End wildlife crime – a messsage to all MPs

via wikimedia commons
via wikimedia commons

Tomorrow is the Rally for Nature organised by the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and the League Against Cruel Sports working together – for the first time ever? The rally is also supported by Butterfly Conservation, the Mammal Society and The Ramblers.

If you have not yet done so, please contact your MP through this handy webpage and call on them to do more for wildlife and for their political party to give nature a better deal if they form part of the next government.

On 10 August this year, in pouring rain, hundreds of us protested against the illegal killing of Hen Harriers on Hen Harrier Day.

I say: ‘Hen Harriers don’t have MPs and don’t get to vote – they need us to call on politicians to do far more to end wildlife crime.

There is a very simple solution to the criminal killing of protected birds such as Hen Harriers by grouse shooting interests – let us ban driven grouse shooting. Tomorrow was chosen for this rally because it is the penultimate day of the grouse shooting season – we would have a better upland environment if grouse shooting never reopened.

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11 Replies to “End wildlife crime – a messsage to all MPs”

  1. I hope your day on London is enjoyable. Regrettably I would not now be able to join you as I'm afraid today I have left the RSPB after many years of membership. Regrettable because over the years we have done some good work with the RSPB on the farms both with the farmer Allience and on the HLS schemes but unfortunately I can't be associated with the LACS in any way nor with an organisation that cooperates with it. I've never considered myself as particularly radical in being pro shooting and have always tried to strike a balance between pro shooting and conservationist views as both are relevant but this increasingly confrontational agenda of late from the RSPB and other parties has I'm afraid led me to the conclusion that my previous attitudes were naive.

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    1. How sad – another casualty to the current unprecedented polarisation in conservation circles. This was a theme Andy Clements touched on in his opening words to the BTO conference. It is rather depressing to see mainstream conservation losing moderate support in the process.

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      1. Keith - what are you on about? Don't be sad. Three NGOs working together on nature conservation and against wildlife crime.

        If Songbird Survival were ever to become mainstream conservation then we really would have something to worry about - is that what you meant?

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    2. Julian, I'm sure that you echo the thoughts of a number of people, some of whom will be RSPB members. For my part, I still feel that 'increasingly confrontational' is a label that can be attached to elements of both sides of the argument whereas, currently, 'illegal' can only be attached to one. It will never be a level playing field, but let's at least have a legal one.

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      1. In Britain, there is a longstanding presumption of innocence in law. So illegal can only ever be attached to an act that has been evidenced to contravene the law.

        In this case, there is no evidence at all of any illegal activity towards hen harriers by grouse shooting interests in England

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        1. Monro - yes you said that before and it's still nonsense. You may be confusing the difference between evidence of what is happening, evidence of which group of people is doing it and evidence of which individuals are doing it. But then again, you may just be having a laugh.

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    3. It's a shame you feel that way, Julian. By 'confrontational' perhaps you're upset that the RSPB is confronting those engaged in wildlife crime, by securing convictions? I say, Good on you, RSPB. A civilised society ought to confront illegality. If you're referring to the RSPB's call for grouse moors to be subjected to a licensing scheme, well this seems fair to be, not confrontational. Or perhaps you feel the RSPB's call for the 'brood management' component of the hen harrier plan to be subject to public consultation? Quite how this suggestion is confrontational escapes me to be frank.

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  2. I see Prince William , speaking at the World Bank, stated yesterday that ""It is wrong that children growing up in countries vulnerable to wildlife crime are losing their birthright." (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30385708). I expect he will be joining the campaign to ban driven grouse shooting on his return then, no doubt concerned by all the British kids growing up never having seen a hen harrier!

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  3. Well I have many times considered giving up my membership of the RSPB. I am now glad I didn't. They are at last remembering why they exist- The Royal Society for the PROTECTION OF BIRDS. No doubt people now using the word "confrontational" would rather the RSPB continued with the endless meetings, negotiation, conciliation and failed "partnerships" it has indulged the hunting fraternity with over the last few years. Well I rather they didn't!

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  4. Thank you for your comments on this, I wasn't expecting any as I rather reflected that my post was slightly self indulgent and rather regretted pushing the submit button after the event. I stand by my views on this and I hope that I represent a moderate view as I can see both sides of the argument but I feel that this new focus on wildlife crime is unconstructive and confrontational, at these intensive levels, when consideration is given to the relatively low levels which occur in comparison to the good work done by the majority in the moderate camp on both sides. There is an element which in my opinion has focused on birds of prey and keepers as the "soft underbelly" of the legitimate shooting majority in an attempt to discredit shooting in general. The recent alignment of the RSPB with the LACS (who have no conservation agenda ) I'm afraid reinforces my view on this.

    On a positive note whether I am in or out of the RSPB will make no difference to my conservation aims on my own farm and which I fully intend to continue with while respecting both birds of prey and other people's opinions.

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  5. Julian, I just wonder why you say it is "unconstructive and confrontational" to focus on wildlife crime. For who exactly is it "unconstructive and confrontational"? Would you use these adjectives to describe a focus on any other crime? You describe these crimes as being of a relatively low level. Do you really think every wildlife crime is reported? Have you any statistics to back this up? I feel they are probably the tip of the iceberg, its a guess I know but so is your statement.
    The answer to this is quite simple. There is no need for any confrontation. The landowners and the shooting organisations just need to prove that they will no longer accept any illegal killing of protected species by their employees and members, and that they will help ensure that anyone who commits such a crime is bought to justice. Of course they won't, they have had a better idea. Lets cull pine martens!

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