Aim to Sustain welcomes Defra’s response to Wild Justice
Aim to Sustain partner organisations will continue to support Defra’s defence of the latest potential legal challenge by Wild Justice.
Defra has confirmed that it will contest Wild Justice’s latest challenge relating to the general licence for the prevention of serious damage (GL42).
A newspaper article last week claimed the government was backing down in its defence of the claim after issuing an update to the licence, but Defra has responded with a firm rebuttal.
A Defra spokesperson said: “We confirmed to Wild Justice that we would contest their proposed claim in full. There has been absolutely no change in our position on gamebirds in relation to GL42. “To imply otherwise, or that we conceded that the statutory definition was extended, is incorrect. “We did not extend, nor have we changed, the definition.”
BASC, the Countryside Alliance and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation will seek to register as interested parties for this legal challenge and Defra has recognised that the shooting organisations should have this status.
A spokesperson for the organisations said: “GL42 is an essential management tool for farmers, gamekeepers and many others in preventing serious damage.
“For those who rely on the use of GL42, this Defra update to the licence changes nothing. The law relating to the issuing of general licences is clear and has not changed. We will support Defra in their defence against Wild Justice.”
NOTES TO EDITORS: The licence that allows users to control certain species of wild birds to prevent serious damage has been updated around when gamebirds are defined as livestock for the purpose of using this licence.
The latest updated version states:
‘Livestock’ is as defined in section 27(1) of the 1981 (Wildlife and Countryside) Act. This expression includes gamebirds kept in an enclosure or which are free roaming but remain significantly dependent on the provision of food, water, or shelter (by and within the release pen) by a keeper for their survival. The placement of supplementary food out into the environment for wild gamebirds does not mean those wild gamebirds are ‘kept’ and it does not therefore make them ‘livestock’.