Inner steel

It’s not often that Martin Harper posts a blog on a Saturday but this one is well worth reading. Here is an extract:

There is little sign that the grouse moor industry is prepared to condemn, let alone end illegal killing. The industry has to prove that it can deliver the recovery of hen harriers BEFORE we can even consider brood management, which will only work if the illegal persecution has stopped. At present, even if chicks were taken from the wild, reared and released, we have little confidence that they would be allowed to fly free from harm. 

I’m sorry, but surely it is the responsibility of those who are breaking the law to change their behaviour? Why should it be the duty of everyone else to compromise with them, especially when the stakes are so high?  We will have no part in such a scheme until there are signs that the hen harrier population is recovering WITHOUT the need for brood management. As I said in my previous email, this is a matter of trust.

I thought I knew the RSPB, I thought the position would harden in response to attempted bullying and I was right.  Yet another miscalculation by the shooting community…

When will the RSPB be asking its members to sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting?

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14 Replies to “Inner steel”

  1. The RSPB’s position must change, we all know that the shooting establishment has no intention of changing their ways. Illegal killing of our wildlife will continue until they are forced to stop, and the only way to do that is to ban it, no compromise, no more talking just a ban. The chance has passed and there is no trust in the word of people who flagrantly brake the law. All of the talk about a joint plan is just a delaying tactic and an agreement will never come, that’s clear to everyone.

    1. Monro – you must be blind then.

      Were you at the GWCT meeting last week which hosted Mike Clarke?

      But thanks for pointing back 5 years to when there were many more Hen Harriers in England.

  2. Furthermore overall ‘birdcrime’ is down dramatically from last year (25%) and by over 50% since 2009, despite the significant increase in numbers of birds of prey since then.

    As far as we can tell from rspb figures, out of the 27 individuals prosecuted for birdcrime in 2013, only four were associated with gameshooting, one of whom was found not guilty.

    All the other individuals were involved with falconry, racing pigeons, trade in wild birds or eggs, or poaching.

    There are a very few real (as opposed to ‘reported’, ‘probable’, ‘attributed’) evidenced cases of poisoning of raptors every year by incompetents or criminals involved with gameshooting. Wind farms take a similar toll. Natural predators take many times that number.

    I yield to no-one in appreciating the beauty of birds of prey. I wish to see them prosper, as indeed they are, in this country; the rspb’s arguments concerning the threat of illegal killing from gameshooting interests are so clearly overstated, so thoroughly unconvincing, that their motivation must be in question.

    1. So Monro please tell us why there are no Peregrines breeding successfully throughout the grouse moors of North Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland and haven’t been for many years, yet they contain many traditional territories. Why the Peregrine population in the Forest of Bowland has crashed when one major estate changed its keepering regime. Why when Hen harriers nest on grouse moors away from United Utilities land in Bowland they have a much higher failure rate than one would expect and adults “disappear” at 30 times the natural rate.
      Why on my local moors in North Yorkshire Short -eared Owls are now almost gone and the Goshawks went years ago. When the rest of you in the game lobby start to question those estates that are probably responsible when they say “not me gov.” then and only then might we start to listen to you. When Harriers and moorland Peregrines start to succeed without 24hr guards then and only then might we begin to trust you, anything else just doesn’t cut it.

  3. I have to say that I agree with Stewart Abbott. The rest of the Birding/Conservation community seem to be dragging the RSPB along behind them. Yes, strong words from Martin Harper but will the likes of the “shooting industry” or the Mail take a blind bit of notice? I strongly doubt it. It would be better in my view if everyone who cares about the future of our birds of prey got behind Mark’s campaign to ban the worst offenders (Driven Grouse Shoots), maybe then the rest of the shooting industry might take heed!

  4. Mark, They say never start with an apology but this is going to be one. About 7 or 8 years ago (you probably won’t remember this), I was very concerned about the then Conservation Director using the word ‘persecution’ when the RSPB referred to issues on game estates and said so at various meetings. I believed (and would still like to believe) that working together was the way forward. It is now clear that working together is increasingly difficult as the other side doesn’t want to play.

    I now find myself using the word persecution when I read about what is going on out there. So I apologise.

    It is nice to see the RSPB hardening their approach and I am sure that is coming partly from the pressure being placed on them through websites like this. It is also coming as a reaction to the behaviour being shown by elements of the shooting industry. I wonder if they realise that as a PR exercise, this is likely to be a disaster.

    1. Bob – no need to apologise but thank you all the same.

      And you might well find yourself in tune with the blog I have just posted, and maybe with the next one that will appear later this evening too.

  5. I can not see any reason for the honourable people in the GWCT, BASC and the landowners not adopting the version of the Hen Harrier recovery plan being promoted by the RSPB. Currently there are virtually no hen harriers so there can be virtually no impact on their interests.

    Unless they are habitual liars who support the action of criminals?

  6. Martin Harper and Mike Clarke really well done.You have both grasped a nasty nettle and obviously having criticised you both in the past give you both lots of praise for your stand now,feel I cannot praise you enough.

  7. I agree Dennis its very very good to hear, it really is time that RSPB got nasty and played hard ball with these people that have treated them, those of us that care and our protected wildlife with contempt.

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