Bizarre – or what?


There are only a few reasons for this letter to be written and published.

These are my best guesses:

  • it was raining yesterday and Ian Coghill was bored – and presumably The Times didn’t have any decent letters to publish
  • GWCT and the shooting industry are so rattled by the growth of support for the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting (that is supported by best-selling author and naturalist Chris Packham) that they are mounting a campaign against him that is getting more and more desperate every day
  • the thought of putting something in your mouth that isn’t full of lead is anathema to the GWCT Chair

Here is the account in the Guardian by the marvellous Patrick Barkham.




29 Replies to “Bizarre – or what?”

  1. Presumably if Chris Packham had suggested that children (dressed in tweed natch) should pay to eat tadpoles then Mr Coghill wouldn’t have felt the need to put pen to paper?

    After all, CP could then claim then tadpole eating was of great importance to the rural economy, essential for their conservation even? Of course something would need to be done to control the blessed diving beetle larvae, hawkers, emperors, fish and those pesky newts…

    1. Ernest, why not submit your own letter to The Times? To be published you would need to make your points interesting – but that’s how these things work. Best, Andrew

      1. Been there and done that Andrew, off my own back and not at the behest of my employer. But thanks all the same for the condescension.

        I do agree though – your bosses letter was certainly ‘interesting’.

      2. Interesting choice of word perhaps, so ‘interesting’ as opposed to accurate then, thanks for than guidance AG.

  2. Ian Coghill seems more childish than the kids in the programme. Mr Coghill most of us manage to enjoy the – sadly diminished – countryside without wanting to kill off what’s left. Thanks for reminding us which side the Times will always take, despite the majority of its readers not wishing to see the extinction of what’s still surviving.

  3. I see in the latest GWCT newsletter Mr Coghill describes gamekeepers as “conservation heroes”. I can’t help wondering which is more likely: that tadpole eating children will increase the rarity of frogs or that raptor killing gamekeepers will drive the hen harrier to extinction?

    1. I have no brief for gamekeepers of course – but neither do I think eating tadpoles is a good thing to do.

      Maybe there are millions of them, so conservation is not the issue.

      But respect for other creatures surely is.

      1. Do you think CP is actually suggesting that we should all exhort our children to eat tadpoles or rather that he is suggesting that children should be able to pursue their own curiosity and explore nature with whichever of their senses they wish without being excessively supervised and directed by parents, teachers and other well-meaning adults?

  4. G[WC]T need publicity, smacks of desperation?

    We must focus on priorities not irritating distractions because it’s that focus which is causing these episodes, so to repeat the quote ….

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    They are fighting so we are winning, it’s rough and full of toxicity but did we expect a clean fight?

    Have we any update on the requested apology from The Rt [dis]Hon yet?

  5. Doesn’t Coghill realise that April 1st was 2 months ago? Typical bumpkin, always behind the times; typical Times, always rubbish.

  6. I think the point is missed here by Mr Coghill, whether intentionally or not. Chris Packhams argument extolls the idea of being fascinated with the natural world at an early age. He’s not suggesting children should routinely go out and start eating tadpoles, but its all about our connectedness with nature. Mr Coghill clearly doesn’t get it, and shows his inherent lack of connectedness with the natural world. But then his only connection to nature is undoubtedly staring at it down the barrel of a gun…

  7. It’s a good job Ian Coghill wasn’t sitting his English GCSE (or even KS2 SATs) this spring. His complete misunderstanding of the Guardian piece (let alone the gripping passage from the book) would not garner many marks. Luckily, I imagine most people – being far more wise – will find such a bizarre letter ridiculous and it will be counter-productive.

  8. Has anybody seen any direct references to the latest BDGS petition in any of the huntin, fishin, shootin fb pages and media? They can’t afford to make any because to do so would highlight how support has been growing (brilliance on Mark’s part, I would never have thought re-opening a petition would be a good strategy when we are already awash with them, but no it’s worked!), and the wonderful map on the petition site illustrates how the closer you are to a grouse moor they more likely you are not to want it. Contrast this with the childish derision heaped on the BDGS petition previously – who’s laughing now?

  9. Presumably Coghill would prefer that young children be brought up with a love of blasting the hell out of nature? I wonder if Coghill enjoys eating fish eggs?

  10. Chris’ humour, honesty and humanity is an incredible asset to the natural world – those frogs have a chance while he’s around, as do our children but I’m going to take his word on the tadpole eating.

  11. I think it’s disgusting that anyone would eat living creatures like oysters and caviar, don’t you Mr Coghill? Well?

  12. The common snipe is still a snipe but sadly no longer common. Its survival will not be assisted by the idiotic suggestion that grown men shoot live snipe to engender… blah blah blah…

  13. Much ado about very little! Chris Packman is being a little silly, better to let him sink in his own tadpole pool.

  14. This all seems incredibly childish. If the pro shooting/hunting/fishing lobby and the antis don’t learn to work together for conservation then the only loser is wildlife itself. All this negativity and sniping at each other makes me want to leave conservation all together and go and work in an entirely unrelated field.

  15. Rather than making foolish and false comments about Chris Packham, Mr Coghill would do better to put his own house in order and write a letter announcing that, in the light of the continuing blatant use of pole traps on grouse moors, his organisation can no longer support the ironically named Hen Harrier Action Plan. It would at least demonstrate that his “lifelong interest in nature” has at last matured into an interest in protecting it too something that Chris Packham arrived at not long after his experiment in zoophagy.

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