Thank you Tim Bonner, Andy Richardson and Chris Packham

m8ALFD4rG4jR50EoMj_a--6ZDFGIz0oYz3X9zg3FAJoWhen the Countryside Alliance called for the BBC to sack Chris Packham a guy called Andy Richardson started an e-petition asking for the same here.  You can still sign it if you really want to add your name to the 2768 names already there.

But then a ‘Don’t sack Chris Packham’ e-petition sprang up – and you can sign that one too, and add your name to the 81,000+ signatures.

Without this misjudgement by the Countryside Alliance it would not have been possible to contact some of the people who supported Chris (those who asked for updates) and to ask them to

So thanks Tim and Andy for the help in getting the message out there about how awful driven grouse shooting is for wildlife and for the environment. Without your help we wouldn’t be doing quite so well.

And here is the video where Chris thanks his supporters and asks them to take some of these five actions.  Thank you. Chris.


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29 Replies to “Thank you Tim Bonner, Andy Richardson and Chris Packham”

  1. Regardless of their support in Government and the money they can throw at their cause the CA should realise by now they really are a minority group which doesn't represent the the general public or indeed the majority of countryside dwellers. It's nothing more than a mouthpiece for those who are desperate to continue a cruel and outdated lifestyle which should be consigned to history.

    1. Accidental Activist !

      The Countryside Alliance, & also BASC, represent people, like myself & my family, that have the legal right to shoot, hunt & fish on their own Land ! We may well be in a minority, but that does not alter the fact that we have rights !!!
      What you say about countryside dwellers is a whole different what were once small peaceful rural communities are now becoming swamped by the urban sprawl!
      You, and others like you, would do well to remember that it is the urban population that has now spread out in to the countryside - and not the other way around !
      Further more, There are so many more important things like you & other activists could be protesting about - such as Child poverty around the world, Children working in factories so you and your mates have cheap clothes...and even Child prostitution !
      The fact that you and your ilk choose to protest about game shooting etc is done purely on glass/political grounds and has nothing to do with cruelty what so Ever!!
      Chris packham can not be allowed to continue to work for the BBC presenting "wildlife programs" as he is not capable of putting forward an UN-biased commentary. The fact that he is actively encouraging his supporters, so obviously viewers of the BBC's programs, to join activist groups such as the legue against cruel sports makes his position even more untenable !!!

      1. Phil,you have several things wrong.
        Lots of us real country people that you lot insist on calling us are against wildlife crime.
        None of us have ever said we are against the legal activity of shooting only the illegal culprits.
        You have taken the decision that we do not protest about crime against children which you quote three things.So where have you got the information that we have not protested about those things.
        Oh yes I have lived in the country all my life and that sort of thing comes up frequently from people who have no answer to the fact that blood sports are not sport just activities by bloodthirsty people.

        1. Should of course have added that those people that the hunting shooting lot refer to rather nastily as townies have a perfect right to have whatever thoughts they have on illegal killing,it is called democracy and jolly good luck to those townies they live in the same world as the rest of us.
          Rather strangely the hunting shooting fraternity do not seem able to recognise they outnumber us by about a hundred to one.
          Worse still those supposed countryman hunting shooting types often come from the same b***** towns that those they despise come from.

      2. Phil you seem to be a somewhat confused individual. Perhaps to help you clarify your thoughts you might consider the following:

        1) No-one has suggested that you have no rights! However, just as for everybody else, your rights have certain limits, known as 'The Law' and you don't have the right to break the law. One of the laws in this country makes it illegal to kill or otherwise persecute various species of wild animal including birds of prey. However, much you like shooting you do not have the right to kill hen harriers or other birds of prey which is what Chris Packham was protesting about.
        2) You seem to believe there is some qualifying period of residence (years? generations?) in the countryside before someone has a right to have a say in what goes on in the countryside but I m afraid that is simply rubbish. We all have the right to hold and express opinions irrespective of where we live and town dweller's views on conservation issues are just as valid as a country persons. By the same token country dwellers are entirely free to weigh into debates about urban issues. Furthermore, the point being made by Accidental Activist is that the stance taken by the CA does not even represent all countrymen and women including large numbers of people with entirely rural occupations.
        3) You suggest that there are more important issues for us to be protesting about. Well, maybe there are, but what gives you the idea that a person can only protest about one thing or that the existence of these 'more important issues' makes this one unimportant? It is very likely that many of the people commenting on this site are strongly and actively concerned about child poverty but since this blog is about nature conservation those concerns will tend to be expressed elsewhere.
        4) Your suggestion that protest about the behaviour of the shooting industry is purely on class/political grounds is groundless and simply a red herring. The fact is that shooting is associated with many harmful behaviours including illegal killing of predators, release of large numbers of non-native species into the countryside, damage to upland areas through excessive heather burning, installation of roads etc, dumping substantial quantities of lead into the environment... The fact that you seek to suggest that concern about these things is based on class envy suggests you don't actually have any valid arguments in support of these things.
        5) Chris Packham is perfectly entitled to express his own views and no-one is under any misapprehension about them being his views and not those of the BBC.
        6) The BBC in any case is not required to be impartial on each and every topic - which you can confirm if you read the BBC's editorial guidelines. If for example the BBC were to make a documentary about child abuse would you expect it to condemn such abuse outright or would you expect it to sit on the fence and perhaps even give the abuser the opportunity to put his side of the 'argument'? I think the answer is clear. By the same token, Chris Packham condemning the ILLEGAL persecution of hen harriers is not inconsistent with the BBC Charter. Consequently your view that he should be fired is entirely without merit.

