Don’t Legalize the Killing of Buzzards


Target: Andrea Leadsom Secretary of State for the Environment

Goal: Stop granting licenses for the killing of buzzards after they recovered from near extinction.

The government of the U.K. has issued a licence to shoot and kill buzzards to a currently anonymous British landowner, the first such licence issued since 1954. This move comes after pressure from the shooting industry in order to protect their profits.

The shooting industry in the U.K. releases 45 million pheasants–birds raised in factory farms–into the wild each year for recreational hunters to shoot. Buzzards prey on pheasants, which undermines industry profits. However, the number of pheasants killed by motorists each year dwarfs the number killed by buzzards.

During the 19th and early 20th century, Buzzards were hunted to extinction in many parts of the U.K. Their populations rebounded under legal protection by the British government. Experiences with the legal killing of other previously protected species show that issuing licences often leads to increases in illegal killing of the species.

Given that the government is maintaining the anonymity of those receiving licences, it would be easy for anyone caught illegally hunting buzzards to claim to have a license. Sign our petition and demand an end to the legal killing of buzzards and that the U.K. government reaffirms its commitment to protect wildlife.  


Dear Secretary Leadsom,

I was alarmed to hear that Natural England has issued a licence to an anonymous landowner to hunt buzzards. I believe that this is a move in the wrong direction for the U.K. and will only serve to endanger a species that owes its resurgence to the past 60 years of legal protection.

The primary rationale for killing the birds is their predation of pheasants. However, while 45 million pheasants are released into the wild each year, buzzard account for a minuscule proportion of the bird’s deaths. A far greater number of pheasants are killed by motorists than by buzzards.

Furthermore, as previous experiences have shown, issuing licences to hunt protected species leads to a significant increase in their illegal killing. In the 19th and early 20th century, hunting buzzards resulted in their extinction from much of the U.K. Please ensure we do not repeat that mistake.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Peter Trimming

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  1. Linda Wilson says:

    All in each other’s lousy money filled pockets. The North York Moors is almost desolate of wildlife in order to keep up the wild grouse stocks for shooting. Killing wildlife to save wildlife so that it can be shot what a bunch of morons and this is going on all over the country. Our playgrounds their graveyards.

  2. Sara Smith says:

    Well said, Linda. These shooters deserve to die of some lingering and painful disease.

  3. Cecily Colloby says:

    I’d like a licence to hunt and kill the morons who want to kill buzzards – now THAT would be a GREAT idea! I just can’t get my head round the mentality of these idiots who want to kill something because it deprives THEM of the sadistic pleasure of doing so themselves!! Buzzards need to kill to eat-humans don’t need to and those who shoot animals for the “pleasure” of it are VERY suspect indeed and licences should be issued to get rid of THEM…..

  4. Leadsom is pro-hunt fraternity. Nothing like bloodying one’s (children’s) faces with the fresh blood of ripped up little foxes, eh Andrea? Nothing like poisoning our endangered birds of prey, to save grouse for the delightful killing of later. Nothing quite like inviting the likes of Glaxo Smith Kline to perform their heinous tricks, right in the middle of London? Nothing like fracking our countryside to ribbons with a promise of £10,000 to each household. That is what the problem was to begin with. Money – and those who had it thinking they could do all their scornful talking with it. What price do you put on our rare and endangered wildlife then Mrs Leadsom? More than the price of a day’s gung-ho at the mansion houses? You make me sick.

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