You’ll remember, perhaps, that the Countryside Alliance complained about the RSPB to the Charity Commission and got told to sling their hooks?
‘Your central complaint is that the RSPB has misused data and made unfounded allegations in their Birdcrime Report. Having examined the issues raised and met with the trustees, we have concluded that we have not found the RSPB has breached our guidelines on Campaigning and Political Activity by Charities. The Charity Commission therefore does not uphold your complaint.’.
That seems pretty clear then. But the Countryside Alliance, cruelly known as the ‘Countryside are liars’ by some (not me), don’t seem to be able to read. Unless misquoted by Third Sector (a slightly dull organ in my opinion, far too dull to misquote anyone), under a headline that says it all ‘Charity Commission rejects two complaints about the RSPB‘, Adrian Blackmore, of the Countryside Alliance says, in response to the Charity Commission’s decision. “We shall continue to monitor everything the RSPB says very closely to ensure they do not make further unsubstantiated claims.”. Errr – which ones were they then, Adrian? Boots on t’other foot, I think. The Countryside Alliance has its own version of recent history.
There’s little that we can teach the Countryside Alliance about unsubstantiated claims.
Their website still says, about the shooting of two Hen Harriers at Dersingham Bog in October 2007: ‘The notorious incident in question was at Sandringham and turned out to be a work of fiction discounted by the police.’ whereas the Crown Prosecution Service were quoted, at the time, in the Guardian as saying, ‘The bodies of the hen harriers have not been found and there is no forensic or ballistic evidence. Witnesses also heard unexplained shooting in the area before the three suspects said they were present at the scene, so other people cannot be ruled out. The three suspects, who were interviewed by police, all denied that the birds were killed by them.
The question of whether cartridges containing lead shot were used in breach of environmental protection regulations was considered, but as the bodies of wildfowl which were shot had been removed from the scene by the time the police arrived, it is not possible to say if this was the case. The three suspects denied any breach of the regulations.‘ which is not remotely the same. The Countryside Alliance has it’s own version of history.
Also, you may remember, dear reader, that the Countryside Alliance responded to the science of lead in game meat by saying that there is more lead in chocolate than in game shot with lead. This brought a very witty and amusing rebuke from the Food Standards Agency Chief Scientist as follows, ‘Don’t shoot your chocolate Santa
Thanks for your comments on lead-shot game, especially for bringing to my attention the claim that ‘pound-for-pound there is more lead in chocolate than game’. There is absolutely no justification for such a claim. The recent EFSA Scientific Opinion [http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/1570.pdf], which includes data submitted to EFSA by member states including the UK, makes clear that the mean levels for game are much higher than for chocolate.
In our risk assessment, the average values for lead were 0.195 mg/kg lead in wild deer and for game birds it was 1.87 mg/kg. This is 2 – 22 times the average levels of lead in chocolate and chocolate products (0.083 mg/kg; EFSA opinion on lead). Data from the paper by Pain et al. (referenced in the enquiry) were considered and included in the Agency’s risk assessment.
There is, of course, no need to eat lead-shot game, or chocolate for that matter, as part of a balanced diet. But you are far more likely to be harmed by the levels of saturated fat and sugars in chocolate than by its lead content – unless you prefer your chocolate Santa also to have been used for target practice.’.
Any Big Garden Birdwatch records submitted by the Countryside Alliance should be closely examined before being accepted.