range of issues for future legal challenges including; pesticide use, fish farming, felling of trees in the breeding season, licences to cull Beavers, licences to cull Buzzards, the Badger cull and several others. These and other subjects are still areas where we may become more publicly active in future.
- Wild Justice has promoted the work of others through our social media actions – we know that our direct contribution can only be small but we are keen to help others too.
- We have accepted interviews and presented talks on our work to a variety of audiences. We were banned from the British Game Fair because our views were considered to be ‘extremist’ and the organisers were concerned for our safety.
- We have successfully crowdfunded £80,000 for our legal challenges (much of which is available for future work).
We think we have made a pretty good start – we hope you agree. There’s a lot more work to be done.
Thank you to all our supporters and donors for enabling us to do what we have done so far, and thank you to a wide range of people who have helped us get established, in particular, and in alphabetical order: Andy, Angie, Anita, Bill, Carol, Christian, Craig, David, Diane, Erica, Gerry, Henry, Lewis, Michelle, Patrick, Paul, Rosemary, Tessa, Tim, Tina, Tom, Wayne.
Ruth, Mark and Chris