Monday, November 08, 2004

And no birds sing

Here is a depressing story from today's Guardian:
Nearly half of the species of birds that nest in or routinely visit Europe are in peril, with some so threatened that they may disappear altogether, according to two studies published today. Altogether, 226 species - 43 per cent of Europe's birds - face an uncertain future.
The reason for this threatened disaster? Hidden further down the story than it would be in most other papers, it is the European Common Agricultural Policy.

The paper quotes Mark Avery from the RSPB:

He blamed the declines in Britain on "highly intensive" agricultural practices that cleared the landscape of the hedgerows, coppices and spinneys that offered cover for nesting and feeding birds; that poisoned the thistles, teasels and brambles that provided seeds and berries for winter survival; and that cleared insect pests on which birds would normally feed.

"The great danger is that we will now export intensive agriculture to eastern Europe, destroying their wildlife too," he said.

If you have not grasped the full impact of farming subsidies on the British countryside, read Graham Harvey's book The Killing of the Countryside.

And here is a plug for the blog Kick All Agricultural Subsidies - or kickAAS.

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