The Windsor Massacre

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Oh dear. Not what you’d call good PR in light of recent news stories regarding the Royals and their wildlife saving credentials (also reported here) however I doubt any of those involved actually give any kind of a toss. Over 7000 wild birds and animals were killed on the Windsor Estate last year, figures from FIO request by Animal Aid show.  It really is staggering the level of killing that goes on, not just in the Royal parks and gardens but throughout the countryside. It’s endemic of the attitudes of those employed to manage these estates, it’s a killing culture and until that changes then the slaughter will sadly continue.

The Killing Fields?

The Killing Fields?

Let’s have a look at the numbers.

Pigeons 3,901, Rabbits 1,161, Jackdaws 772, Squirrels 325, Crows 191, Foxes 159, Rats 145, Muntjac 127, Parakeets 118, Magpies 70, Roe 56, Rooks 55, Hares 28, Jays 9, Moles 9, Mink 3.

Now let’s analyse the so called justification used for all that killing.

Foxes – Killed to save game birds. Well here we go again. I’m getting a bit fed up with this argument. Millions of pheasants are intensively reared each year and released into the countryside with little hope of survival if they’re not blasted out of the air by a toff wearing tweed or Barbour. Losing a few to Basil the Brush isn’t going to make any kind of a dent in the profits and removing a self-regulating (population wise) native predator is counterproductive as well as morally repugnant.

Corvids (Crows, Magpies, Rooks and Jays) – Removed (pfft . . . slaughtered more like) at the request of tenant farmers. I’ll tackle these all in one go as they’re very similar. Corvids are highly intelligent and capable of advanced problem solving and using tools. Because of this they’re highly adaptable and successful. They tend to get demonised (even by some bird watchers) for their egg & young bird predation (particularly the Magpie) however they’re not the cause in the decline of our songbird species. That’s largely due to habitat loss and modern industrial farming methods. They also eat lots of what farmers would deem as invertebrate pests so getting rid of them is a huge case of shooting yourself in your welly boot clad foot from the farmers point of view. Again, no justification there.

Moles – Killed to preserve the formal parks and sports ground. You can remove Moles humanely without the need to kill them and if you’re do damn precious about your lawn put an underground Mole fence round it to stop them getting in in the first place. A humane Mole trap only costs a fiver or so and I’m pretty sure the Royal estates aren’t short for a bob or two.

Hares – Just shot for sport I guess. I’ve covered this already (see link in first para) so won’t do it all again but despite a biodiversity action plan in place to reverse the trend in their decline they have little protection and while the estates are managed by a pro shooting manager then little will change.



Pigeons & Rabbits – At the request of tenant farmers. While common as species I doubt they do any real significant damage in the grand scheme of things and can’t help but think most were shot for the enjoyment of shooting a living wild target. It’s easy to put bird scarers up that’ll keep hungry beaks away from your crops.

Deer & Squirrels – At the request of the foresters. Well the Grey Squirrel is an invasive species but it’s here to stay now and while they can cause some damage I doubt killing them will be particularly effective. I think if they were encroaching on the native Red Squirrel habitat then there could be a justification but sadly the Red was pushed out of that part of England a long time ago. The killing of Deer will be justified by claiming a lack of apex predators to control numbers. Apex predators’ humans decimated a long time ago. We’re now just moving down the food chain as species bite the dust one by one. It’s a totally unsustainable process and has to stop.

Just to note, the Crown Estate’s net revenue surplus (profit) for the year that ended 31 March 2013 was £252.6 million. The Windsor portfolio is valued at £204million. I think they can afford to change.

While I’m having a whinge I noted that during the NFU conference this week (minus Paterson who still in hiding and wimping out) that farmers were still keen to get on with the slaughter of a protected species. Not only that but expected the tax payer to foot the bill. Well they can fuck off quite frankly. I’m not going to pay for you to free up land so you can make more money. George Useless sitting in for Paterson claims any decision on the roll out of the cull will be based on science, that’s it ladies and gents, you heard it first here – THERE WILL BE NO CULL.

But their science seems to be different from everyone else’s.

A final note about Gavin Grant who will step down as Chief Executive of the RSPCA due to a health issue. Gavin was often claimed by those who sought to discredit the organisation (The Countryside Alliance & its support) as controversial and leading the RSPCA into animal rights. Well cruelty is a right every animal should not to have to suffer regardless of whether it’s Tiddles the tabby, Flossy the sheep or indeed a Fox. Hopefully his replacement will be equally proactive and I hope Gavin returns to full health soon

  1. NMac says:

    An excellent article, but sickening to read about the evil cruelty which is perpetrated just so that the wealthy can kill for their perverted pleasure.

  2. Cristina Parker says:

    One of the contributors to our web page remembers seeing rows of slaughtered red squirrels hung up when she was a girl. Slaughtered by gamekeepers to extinction in most of the UK.

  3. Martin Hall-Kenny says:

    Yet… you STILL get a substantial proportion of the general population that continues to bleat on about ‘how good the Royal Family is for Britain…’ Speaking out can be construed as treason and the rights granted under Magna Carta are being eroded on a daily basis. It is past time for MORAL government. Every issue can be decided by ONE question… Is it morally defensible/right to to this? Anything else is pure poppycock!

  4. Cristina Parker says:

    We are scraping the bottom of the barrel and the scum is rising to the top.

  5. Lisa Lamb says:

    Our royal family is a joke. They should be protecting our precious wildlife, not slaughtering anything that gets in the way of their sick sports. Nature regulates itself perfectly well without our interference. Foxes will keep down the numbers of rabbits, rats and smaller mammals and so on. Do the Royal family want their estates to be void of all wildlife other than the game they murder for entertainment?

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