Natural England’s claims that an autopsy on a dead hen harrier proved it was shot have been rejected by the Countryside Alliance.

The Alliance accessed the autopsy results and concluded there were too many anomalies to prove the hen harrier was shot. The evidence “would not last a second in a court of law,” it states in a news release.

The autopsy found tiny metal objects within the leg bone of hen harrier Bowland Betty that were of a size, shape and composition that haven’t been linked to any known ammunition.

The bird was found dead in July 2012 and in December last year Natural England had claimed an autopsy proved the hen harrier had been shot.

The Alliance is seeking an urgent meeting with Natural England to understand why they believe the bird was shot when the metallic objects found in its body were smaller than any commercially available ammunition and contained nobium, a metal that doesn’t exist in any known shotgun or air rifle ammunition.

Hen harrier photo by Sergey Yeliseev

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