Sentience, trophies and a government muddle over animals

The government in England wants to bring in laws making it illegal to cause distress to various animals in a range of different circumstances. These are all covered by existing animal welfare laws, especially the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

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Final changes to burning regulations aid climate change research

Following official representation from BASC and other organisations, Defra has recognised the need for scientific research to become a licensable activity within the new burning regulations in England. Following an open dialogue with BASC the addition has been successfully made so that continuing and future studies can be undertaken through a licensing regime. BASC described the original exclusion of scientific research in the Heather and Grass Burning (England) Regulations 2021 as ‘disappointing’ and a threat to on-going studies and climate change. Gareth Dockerty, BASC’s uplands officer, said: “It is vitally important to declining species and protected habitats that the management of and policies for the UK’s largest carbon store are based on a comprehensive evidence base. “The acknowledgment by Defra that research can continue under licence will allow decision makers and land managers to be confident that evidence gaps are being filled through field-based studies. “This addition prevents a situation where the government’s 25-year peatland strategy is based on out-of-date research. Permitting scientific research allows policies to adapt and evolve. We can all agree that we desperately need to learn more about these varied, complex and important upland systems. “BASC has already begun working with Defra to ensure all licence applications are treated on equal merit.” One study that Defra’s addition will aid is the ongoing research at York University that is helping to fill much needed knowledge gaps between different styles of management. This research has been funded by over twenty organisations including BASC and shows the commitment to keep peatland management evidence led. ENDS… Notes to Editors Defra – Applying for a licence to burn on deep peat in a protected site BASC press release: Climate change studies at risk from new burning regs, says BASC BASC brief – Don’t ban the Burn

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BASC accuses RSPB of exploiting Northern Ireland wildfire to call for ban on controlled burning

The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has criticised the RSPB for using the recent Mourne mountains wildfire as a platform to call for a ban on controlled burning.  The fire, which the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) believe may have been started deliberately, began on Slieve Donard and raged from Friday through to Sunday of last weekend. It was declared a major incident and required a multi-agency approach, including the use of helicopters and more than 100 firefighters. The fire devastated around 600 acres of natural habitat in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Tommy Mayne, BASC NI director, said: “The Mournes will take decades to fully recover following this devastating wildfire which has had a massive impact on wildlife and the natural environment. People across NI are rightly saddened by the fire and the devastation that it has caused. It is beyond belief that the RSPB has used this as an opportunity to call for an outright ban on heather burning in a bid to further its own policy objectives. “The controlled burning of heather on peatland undertaken by farmers, gamekeepers and conservationists is a completely separate issue to wildfires. As long-term members of the Glenwherry Hill Regeneration Project (GHRP), where controlled burning takes place, the RSPB knows full well that it is an effective habitat management tool. Controlled burning reduces the fuel load, improves the condition of heather and creates a habitat mosaic which has significant benefits for ground-nesting breeding birds such as golden plover, lapwing and red grouse. “The RSPB’s attempt to exploit this situation for its own ends, will further consolidate the view of some within the NI rural community that the RSPB will bypass the science that does not fit their narrative."ENDS...Notes to Editors:RSPB press release: RSPB NI calls for ban on peatland burning

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Is it game over for NI shooters?

Transporting game meat from Great Britain to Northern Ireland has become 'practically impossible' since Brexit, according to BASC.

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