Leading Scottish animal campaigns charity OneKind has welcomed news that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is set to launch a consultation on General Licences in Scotland.
The 12-week consultation is due to open later this year and will ask stakeholders for their views on how General Licences work in practice, what they should cover and how they are worded.
Following the withdrawal of the General Licences in England last month, OneKind wrote to Scottish Natural Heritage who confirmed they would review the licences in consultation with others.
OneKind Director Bob Elliot said:
“OneKind has long raised concerns about the General Licence system so we’re pleased that Scottish Natural Heritage has decided to bring forward its plans to consult on General Licences in Scotland. At present, these licences allow sentient birds to be freely shot and captured in inhumane traps which raises serious animal welfare concerns that need to be addressed.”
Last month, a legal challenge by the organisation Wild Justice last month resulted in Natural England revoked three General Licences for the killing of 16 wild bird species in England, because the licences were deemed not to be legal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
In Scotland, the General Licence system is very similar to the licences previously issued in England permitting the live trapping and killing of magpies, crows and other corvids and the shooting of certain species of gulls, geese, pigeon and doves.
Bob Elliot continued:
“The fact the General Licence scheme in England has been described as unfit for purpose raises serious questions about how lawful it is in Scotland. The killing of sentient wild birds should only ever be the very last resort after all non-lethal interventions have been exhausted and well documented. It is the responsibility of the competent authority – in this case, Scottish Natural Heritage, to satisfy itself that this legal test has been met and OneKind will be submitting a full response to the consultation.”
Notes to editor:
- OneKind is Scotland’s leading animal campaigns charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals. OneKind works to expose cruelty and persecution through investigations and research covering Scotland’s wildlife, farm animals and pets. Find out more about our work at onekind.scot
- Image credit – Laurie Campbell