Shooters have welcomed the intervention of Agriculture Minister Jim Paice, after last-minute proposals to remove hooded crows from the pest birds list in England were halted.

Natural England planned to change the wording of the 2012 open general licences, to make it an offence to shoot, trap or use hooded crows as decoy birds, as Shooting Times reported (Crow-control crisis, 28 December).

However, after lobbying by organisations including BASC and the National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO), Mr Paice has intervened to ask officials at Natural England to leave the licences unchanged for this year to allow further consultation.

BASC?s Dr Conor O?Gorman said: ?Proper consultation must be undertaken before significant changes are made to the legal basis for shooting and trapping pest birds. In this case there was no consultation and we are grateful for the Minister?s intervention to allow that consultation to take place.

The rest of this article appears in the 11th January issue of Shooting Times.

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