27/10/2014
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RSPB and WWT urge the government to act on the illegal poisoning of birds

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Indian Vulture was nearly wiped out due to use of the veterinary drug diclofenac. Photo by Vaibhavcho (commons.wikimedia.org).
Indian Vulture was nearly wiped out due to use of the veterinary drug diclofenac. Photo by Vaibhavcho (commons.wikimedia.org).

Today (Monday 27 October) the UK government has the ideal opportunity to solve one of the biggest problems facing bird conservation, say experts from leading wildlife charities the RSPB and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).

Representatives from the UK government are meeting with their counterparts from across Europe to discuss whether to support a groundbreaking international resolution to reduce and minimise poisoning of migrating birds.

The culmination of years of work by a group made up of global experts on poisoning and co-ordinated by a post funded by the UK government, the resolution will be taken to a conference of the Convention for Migratory Species in Ecuador this November. If approved it will advise how countries across the world can tackle poisoning of birds by lead shot, insecticides, rodenticides, use of poisoned baits and veterinary drugs such as the vulture-killing drug diclofenac.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “The people in that room today have the perfect opportunity to be part of a historical move that will tackle one of the biggest and most wide-ranging conservation problems facing some of the world’s most-threatened wildlife. Supporting this resolution to address poisonings would bring us one step closer to the historical moment when we can declare an end to this major conservation issue. The UK has, in many ways, led the world on efforts to tackle poisoning and this resolution is the opportunity for us to continue to be at the forefront for years to come.”

Jeff Knott, WWT’s head of conservation policy, added: “This is a unique opportunity for the world’s governments to look at the vast amount of global evidence of the damaging impact of poisons, and to be part of a global decision to stop it. The great thing is there are already a range of ways to address these issues, so it would just be a case of working with industries on timelines to phase out the poisons. The UK government has already supported work to reduce poisoning and now’s the moment for it to build on this and reinforce the UK’s role as a global leader on tackling poisoning for future generations.”

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Written by: Birdwatch news team