      3. There are so many more important things like (sic) you & other wildlfe abusers could be doing with their time than your pointless, cowardly activities.

      4. I was born in the country and still have contact with several people who do wildfowling and some shooting, and I greatly respect them, but over the last 20 years or so I have become more and more angry about the people who violate private land, and seem to be overlooked by the law.

  2. I didn't sign the petition to save Chris's job, because to me it seemed unnecessary. The man is a giant in the field of conservation and quite frankly if he's under threat of extinction then the whole movement is well and truly screwed. The attack on him by CA was mischievous and speculative and should have been laughed off. A bit more confidence and self-belief is what's required.

    1. The two opposing petitions were arguing for and against the proposition that Chris Packham should be fired from the BBC. The BBC is not part of the conservation movement and I don't think it can be taken as read that Chris' importance or otherwise in the field of conservation would have been a deciding factor in their decision or that the CA threat would have been laughed off in the absence of the counter petition. Given the BBC's current degree of nervousness in the face of the forthcoming Charter renewal, I think it is quite conceivable that the organisation might have been bounced into sacking Packham had there not been a clear and emphatic show of support for him. Fortunately 80,000 or so people did not reason the same way you did.

  3. As I've said before it was a very shortsighted action. Perhaps to show fighting spirit?

    That aside, like the above post, and obvious from the number of signatories, the CA and the SGA do not represent those who manage and hunt game, stalk deer, manage land on small scales, wildfowlers etc. They are outspoken but that is different.

    I'd harbour an educated guess that attitudes within the grass roots of game hunting participants in all their forms from the romantic fowlers to the tweed aspiring rear and release syndicates is changing. But you wont hear that from the CA

  4. No one should underestimate the effectiveness of CA. You can' t say 'regardless of their support in government and their money'. That's precisely what makes them so formidable. They are a well organised lobby group and are accomplished propagandists. Their strategy of presenting a wide range of rural issues allows them to sugar-coat their central and very unpalatable pill - killing wildlife for recreation. Who's going to argue against reducing rural poverty or improving rural broadband? Championing such issues make them appear to be reasonable people. Having said that, they do have weakness. Tim Bonner has drawn a line in the sand and is not prepared to concede on any issue. Losing a single battle could cost him the war.

    1. Lol! (sorry for the text speak) Your comment and Mark's blog brightened my day. Never mind CA, try again....

  5. Hoisted by their own petard
    One almost feels sorry for the shooting/fieldsport fraternity, they can be 'got at' for so many reasons and from so many factions, it is no wonder they are in a 'spin' (no pun intended) desperately trying to protect their interests. Their real undoing however, is their mendacity - whatever they say or do will be doubted.

  6. I had some interesting jousting with this Richardson fellow. When challenged to provide details of anybody of repute who supported brood management of Hen Harriers he (or possibly one of his acolytes - they all merge into one ignorant mulch) proposed Steve Redpath of Aberdeen University. He has a long pedigree of looking at and publishing on conflicts in conservation. I looked him up on the Aberdeen University web-site and e-mailed him asking about his position. He is a very forthcoming and open individual and was happy to explain his position to me - which was nothing like being a vocal proponent of brood management. Which is not to say that he is opposed but that he would not support anything that was not rigorously tested in a scenario devoid of criminal behaviour with a Hen Harrier population at, or close to, the carrying capacity of the environment.

    I am reading the book he has recently co-edited, called "Conflicts in Conservation - navigating towards solutions". The tone is rather more conciliatory towards the killers than I would agree with but the breadth of the expertise contributing to the book is pretty impressive - and it is very readable for an academic tome.

    1. Simon, I suggest you are understating Steve Redpath's support for the idea of a brood management scheme. After all, he is principally responsible for developing the concept; he explains it in more detail on the Hawk and Owl Trust website: My understanding is that, like most other members of the Defra group that drafted the Hen Harrier Recovery Plan, he sees it as a fundamental part of the conflict resolution process and would be keen to get cracking with a trial forthwith.

      As regards other raptor ecologists of repute who would commend the principle of a BMS trial, I believe that Arjun Amar, formerly of the RSPB would be one. And another is Professor Ian Newton, who is quite rightly held in especially high regard by Mark and is quoted in his 'Behind the Binoculars' book as a supporter, albeit resignedly, of the more extreme idea of a quota scheme: “If we had one or two pairs on all grouse moors we would be better off, and would probably not need to translocate any if moor managers were allowed to destroy any extra nests above their quota."

