UPDATE!!! The Campaign is ON!
The Free Beavers of Devon
A decision has been made at the most senior levels of DEFRA, probably a ministerial decision to remove the free beavers living on the river Otter in Devon.
Officials from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency AHVLA- Defra have been instructed to find out how to do this and if possible rehome the beavers in a Zoo, but possibly kill them if not.
This was partly confirmed by communications of wildlife groups with DEFRA officials and in a statement by George Eustice (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
“We intend to recapture and rehome the wild beavers in Devon and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so. All decisions will be made with the welfare of the beavers in mind. There are no plans to cull beavers.”
Where did the beavers come from?
There are at least 3 groups of beavers in Devon legally held, it is thought escapes over the past 6 years has led to this population expanding. Authorities have known about this for some time. Only recent media attention & pressure from groups opposed to beaver reintroduction has spurred government ministers to take action.
Who wants to get rid of the beavers?
The political force is coming from Conservative ministers with pressure from the Angling Trust & some other groups who fear beaver’s impact on land & lifestyle.
Some groups are scared beavers will change rivers and supress fishing – the best scientific evidence clearly shows this is wrong and beavers enhance fish stocks and make rivers better for wildlife
Beavers in the rest of the UK:
There are probably 300 beavers living wild in the UK in over 10 populations, mostly in Scotland, but a few in places in England and wales.
How can we stop this?
The decision is made and attempts to trap the beavers are only a few weeks away –
1. Sign the petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-free-beavers-of-england
2. write to your MP and tell them to stop
3. Write to the Government minister involved, Lord DeMauley: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the ‘Save the Free Beavers of England’ group doing?’
A broad alliance of wildlife groups led by the Charities: Devon Wildlife Trust & Wildwood Trust are campaigning for a change in policy to test the beavers to ensure they have no parasites and to monitor and mitigate any affects the beavers have to local landowners and river users. This has been rejected by DEFRA at the behest of ministers. Many DEFRA officials and wildlife experts believe that monitoring is the best policy. Where Trapping has been carried out in Scotland it led to the death of a young beaver.
At present we are:
1. Contacting local landowners and ask them to refuse permission for DEFRA officials coming on to their land, which they have the legal right to do.
2. Promote the case that testing and monitoring is the best course of action
3. Contacting zoos and animals parks to refuse DEFRA’s request to rehome the beavers, as the conditions will cause great stress to the beavers and caused the death of a young beaver when tried in Scotland.
4. Set up a team to monitor DEFRA officials to ensure they do not break the law or act in a way that will hurt the beavers’ welfare
5. Mount a legal challenge to this process.
A. Breach of Habitats Directive: There is a very good chance the UK is in breach or the Habitats Directive, beavers are a European Protected Species, in the way they have treated beavers, not recognized that beavers have re-colonised the UK in the last 15 years and not put in a proper licensing and monitoring system.
B. Animal welfare grounds – private prosecutions of individuals for any harm they bring to the beaver
C. Judicial Review of the Governments actions in this decision
I have.nt seen any think about this,