There is not a lot to be said for DEFRA (newly branded today as the Department for the Eradication of Feral Rural Animals). Rarely a season goes by when they fail to infuriate great sections of the British public, while pissing off a fair few Europeans at the same time. Now, having spectacularly failed to impress anyone on the issue of badger culls, the new public enemy of the British rural landscape is the buzzard.
For those unaware, badgers were considered for widespread executions for chemical warfare activities. It appears that secret badger cells had been operating in secure locations, under trees and in prehistoric burial mounds, orchestrating the distribution of the toxin known only as TB, to cattle throughout the country. While there was never any firm evidence of the existence of these weapons of mass inconvenience, badgers were still fingered for on the spot execution.
Now buzzards are on the hit list as well. Their crime, the occasional consumption of baby pheasants. I’m sure we are all in agreement that those terrible buzzards should indeed be lined up against a wall, shot three times to the head, before being disposed of for distribution in canine treat tins for their most heinous crime of eating to stay alive. But wait, there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Why is DEFRA looking to protect these baby pheasants? Well so that they can grow up into slightly bigger pheasants for people to shoot of course.
For the buzzard, I would suggest rehabilitation, rather than incarceration or execution. If buzzards can be trained to emit a horse like laugh, inherit a country estate, master the art of being dressed in tweed by a butler, before equipping themselves with a shotgun, then their rights to blow ten bags of crap out of the same pheasant is perfectly acceptable. If they continue to kill pheasants in a way that is in their nature, then they themselves should, naturally, be exterminated in turn.
As solutions go, it’s about as rational as the initial argument.