- five MPs were treated to a day’s shooting by BASC, to the value of £772 each. The five MPs were the chair of the all-party shooting and conservation (ho! ho!) group, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP (Con, Cotswolds), Bill Wiggin MP (Con, North Herefordshire), Sir Edward Garnier (Con, Harborough, former Solicitor General), Graham Brady MP (Con, Altrincham and Sale West) and Mark Spencer MP (Con, Sherwood). Although the Morning Star seems to think that they went grouse shooting, since the gift is registered as having been received on 17 December this is unlikely – BASC wouldn’t take them shooting grouse in the close season, so I guess they were popping away at Pheasants. I don’t think this is such a terrible thing – it’s the things we don’t know about that are worse.Although if any of these gents were my MP I’d be writing to ask them about it and their views on raptor persecution, lead shot etc.
- the Defra non-plan for Hen Harriers, welcomed by the RSPB, is reported on on the other side of the Atlantic here.
- the Hen Harrier has won Countryfile conservation success story of the year for being brave about its low numbers and for having its plight better publicised than ever before. Chris Packham says ‘It’s a wonderful species that is in dire straits solely due to human intervention – something that is wholly unacceptable.‘.
- Defra, in answer to constituents writing to their MPs, is saying that ministers are looking at the issue of lead shot and that it is a serious ‘debate’ and ministers are looking at the issue closely. What debate? Defra have an expert report which they are suppressing from the public – and they have to decide what to do about it. Where’s the debate? Oh, they mean they are being shouted at by the shooting lobby, I guess.
- SNH call for ‘old wives’ to tell their tales about predation. In a bizarre publication presumably intended to placate the unscienced side of every environmental argument, a piece of work argues that local knowledge has similar standing to scientific studies – it seems. This is just gobbledygook of the worst order. Have a look at the discussion of this document and see what a pile of nonsense it is. And a minister spent her time launching it rather than doing something useful! Horrendous! Please send any daft ideas you have about how the laws of the universe work, marking them ‘Local Knowledge’ to Aileen McLeod. She will be particularly interested in views such as ‘The Earth is flat because we’d fall off it if it really were a sphere’, ‘The Earth is still and the sun goes round it because otherwise we’d feel the wind on our faces and anyway, everyone can see the Sun coming up every morning – it’s obviously moving’ and especially ‘There are too many [fill in the blank with any predatory species] and they are wiping out [fill in the black with any other species] and I know because I live in the countryside and shoot things because I love them so much’. Don’t tell Defra about this – they’ll say they’ll use ‘local knowledge’ as the reason, or lack of reason, to ban lead shot.