Leading article: No possible excuse for destroying buzzard nests


Game shooting – the blasting of large numbers of pheasants and other birds out of the sky for enjoyment – has so far escaped the widespread opprobrium attached to fox hunting, largely because it takes place out of the public gaze. But that may be about to change.

It is as outrageous as it is incredible that the Wildlife minister, wealthy landowner and keen shot Richard Benyon, has sanctioned the blasting to bits of buzzards' nests in the interests of the owners of pheasant-shooting estates. It is no part of the brief of the minister responsible for biodiversity and its protection to be using his department to act as the gamekeeper's friend, still less to be spending public money doing so. But the fact that he is, as Wildlife minister, authorising the violent destruction of the nests of a protected bird species, beggars belief. Mr Benyon had better think again, and think quickly.