photo by Des Irwin (Flickr CC)

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has dropped its controversial plan to capture buzzards and destroy their nests in order to protect pheasants.

Of course the pheasants wouldn’t be safe for long as the plan was to leave the pheasants to be killed by hunters instead of buzzards. A bit of meddling on the part of Defra so rich hunters can have more of a day out. Not really ‘Department for Environment’ concern, you’d think.

It gets weirder.

From the Independent:

The Environment Department (Defra) planned to spend up to £375,000 researching ways to keep the bird of prey from targeting non-native pheasants, which are reared in captivity and released for shooting in their millions.

Naturally, conservationist and environmentalist groups, along with the public, complained. The strange thing is that buzzards are a protected species in the UK, while pheasants are obviously not. What’s more is that according to government documents the impact the buzzards make on pheasant populations is unknown. Other research showed that only 1-2% of released pheasants were killed by birds of prey. I told you it gets weirder.

Funny that after all these government cuts in jobs and social services a £375,000 project designed to help wealthy hunters was even considered. Just shows you how ‘necessary’ some cuts are and who the UK’s Conservative-led government really favors.

Read more on the story in the Guardian and the New Statesman.