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DEFRA and the RSPCA have been blamed by an accredited falconer for the death of an injured golden eagle.

Last November, Kent falconer and Hawk Board member Roy Lupton was exercising his captive golden eagles together with fellow falconers in the Highlands.

One of the captive eagles got into a fight with a wild golden eagle, which ended up badly injured.

Mr Lupton obtained a licence from the Scottish Government to rehabilitate the eagle.

?A few months later I was ready to release the eagle back into the wild,? said Mr Lupton. ?However, on May 5th my house and aviaries were raided by police and the RSPB, who took the eagle to an RSPCA centre in East Sussex.?

?I was later questioned by police over why I was in possession of a protected wild bird. The case was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, but no charges were brought against me.?

After 4 weeks, Mr Lupton was told he could take the eagle home.

?Despite my protests, the RSPCA kept the eagle in a highly inappropriate cage, which resulted in the eagle?s condition declining dramatically. The eagle died a week after I got it home. I blame DEFRA and the RSPCA for the death of this bird,? he said.

Vets John Brown and Neil Forbes said the postmortem findings revealed the eagle died of an E.Coli infection.

?The unsuitable conditions under which the eagle was housed at the RSPCA centre were the major contributing factor for this infection,? Mr Brown concluded.

The RSPCA?s Kate Geary commented: ?This is a very sad and tragic event. RSPCA staff did express their concern there may be an underlying health problem with the bird. Mr Lupton viewed the bird twice when it was in the RSPCA?s care, including once with his own vet, Mr Brown, and on each occasion neither he nor his vet raised any concerns about the conditions in which the bird was being kept.?

Charlie Jacoby, of Fieldsports Channel, which investigated the story, said: ?As so often, the disproportionate power of the RSPCA, DEFRA and the RSPB allows them to ride roughshod over country people far better qualified to deal with wild birds.?

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