    2. Steve is very much the lead academic advocate for hen harrier brood removal - he introduced it into the academic literature and then into working group discussions. It wouldn't be on the agenda without Steve's papers on the subject. I suspect he sees intensifying driven grouse moor management - and all the damage it is causing - as a given, a legitimate land use, and the risk of having excessive hen harriers as the problem. The problem can be fixed either by killing hen harriers of dissuading them from nesting, by either disturbing them or removing their broods.

      Most people with a rounded view would see intensifying driven grouse shooting as the root of the problem - not hen harriers (and other birds of prey).

      To insist that this is 'just a trial', and therefore acceptable, is nonsense. It is a trial of something - widespread, sustained, removal of hen harriers - which is unacceptable. Once the 'trial' is finished, to make it worthwhile, you'd need to apply brood removal at scale, in the long-term. You can't simply stop it some years the line as you'd be back to square one - only you'd have more hen harriers attempting to nest and getting shot for doing so. Hen harrier brood removal is not worth trialling as it's not a viable, long-term solution - reducing grouse moor management intensity is the only solution. None of Steve's academic efforts consider this option.

      1. Steve Redpath may be the strongest proponent of a brood management scheme, but he is not quite the pioneer in this field as you suggest.

        In conceiving and promoting BMS I am sure he would be the first to acknowledge that he has been developing, albeit in non-lethal terms, the idea of a quota scheme first proposed by Dick Potts of the then Game Conservancy Trust. (1998) Ibis, 140, 76–88. Incidentally I note you are silent on the apparent support of Ian Newton, distinguished ecologist, former Chairman of the RSPB and notable for his rounded view of upland matters, for such a scheme.

        Furthermore, the idea of temporarily moving young harriers to aviaries during the breeding season, which is a key feature of BMS, was canvassed in the Report of the UK Raptor Working Group (2000), chaired by Professor (as he now is) Colin Galbraith, now Chairman of the RSPB in Scotland. (; para

        BMS may or may not represent part of the solution to the grouse/hen harrier conflict; only a scientifically rigorous trial would determine its potential. What can not be in doubt – and has never been challenged, as far as I’m aware, either by the RSPB or any other conservation organisation – is that a managed approach to the conflict would result in more harriers both on grouse moors and nationally. That must surely be in the public interest. Reducing the intensity of grouse moor management to support walked up days only, if that is what you are proposing, would certainly not be.

        1. Lazywell - I spoke to Ian at the Bird Fair but it was a private conversation. You'll notice he hasn't said anything in public on this subject - except in my interview of him in Behind the Binoculars (which all should read to get a fuller picture than you and Philip Merricks give of it (and because it is an interesting book anyway!)). Funny isn't it? People keep mentioning Ian's views but he doesn't. Hmmm.

          1. Well, I had a private conversation with Ian at the RSPB AGM. You in turn will notice that he hasn't said anything in public to suggest he resiles from what he said in your interview. Happy to quote the relevant passage in full, though I don't think it changes the meaning in any way: "Really, I think you are left having to accept a third proposal: that harrier densities could be limited on grouse moors, to levels that allow some Hen Harriers to survive but allow driven grouse shooting to survive too. The idea was to move the eggs or chicks of some harriers, but the difficulty was in finding landowners willing to accept them. But I think that would be a potential solution. If we had one or two pairs on all grouse moors we would be better off, and would probably not need to translocate any if moor managers were allowed to destroy any extra nests above their quota."

            It looks to me as though your interview may have been conducted before BMS became such a hot topic. Indeed you may well have encouraged me to buy a copy of the book under false pretences (; but I won’t hold it against you as I was happy to add it to my burgeoning library of your works.

  7. Thanks for coming to speak to us in Hebden Bridge last night Mark. Your message was positive and inspirational. Something as wrong as driven grouse shooting has to come to an end. Perhaps CA have inadvertently helped that to happen sooner rather than later.

  8. RE Phils comments - It seem to me that increasingly the term 'Countryman' is being used to describe someone who supports bloodsports. Nothing more and nothing less. The term 'Townie' now just describes someone who doesn't support bloodsports. No blurring of lines and no reference to things that I would consider to describe both of these types much more accurately.

    Personally, this is another indication to me that the pro bloodsports minority are feeling the pinch even more. Instead of the small 'anti' brigade they are used to facing up to, they are aware that many many more dislike their activity, but they can't face calling their own countryside dwelling neighbours 'antis' as it would almost be an admission of defeat.

  9. I've just checked the petition to keep CP at the Beeb and it has now been closed, but stands at a very encouraging 81,813. However, I went to look at andy Richardson's petition and it is still open although it began a day before the keep CP one. Given that it only has 2,773 (ha,ha,ha) signatures not likely to make much difference, but a strange anomaly worth noting. I don't know what criteria uses to close petitions, but seem to have been applied inconsistently here.


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