Just someone’s anecdote

By Andrew Gray (local userpage) (p1140372) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Andrew Gray (local userpage) (p1140372) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You remember that the NFU President was quoted by Farmers Weekly as saying that there are ‘10 times more ground-nesting birds in the Gloucestershire area since the cull started‘? Well, I ‘phoned up the NFU Press Office and what sounded like a nice young man told me that this was based on anecdotal evidence.

No, certainly not on a survey at all.

The NFU President had heard this from some farmers and it applied to some birds.

It’s good to have got that straight.

Meanwhile, the ASA tell me that they will consider a complaint against the Moorland Association and BASC over what I consider to be their misleading ‘misinfographic’.



6 Replies to “Just someone’s anecdote”

  1. Thanks for taking that forward….myths need to be dispelled.

    And sadly we will now be able to repeat that the NFU have admitted their facts are nothing but anecdote.

    We should use the well trodden PR track of repeating it loudly and frequently.

  2. They think that evidence is something they want to happen. Measuring things is so yesterday.

  3. Sorry, I think, in relation to this story that we should all stop using the word ‘evidence’ altogether, even if it is attached to ‘anecdotal’.

    NFUS has presented no evidence at all, its a story.

    If a member had incidentally counted birds while about their work and noted a change then perhaps this could be classed as anecdotal evidence. All we have here is fluff, and calling it any kind of evidence gives it undeserved gravitas.

    The language of the debate is important and we need to avoid the other side devaluing our words.

  4. In the past two decades on one block of 100 ha we have a tenfold increase in sets due to milder winters mainly but also possibly due to the changing nature of the woodlands on that block due to increased browsing by deer which has led to a mid and upper canopy structure more suitable to badgers foraging needs. This has definitely provided a mass of anecdotal evidence. Rabbits warrens have been displaced, ground nesting birds are now confined to those species which nest in open spaces (skylark mainly) with those who use hedge or woodland edges now very infrequent, partridges, wild pheasant etc. There is no doubt in my mind that the increased foraging activity of what is now a very established and successful population of at least ten sets on 250 acres has had an effect although without any data its hard to ascertain how great an influence they have had in relation to other factors such as land use changes and cropping patterns but it would be very naïve to suggest that they have had no effect on other species.

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