Why is UK Wildlife Law so confusing?

Lee Raye, Wildlife Law tutor at ADL, shares his favourite stories of wildlife legislation.

UK Wildlife Law can be confusing. Swans and stranded whales belong to the crown and you should not touch them. Nesting birds and wild plants are also protected, but you should exterminate rabbits whenever they appear on your land. If you accidently catch a grey squirrel you are not supposed to let it go, but if you catch a great crested newt you should let it go immediately and stop whatever you are doing.

The reason our laws are so complicated is because of the rich tradition of environment-use in the UK. Our current law system is almost a thousand years old, and has been established to promote four uses of wildlife: (i) sustainable hunting, (ii) pest control, (iii) conservation, and (iv) welfare. For example:

  • Sustainable Hunting. Parks and forests were originally Norman reserves for wild animals, especially the introduced fallow deer (Dama dama) and native red deer (Cervus elaphus). These lands were used by the aristocracy for hunting, and were strictly off-limits for poorer people. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle explains in a scathing elegy that William the Conqueror ‘loved the stags as though he were their father’, and blinded anyone he caught poaching venison.
  • Pest Control. The Act(s) for the Preservation of Grayne (esp. 1566) were written at another time when ordinary people were starving. The increasing population was putting more pressure on food and farms could not keep up with demand. The Tudor Grain Acts required all parishes in England, Wales and Scotland to exterminate agricultural pests. All mammals and most small birds were given a bounty.
  • Conservation. But the very same Grain Acts also prevented ravens and kites been taken within two miles of any city. This was because kites and ravens were urban scavengers; they helped protect humans from disease by consuming food waste before it could spoil. Conservation history in Britain goes back a long way.
  • Welfare. Swans, eagles and royal stags were protected from injury because they symbolised the power of the ruling class. The Values of Wild and Tame from pre-union Wales ruled that anyone who injured or killed the king’s champion stag had to pay a fine.

In the twenty-first century our laws are more sustainable. We have closed-seasons for hunting, deterrent and reactive-based control of pests and a network of nature reserves for conservation. Our vertebrate animals are now all protected from deliberate harm unless there is good cause. But we got to this stage through centuries of law making. Each of the four pillars above is still provided for. The reason that UK Wildlife Law is so complicated is because it is designed to protect all four historical stakeholders in wildlife.

Want to make sense of Wildlife Law? Enroll on our online UK Wildlife Law course today! If you’re quick you might even be able to win a scholarship.

You can read more wildlife themed blog posts by our tutor, Lee Raye, on his blog Natural History.

LEAVE A REPLY

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

June Newsletter 4 2022: Is it smaller than a loaf of bread?

Nanotechnology 100 Hours Certificate Course Learn about Nanotechnology and understand how it can be applied in many industries Nanoscience is the study of structures and molecules on the very small scales of nanometres. The technology that utilises it in practical applications, such as devices, is called nanotechnology. This course will help you understand how nanotechnology

Read More »

Freedom to Learn

Unsurprisingly, one of the most critical skills that we can understand in life is how to learn. Or, more accurately, how we learn because we are all very different and at various points in our journey to understanding how we work best. This series is going to be an exploration of ideas that may prove

Read More »

May Newsletter 3 2022: Enter the writer’s room!

Writing Non-Fiction 100 Hours Certificate Course Learn How Professional Non-Fiction Writers Become Professional Non-Fiction Writers! Have you ever dreamed of becoming a Professional Non-Fiction Writer? This course will help you learn how to write blogs, news articles, video scripts and much more. You’ll also learn how to develop writing skills that will enable you to

Read More »

June Newsletter 2 2022: Farm-Bred and Organic Tourism!

Farm Tourism (also known as Agritourism!) 100 Hours Certificate Course HOW TO ESTABLISH A FARM TOURISM BUSINESS Looking to add extra revenue streams to your farming business? This course will explain the various opportunities and different ways that a farm tourism business can add to your farm income. You’ll learn how to build a tourism

Read More »

June Newsletter 1 2022: The two certainties in life, taxes and learning!

Bookeeping Skills are Essential to any Business! Learn the accounting practices needed to understand the monetary wellbeing of your business. Improve your existing skills or simply use the course to improve your admin or accounting abilities. Bookkeeping Foundations (Bookkeeping I) is an ideal course for anyone wanting to have a better understanding of the principles

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top

REQUEST A CALLBACK

To speak to one of our course advisors, please enter your name and phone number below and click the "Please Call Me" button. We will call you back as soon as possible!

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.

CONTACT US

required fields are marked with *

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.