The Plight of the Buzzard

Posted on June 7, 2012

The Jubilee celebrations are thankfully well behind us and I have my own reason to celebrate as I managed to go the whole four days without expressing my disdain towards the ruling classes that are now firmly back to Edwardian levels, controlling not only us but the countryside as well.

Someone recently asked me what it is about these people I disliked, loosely insinuating that jealousy may be the cause of my resentment. This annoyed me nearly as much as I was annoyed with myself for not really offering the answers I desperately wanted to come up with. However (to coin a phrase I read recently) it is not the wealth, I would not care a jot about toffs running our country if they were actually any good at doing it, or were at the very least trying to do it for the good of anyone or anything other than just themselves.

If only I had been asked the same question the day after I had read about the most recent attempts by the the ruling classes to wipe out the population of the buzzard. The buzzard is a reasonably common sight in the skies around here, a grand bird that circles the sky in search of carrion, mortally injured small mammals and very rarely, young pheasants.

When I say rarely, I mean that it is estimated that 1-2% of young pheasants are taken by ALL birds of prey, not just a buzzard, so very very few really. It was probably buried under the Royal bunting last week, but in case you missed it, the government was forced to back down to public opinion on a proposal to spend tax payers money on capturing buzzards and destroying their nests to aid the breeding of pheasants.

The protected pheasants are, rather ironically, blown away by a shot gun a few months later, not that I particular mind shooting man bred game for “the pot”. Pheasant is rather tasty, especially in stew, I spent my childhood being taught how to look out for lead shot as I ate my dinner.

The buzzard: Long hunted by gamekeepers

So who was behind this government policy?

Why blow me, it was Lord Benyon,  the great friend of David Cameron and our dear Royals (he is always at the weddings and jubilees). By pure coincidence of course, Benyon is the owner of the 20,000 acre Englefield House that employs gamekeepers to breed pheasants and kill everything else that may or or may not take 1% of their young.

Benyon, and I am not making this up, is the the minister for ‘wildlife and biodiversity’ and in his proposal he claimed “anecdotal evidence” that buzzards were destroying pheasants at site level. It is alleged by many that the “anecdotal evidence” came from the mouth of one of his own game keeper………..but even if it was true (no one has yet come forward with the anecdotal evidence) may I ask this question?


As a self confessed twitcher, I could go on and on about the persecution of the ruling classes of not just buzzards, but peregrines, hen harriers and the beautiful red kite that is now colonising much of Hampshire due to careful reintroduction measures after it had been one of many indigenous birds of prey virtually wiped out by land owners.

In Scotland, a law has been passed so that land owners can now be prosecuted if their staff persecute wildlife but meanwhile, in England, whilst a gamekeeper can be prosecuted, the land owner is still not liable for any persecution or cruelty. When it was requested that Benyon should pass a similar law in England, he rejected the proposal as totally preposterous.

It is purely by coincidence of course,  that Benyon also owns an 8,000 acre grouse estate. You really couldn’t make it up could you, every law this fucker passes or rejects is for his own benefit. I am convinced the government balls up  with the VAT on pasties was conducted on purpose to create headlines aimed at distracting us from the likes of of this guy.

I will leave you with this startling fact. Their are an estimated 40 million pheasants in the UK in comparison to just one breeding pair of hen harriers in the uplands that have been a perfect habitat for well over three hundred pairs. Sadly they stand on the verge of extinction as they are being poisoned and trapped by gamekeepers on grouse breeding estates.

I have not made any of this up and I do appreciate that as a wildlife lover I am biased, I nearly flipped my car over avoiding a shrew in Oakley the other day. However, I have to say that the treatment of our indigenous species to protect a tiny percentage of birds that are a bred to be killed, typifies elite land owners. They don’t love the countryside, they love to murder it.

If  Benyon had his way, there would be no kestrels, no kites, no buzzards, no hen harriers and no peregrines; we would be awash with pheasants and partridges. I have no problem with people who want to shoot pheasants or rabbits for food or perhaps pest control but for God’s sake……..

What makes it worse is that the likes of Lord Benyon want the tax payer to cover the cost!  Whether you care for our green and pleasant land or not , the only time “We are all in this together” is when we are asked to pay for the creation of huge millionaires playgrounds that used to be called the countryside.

So to answer the question from earlier…..the likes of Benyon (A Royal friend) are just one of the reasons why I found it so hard to celebrate anything to do with the Jubilee!

3 Replies to "The Plight of the Buzzard"

  • John Newton
    June 12, 2012 (3:59 pm)

    Bob, I am assuming this guy is the Tory MP for Newbury who as Agriculture and Fisheries Minsister was amazingly unable to identify a Plaice when confronted with one on a Fishmongers stall – how embarassing would that be for any normal person? He couldn’t of cared less mumbling some excuse along the lines of how could he be expected to know. The bloke is an absolute cock…..

  • Stewart Withey
    June 12, 2012 (4:34 pm)

    The only type of place Benyon is interested in is that we all know our place.

  • Ramon Clarke
    October 9, 2013 (6:39 pm)

    Had 7 Buzzards flying over the house on Sunday, great to see. I am in Hertfordshire and over the last couple of years i have seen more Buzzards and Red Kites in the area.

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