Stop the planned killing of wild parrots in the UK

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The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Natural England and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have released the new conditions for the General Licence, and have added on several new species that can be shot and killed essentially at will.

The newly targeted species are:

  • Quaker / Monk Parakeets
  • Indian Ring Neck Parakeets
  • Canadian Geese 
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Carrion Crow
  • Egyptian Geese
  • Indian House Crow
  • Jay
  • Magpie

Many of these birds, particularly the parakeets, and migratory species bring a great sense of joy, wonder and charm to those lucky enough to see them wild in the U.K., and these government agencies are planning an uncontrolled, unmonitored culling of these amazing creatures. Aside from the wild populations, this also spells disaster for family pets that do from time to time escape. As from January 2021, not only will they face the extreme difficulty of survival until they can be reunited, they now also run the risk of being legally shot.

In addition to the completely unnecessary cruelty, there are a number of massive flaws in the conditions of the General Licence, listed below:

1) Lack of control - it reads as if virtually anyone can go out and buy an airgun and go shooting. What are the effective control and enforcement measures?

2) Where is the study into environmental and biodiversity impact of having an uncontrolled and unknown number of birds being shot, both in the U.K. and, in the case of migratory species in the other countries that they visit.

3) Inclusion of air weapons in relation to the ban on lead ammunition in shooting live quarry.

4) Lack of rules regarding minimum muzzle velocity and projectile weight. Example a .177 calibre air pistol would be permitted, however is significantly more likely to cause injury to a large target species such as a Canadian goose than an outright kill. Therefore dramatically increasing the odds of undue suffering.

5) What are the species that are being preserved by the inclusion of the species on general licence? Specifically reasons and cited sources as to why.

5a) As #5 but with particularly regarding the 2x parrot species that have been included. Parrots are not predatory, or opportunistic scavengers / predators. There have been no reported cases in the UK or USA of wild, non-indigenous parrots casing significant damage to crops or native species populations. A large portion of a parrot's diet consists of foods not accessible to native birds, such as fruits and nuts, so are not in direct competition for resources. Nesting, in the case of Myiopsitta monachus in particular, their nesting habits and locations are unique, so again, not in competition with native species. Both species in the list have been well documented to live peacefully and without competition alongside native wildlife, and are in fact far more likely to be subject to predation and harassment from native species than they are themselves likely to cause.