Jackdaw shooting blogger admits errors

Following row over North Devon Green party member’s online posts about shooting animals, he says it was ‘right he be taken to task’.

A North Devon Green Party member who posted pictures and comments on his personal online blog about animals and birds has admitted he should not have shot a jackdaw.

In May last year Mark Haworth-Booth, from Swimbridge, talked on his blog about shooting a grey squirrel and a jackdaw that had been raiding his bird feeders.

Other posts referred to moving a jackdaw nest and shooting rabbits for the table.

There has been a flurry of condemnation on Facebook after a link to the blog was posted there.

There had been a link to the blog from the North Devon Green Party website, but that has now been removed and it appears Mr Haworth-Booth has taken down his entire blog as well.

“I was right to be taken to task for shooting a jackdaw and for disturbing a jackdaw nest in the breeding season,” he said in a statement.

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“I had honestly thought jackdaws were classed as pests. I shot the jackdaw because it was eating the seed intended for other birds. I dismantled the nest, before it was completed, because I did not want jackdaws nesting in the attic of our house.

“I now understand that jackdaws may be shot, outside the breeding season, on receipt of a licence, for which there is no charge, from Natural England.”

Referring to the rabbits, he said he had shot a small number for the table and one because it had been dying a horrible death from myxomatosis.

In a statement the Green Party told the Gazette it was ‘a private matter for Mark’ but said it had been saddened at the killing of the jackdaw and subsequent picture.

They added: “However we feel it was rightly dealt with by an animal welfare officer, who gave Mark a warning and that Mark had not shot the bird for sport and leisure, which would contradict Green Party policy.

“There are non-lethal ways of removing Jackdaws and Mark fully intends to use these in future. The Green Party advocates non-lethal methods in dealing with so-called pests.”

Barnstaple resident Julia Daunt, who contacted the Gazette after she found the images, said she strongly disagreed with his reasons for shooting the animals:

“I don’t like what he done, it’s disgusting,” she said.

“Nature has its own way of ‘balancing the books’ - shooting birds just because you don’t like them isn’t the way we should do things.

“All nesting birds are protected by law and Mr Haworth-Booth should have known that as he is so heavily involved with bird watching and ornithology groups.

“I find his actions abhorrent. We should be protecting and conserving our wildlife, not killing it.”

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