IT seems our friends at the European Commission are not just having problems balancing their books, they seem to be somewhat confused over their care and compassion for wildlife.

Once again the experts in the European Commission are to force member states to undertake practices in culling moles that practitioners say are cruel.

Peter Brown had been culling moles using strychnine for 18 years and operated a UK government-approved scheme serving 87 farms in the Oldham area. Moles push soil to the surface, releasing lysteria which poisons livestock.

But the all-knowing EU has decided that killing moles with strychnine is cruel and insists that traps and other poisons like aluminium phosphide are used instead. But, just like the British government with the fox hunting ban, it is an ill-informed and ultimately less humane change for the worse.

Moles may be injured by a trap, escape and die days later from their injuries. Even if the mole is caught, it can take some time for them to die.

Aluminium phosphide, according to Mr Brown, can take two days to kill a mole.

Conversely the Commission officials controlling the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have decided to remove the link between CAP payments to farmers and their obligation under rules to protect birds from suffering. It seems these officials according to the RSPB are prepared to over look the poisoning of birds.

Bob Elliot, head of investigations at RSPB Scotland, said: "The loss of this option from cross-compliance would be a blow for wildlife protection in the UK. It is a major deterrent in the armoury of the authorities.

"Deliberate poisoning is a major threat to birds of prey. We had 37 reports confirmed by the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency of raptors being poisoned last year. In Scotland a mixture of illegal pesticides killed a white-tailed eagle found on a Scottish estate this May."

Mandy Gloyer, head of land use policy at RSPB Scotland, said: "All land managers receiving public money must be required to ensure legal requirements are met on their land.

"Over half a billion pounds of taxpayers' money is paid to Scottish land managers every year, and it seems reasonable to ask them to meet their obligations to conservation and obey laws on wildlife crime in return.

"Given the importance of our wildlife tourism, the removal of this effective deterrent would be of particular importance in Scotland."

So once again policies and practices well honed by the experts in this country and the protections offered under domestic legislation to protect wildlife from suffering are being ignored, and to be honest there doesn't seem to be a logical reason, but when has the European Commission ever acted with logic.

ROBERT FEAL-MARTINEZ Chairman and PPC UKIP South Marston Swindon