Hen Harriers in The Times

Photo: Tim Melling
Photo: Tim Melling

Our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting in England is going really well – yesterday (we are still in Week Four) it passed 4500 signatures.

Thank you to all who signed it and to Chris Packham, Tony Juniper, Brigit Strawbridge, The League Against Cruel Sports, Birdwatch magazine, Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Rare Bird Alert for their support too.

I saw Simon Barnes last week at a World Land Trust event (of which, more next week) and we talked about Passenger Pigeons a little.  Simon also said that he read this blog quite regularly.

However, I was taken by surprise when somebody tipped me off that Simon Barnes had ‘gone large’ on Hen Harrier persecution in his excellent ‘Wild Notebook’ column in today’s Times (page 26).

As well as mentioning A Message from Martha (which will put me in my publisher’s good books) Simon mentions Hen Harrier Day  and our e-petition in his column. It’s probably not surprising, although it surprised me, as Simon has brought the plight of the Hen Harrier to the notice of Times readers many times in the last few years (see here, here and most recently  here for just some examples).  It’s not really surprising as Simon is a birder – he told me he added Common Crane to his garden list recently – lucky him!

The readership of The Times is probably a fairly broad church but I am sure that Simon’s occasional mentions of the illegal persecution of the Hen Harrier put some noses out of joint amongst the readership (let’s hope not amongst the editorship).

Here are a few quotes from Simon’s opinion piece:

Those who manage moors for driven grouse-shooting have had it all their own way since the invention of the shotgun. now it seems that opposition is gathering. It’s always been about the interests of the wealthy prevailing over the rest of us, but more questions are being asked. Whose country is it anyway? Whose wildlife? Whose hills?

‘The grouse industry needs to take a greater responsibility and, overall, it has shown no tendency to do so in terms of cutting down illegal behaviour, managing more responsibly or taking in the interests of the wider public.’

”…increasing numbers of people…are becoming aware that lonely and dramatic high places are exploited and damaged to make money for a few people. There is a growing feeling that this really isn’t right.’

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation has a terribly dull letter about Hen Harriers in the same issue. Yawn!

Thank you! Simon Barnes and thank you! The Times.



3 Replies to “Hen Harriers in The Times”

  1. Simon has had a ‘raptor update’ in his Saturday col for about 5 weeks now, mainly highlighting Derbyshire. I really admire SB – he doesn’t have many words, although often 2 columns – he doesn’t waste the words and tells the truth.

Comments are closed.