It gets worse, or better, depending which side you are on…

Read this piece in the Guardian by Karl Mathieson.

The YFTB press release:

The government figures show that there were 12 hen harrier nests in England this year of which 6 succeeded and 6 failed.  All 6 of the failures were on RSPB controlled land in Bowland and Geltsdale.  All 6 of the successful nests – which were on or next to grouse moors – had no RSPB involvement.

“The RSPB has been the kiss of death for the hen harrier. The so-called Royal Society for the Protection of Birds faces the inconvenient truth that the gamekeepers it blames for low hen harrier numbers are far better at looking after these birds than it is,” said Ian Gregory of the campaign group You Forgot The Birds.

 

The Daily Telegraph yesterday:

A report by Natural England into the status of hen harriers is set to reveal that RSPB have failed to nurture six nests it was responsible for at Bowland and Geltsdale. The remaining six successful nests – which were on or next to grouse moors – had no RSPB involvement and performed well, the report is expected to say.

“The so-called Royal Society for the Protection of Birds faces the inconvenient truth that the gamekeepers it blames for low hen harrier numbers are far better at looking after these birds than it is. When it comes to protecting birds, these deckchair conservationists are specialists in failure.” (quoting YFTB’s Ian Gregory.

 

Natural England today (in The Guardian):

Natural England spokesman said the Telegraph story was “really based on a completely false premise. There is no report and we wouldn’t criticise the RSPB in any shape or form because they are an important part of the attempt to conserve this rare and important species.” The Telegraph later told the Guardian it had not consulted with Natural England on the story.

According to Natural England, none of the 12 nests was on a grouse moor and all of the unsuccesful (sic) nests were adjacent to grouse moors. The RSPB said it was involved with three of the six successful nests.

 

YFTB is funded by the British grouse industry – they aren’t getting much for their money really are they?

Ban driven grouse shooting – please sign here.

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21 Replies to “It gets worse, or better, depending which side you are on…”

  1. I've tried to pre-empt the clever arguments of the shooting apologists btl, before they get chance to make them. Although it's like playing whack-a-mole with them. You knock down one of their clever false arguments, and another pops up out of another hole. I try and lay out the facts in a clear way, so the public are not misled by the slick clever arguments which follow btl.

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  2. It's unusual to get so many own goals in one match. Shouldn't somebody apologise or at least put the record straight?

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  3. Surely, as I've observed before with stories on this topic, this 'reporting' by the Telegraph not only falls well short of anything approaching competent journalism, but also the IPSO Editor's Code of Conduct. Clause 1 of this code demands that "i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures" and that iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact".

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  4. Wonder if all this nonsense coming out at this time from Grouse people has something to do with Hen Harrier day.If so they are seriously rattled.
    Well done RSPB for protecting some nests but still a pity they cannot get more involved in the Hen Harriers poor numbers in England.The Royal Charter seems a one way street,the Royals can shoot whatever they like but RSPB cannot attack any form of shooting.
    Really poor deal Mike and Martin.
    Mark,absolutely amazed but think you may well tell me on Saturday evening 10,000 is done and dusted.Congratulations on whatever it is anyway because the petition has been a terrific success.

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    1. Dennis, your attack on the RSPB over Hen Harriers is beginning to be almost as bizarre as YFTB!! Will you be at the Sunday gathering to put some questions to Geoff Knott, Head of Nature policy.

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  5. So anyone going to take this up with a press watchdog, or have we decided they are too flaky? Can't expect Mark to do everything; quite concerned that we might be a load of arm-chair grumblers.

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    1. I have made the following complaint on the IPSO website:

      The Telegraph/Javier Espinoza began their recent article as follows: "The RSPB is expected to come under fire in a government report for failing to increase the population of rare birds of prey despite receiving £2 million in funding. A report by Natural England into the status of hen harriers is set to reveal that RSPB have failed to nurture six nests it was responsible for at Bowland and Geltsdale. The remaining six successful nests – which were on or next to grouse moors – had no RSPB involvement and performed well, the report is expected to say."

