The RSPB has today (13 June) published information relating to its use of egg oiling, nest destruction and the culling of birds. This is in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Countryside Alliance. In his blog the RSPB’s Martin Harper admitted that in 2011/12 the charity obtained licences from Natural England to kill three adult lesser black-backed gulls and destroy 76 large gull nests and also killed 292 carrion crows and 11 magpies under open general licences.
The charity also said it oiled, to prevent hatching, 73 greylag goose eggs and more than 25 Canada goose eggs and destroyed 195 barnacle goose eggs.
The Countryside Alliance has also found out, through the Freedom of Information Act request, that the charity obtained a licence in 2011 to destroy the eggs of black swans.
Countryside Alliance director of campaigns, Tim Bonner, said: “In recent weeks the RSPB has been highly critical of licences issued by Natural England to destroy the nests of buzzards and cull gulls. They used highly emotive language to decry these activities, but now we find out that they have been carrying out exactly the same sort of actions.
“The RSPB’s use of the licence system seems to be perfectly legitimate and justified but looks extraordinary hypocritical in light of its recent comments about other licence applications.
“If the licence system is correct when used by the RSPB, then it must also be correct when used by other applicants.”