|A Splendid cock Pheasant|
Now there are really good laws to prevent the introduction of exotic species to the UK. The debacle of Victorian times has left us with hordes of Canada Geese, Grey Squirrels etc.. Populations now so big that eradicating them is nigh on impossible. The law also states that if you catch a Grey Squirrel then you may not release it. It has to be put down.
Where am I going with this you might ask? Well if the laws are now strong enough to prevent anyone introducing alien species to our precious countryside how come landowners can release 40 million Pheasants into the countryside every year and apparently only shoot 15 million. Surely this mass of semi domestic alien fowl must have an adverse effect on our native species? Does the law not cover Pheasants? Maybe because they have been around a long time some clever shooter has had them accepted legally as a naturalised species.
Should we be concerned? Should we the nature conservationists be carrying out research to find out what the effects of these birds are? Should Pheasant shooting be restricted to "wild birds" that have been at large for generations? In the Netherlands I understand this is the case with new releases not permitted.
I think these are all reasonable questions from a nature conservation point of view.
At least it is my belief that no protected native species should be legally removed for the benefit of field sports or any other commercial activity.
Am I dreaming?