Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) reports: Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan this week pledged to improve how Northern Ireland tackles wildlife crime. The Minister hosted a summit attended by almost 30 organisations, including CAI, to ensure a better way forward. CAI has been actively involved with The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) since its inception in Northern Ireland and currently chair the poaching sub group. At present there are several organisations in Northern Ireland addressing crimes against our wildlife and we all want to see such offenses cease.
Mark H Durkan commented, “Our wildlife plays a very important role in our ecosystem. The abuse of these species is an appalling crime which I know sickens the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.
“We really need to bring this issue much higher up the agenda. The legal powers are already embedded. Most people will know deer poaching and badger baiting is a crime. How many people know that they may have a criminal record if they even injure a bat or steal an egg from a bird of prey?”
“The public have a key role to play in being vigilant. Report any crime against wildlife to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“It is not just about injuring animals. There is much publicity about contaminated fuel. But what about contaminated meat? Have you been offered venison off the back of a lorry? The seller is committing a crime. Further you will not know how that meat has been processed. Are you prepared to gamble with the contents of your dinner?”
Pledging an improved way forward, Mark H Durkan continued, “I am enthused The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime exists and by the work it does. We need all the relevant groups to be a strong voice working together to bring this issue much further up the agenda. We need the public to take wildlife crime much more seriously and report these crimes to Crimestoppers.”
Countryside Alliance Ireland is delighted with the Minister’s support for PAW.
Photo courtesy of the Irish Hawking Club website