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Top ten failures of 2021 from Wild Justice and friends - Day Two

Day Two - Mark Avery's Court of Appeal failure on Hen Harrier Brood Management

Mark Avery was never far away from making headlines for losing legal battles in 2021 – but we can come back to the rest of them later.

The one that is probably the most significant was the Court of Appeal judgement held in November, following Avery’s decision to appeal a previous judgment against Natural England’s Hen Harrier Brood Management scheme.

The judge’s first decision was in 2019 unequivocal: “There is simply no evidence to support the claimant's submission that NE is seeking to circumvent the overall statutory purpose of conservation of an endangered species” and, “The RSPB has not been able to identify any material information that was not available to the assessors and appears to have misread the conclusions reached in the report”.

Despite this Mark Avery, along with the RSPB, decided they would challenge this decision, draining further resources designated for charitable objectives to be used for legal proceedings. All in spite of the fact that hen harrier numbers have already increased by 800% in recent years in the UK.

It has not been revealed precisely how much public money was wasted on this challenge (though we should be finding that out soon), but one can only imagine what RSPB members think of the executives of their charity choosing to spend their money on a legal challenge that, ultimately, sought to prevent the reintroduction of a species seemingly because of a political agenda against grouse shooting.

What was made transparent from this failed court case however, is that Avery and the RSPB seem to put their personal vendetta against moorland communities and their management organisations ahead of proper charitable principles, and what is ultimately best for the birds they are meant to be responsible for. The success of the southern reintroduction of Red Kites is testament to the benefits that can arise from similar projects.

The case also reinforces the continuing closeness between Mark Avery’s Wild Justice and the RSPB, despite efforts from senior management to publically distance themselves from the activity group.

Indeed, Wild Justice’s Chris Packham remains Vice President of the RSPB. Let’s hope this is addressed in the New Year.


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