      This is a deliberately misleading introduction that fails to distinguish between the conjecture of a lobbying group and checked facts, instead simply regurgitating an erroneous press release from lobbying group You Forgot The Birds with either no attempt made to check the facts of this libellous accusation or a wilful ignoring of the truth. In point of fact Natural England have produced no such report. Furthermore the truth is the exact opposite to what the article claims, with Natural England saying the Telegraph article was “really based on a completely false premise. There is no report and we wouldn’t criticise the RSPB in any shape or form because they are an important part of the attempt to conserve this rare and important species.”

      Still further contrary to what the Telegraph article claims, the RSPB was involved in half (3/6) of the successful hen harrier nests this year, not none as the Telegraph - again without checking its facts - implies by writing "The remaining six successful nests – which were on or next to grouse moors – had no RSPB involvement and performed well, the report is expected to say." Even further Natural England has refuted the claim that all the successful nests were on or next to grouse moors by stating that in fact none of the successful nests were on grouse moors, while all those that failed were adjacent to grouse moors. See https://markavery.info/2015/08/05/worse-depending-side/#comments and http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/05/is-rspb-blame-loss-englands-rare-hen-harriers?CMP=twt_environment*gdneco

      This Telegraph article represents a thinly veiled advertisement for the grouse shooting industry full of deliberately misleading information and inaccuracies. I would expect a full retraction from the Telegraph in case any of its readers are not aware of the truth of this issue.

      I encourage others to do the same and all are welcome to adapt the text of my complaint in chasing this up here https://www.ipso.co.uk/oxbxApps/app/complaint1.html?new=true

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      1. Thanks - far more eloquent a submission than I could have managed so basically I copied & pasted your submission and also complained.

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  6. It looks like this year’s successful harrier nest count has finally managed to equal the IQ of most YFTB supporters and spokesmen.

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  7. Richard,that is a bit below the belt but never mind as where my stance is for Hen Harriers I cannot see in any shape or form that is the case from YFTB.
    I would say that your comparison is one of the most ridiculous statements against me ever.
    Regarding Geoff Knott and indeed lots of other RSPB employees I have no problem praising them for the good work they do but why the RSPB top men cannot promote things such as Mark's petition I fail to understand.
    You surely do not expect me to attend a Hen Harrier day event,there is a YFTB event the same day.

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  8. Dennis, I have no doubt that you are a committed conservationist and wish to see hen harriers fully protected.
    YFTB is an organisation dedicated to the demise of the RSPB to protect the interests of their backers. They will take every opportunity to use comments from others to support their anti-RSPB stance, in or out of context. The RSPB are fully supporting HH weekend, some events taking place on their reserves. I just find it saddening when we don't all sing from the same songbook for HH day.

    Hope to see you on Saturday and Sunday.

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  9. Richard,best I do not respond too fully but you may be sure that Mike Clarke and Martin Harper who I suppose are the main ones in charge of policy know exactly how I feel and maybe they would have been better to let me continue criticising in house rather than banning me from doing so,it is really petty to do so over a persons opinion on how they could do more.For certain however a big supporter you are of them they could certainly have done far more over the past two or three years.

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  10. I was wondering if the RSPB itself hasn't made a complaint, and if not then why not. I'm no lawyer but i would imagine that the RSPB would have more than sufficient grounds for sueing the DT for damage to reputation or such; recompense for which would presumably include a financial element which could be put toward hen harrier protection and, perhaps more importantly, a prominent withdrawal of all false claims within the DT which would constitute some sort of moral victory.

    In support of any action the RSPB might be taking, or alternatively in place of any they are not, I have also made a complaint on the IPSO website.

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  11. Thank you Hugh, I have also complained also using a modified form of your wording. I have been driven to speechless fury in the past by this type of misinformation about conservation issues in the Telegraph (particularly relating to bats) and the subsequent polite letters we have written pointing out the inaccuracies are simply pointless as they just don't print them. This is the only way to tackle it.

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    1. Looks like some more anti-RSPB trash journalism from the Torygraph -http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/11791349/Deer-culled-by-RSPB-suffered-slow-deaths.html#disqus_thread

      Doe's anything from YFTB count as 'news' despite when you look at the detail you find its the originator of the story that was at fault by using too small a calibre riffle.

      The CA quote on lead is great and one Im sure you could have fun with Mark: "Sadly we are continually seeing some organisations pushing for a complete lead ammunition ban not because they have environmental concerns but because they are opposed to shooting." Talk about denial.

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