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9 August 2018 14:26:22 |Agri Safety and Rural Crime,Animal Health,News,Sheep

Sheep sector disputes claim that lynx re-introduction has '100% landowner approval'

However, the National Sheep Association said the majority of farmers they've spoken to are opposed to the release

However, the National Sheep Association said the majority of farmers they've spoken to are opposed to the release

The sheep sector has disputed claims made by Lynx UK Trust claiming "major landowners" have approved access for lynx during a trial reintroduction.
Rewilding campaign group Lynx UK Trust has claimed that "major landowners" responsible for 700km2 of potential Eurasian lynx habitat in the Kielder Forest region in Northumberland have approved access during the planned trial reintroduction.
The Trust says all of the landowners approached have given their go-ahead.
The group says lynx would bring benefits such as helping to control and reduce the UK’s over-populated deer numbers, reducing damage to forests and improving habitat for smaller animals.
However, the National Sheep Association (NSA), a fierce critic of the proposals to reintroduce lynx in the British countryside, said approval of landowners is a "moot point".
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive said: “Approval of landowners is a moot point without the licence application being approved by Natural England – but, with no detail of the individuals claimed to be supporting them, all we can do is dispute this latest information from Lynx UK Trust.

“The area the Trust is talking about is clearly a large proportion of Kielder and the majority of farmers we’ve spoken to there are opposed to the release.
“It may be that Lynx UK has not drawn the important distinction between landowners and farmers, as land in that area is frequently farmed by tenants,” Mr Stocker said.
The NSA also disputes the claim that the sheep sector are "baseless scaremongers".
"As the influential arguments we have put forward against the release are based on experiences from farmers in other European countries,” Mr Stocker added.
If the release is successful it could lead to the further reintroduction of the mammals into the Scottish Highlands and other areas of Britain.
The Lynx UK Trust has already announced an agreement that will insure the UK's whole sheep population against lynx attacks throughout the proposed trial.


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