A new report by the RSPB has called on the UK Government to outlaw the possession of poisons used to kill birds of prey illegally.

According to Birdcrime 2010, there were 128 instances of illegal poisoning in the UK last year, involving 20 red kites, 30 buzzards, two goshawks, eight peregrines, five golden eagles, one white-tailed eagle and one sparrowhawk. The report shows a decrease of 18 per cent on the previous year?s figures.

A list of banned pesticides ? including Carbofuran, alphachloralose and Bendiocarb ? is already in place in Scotland, and the charity is now urging England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

The RSPB?s conservation director, Martin Harper, said: ?It has been illegal to poison birds of prey since 1911, but, in a bizarre quirk, it is not illegal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for individuals to possess some of the most deadly poisons, even if they have no legitimate use for them.

?If this Government is serious about tackling illegal persecution of birds of prey, it really needs to start taking meaningful action. Putting additional controls on the possession of these common wildlife poisons would be a relatively easy first step,especially as these controls would not affect legitimate pesticide uses.?

The rest of this article appears in the 9th November issue of Shooting Times.

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