Dear Amanda

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) adult female bringing in prey to nest (shrew), Sutherland, Scotland
Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) adult female bringing in prey to nest (shrew), Sutherland, Scotland

‘If we let the hen harrier in, we will soon have nothing else. That is why we need this brood management plan’ – Amanda Anderson, Director, Moorland Association


Dear Amanda

Could you please give the following police forces a list of your members who are not ‘letting’ Hen Harriers onto their moors:

  • Cleveland Police
  • Cumbria Constabulary
  • Derbyshire Constabulary
  • Dyfed-Powys Police
  • Greater Manchester Police
  • Lancashire Constabulary
  • North Wales Police
  • North Yorkshire Police
  • Northumbria Police
  • Police Scotland
  • South Yorkshire Police
  • Staffordshire Police
  • West Yorkshire Police
  • and any other relevant forces

That should speed things up a bit, thank you.

In the meantime, the best way to ‘let’ Hen Harriers back into the North York Moors National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Peak District National Park, the North Pennines AONB, the Forest of Bowland AONB and the Lake District National Park is to sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting. It’s nearing 78,000 signatures and the future of intensive grouse shooting will be debated in parliament if it reaches 100,000 signatures. Amanda, thanks for your help.



27 Replies to “Dear Amanda”

  1. I’d love to know what she bases this on. I can only assume she’s personally overseen a detailed, long-term ecological survey conducted by a team of independent ecologists, meticulously studying a carefully selected range of grouse moors with varying populations of Hen Harriers to see how the population of this particular species has impacted on the biodiversity of each one.

  2. After al she may or may not have heard yesterday at Hen Harrier Day in The Peak Amanda said this? Hard to fathom unless she had seen the light & is now working with us from within?

  3. I can’t really see her remaining in her role for that much longer but, let’s just imagine she does; it’s going to be priceless watching her trying to explain that line to a Select Committee.

    1. Be careful what you wish for Jim she replaced the utterly odious Gillibrand. Mind you he made a complete ass of himself far more frequently.
      Sorry I missed many friends and colleagues at Edale but had decided to go to Saltholm far fewer people but still getting the message out thanks to Blanaid, Martin Harper and a relatively silent but very moving John Olley. Well done to all who attended all and any of the events.

  4. What a slip of the tongue! Brilliant response, Mark. Her’s, and the H&OT’s, only way out is to refute the article for mis-reporting. If it is correct then the H&OT are guilty of collaborating with criminal activity and have abandoned all integrity because any artificially reared harriers that find their way back to a grouse moor will be killed as usual. Small wonder the RSPB pulled out of this can of worms!

    1. I,m hoping the RSPB release their annual Bird crime statistics this week instead of waiting until september.

  5. 78K! We now need less than 500 signatures a day on average. Yesterday’s total was 2598 signatures, the day before 1924. So far today it’s 1168 with 7 hours to go.

      1. I’m yet to embark, Lyn, but will be getting stuck in over the course of the week as time allows. Very much looking forward to it, I suspect it’ll be a cover-to-cover session once started.

  6. Strange how so many upland species, including red grouse, managed to survive in the presence of healthy numbers of hen harriers for tens of thousands of years. It’s an eco-system and hen harriers are an essential part of keeping it healthy. Predators only damage an eco-system when they are released into one of which they are not a natural part, e.g. mink in the UK, domestic cats in New Zealand and rats in lots of places. I really struggle with the idea that anyone, Amanda Anderson included, could find this difficult to understand.

    1. They don’t struggle with it, it simply doesn’t fit into their business model of destroying anything that gets in the way of them making a few quid and their odious friends from their bestial fun

  7. Well, the petition has just cruised through 78,000 (at 16.53) and when I looked was running at about a signature a minute. With a few more error-ridden pro-shooting articles giving much-needed publicity to our cause, the usual fuss in the media on the in-glorious 12th, protests by the citizens of Hebden Bridge, etc and I calculate there’s a good chance that 100,000 will be cracked during the Bird Fair (or even earlier). If so I hope it’s announced over the tannoy – now that would raise a cheer! Hope it happens when I’m there on Saturday.

  8. The petition is at nearly 45,000 more signatures than the last petition finished at (and I suspect it will pass that mark before the end of the day), so quietly confident that the 100,000 target will be met and passed given that we’ve still got more than 40 days to go. However, to make that a guaranteed cert and to really smash it and make selection for parliamentary debate that much more likely would still be wonderful if the big players who don’t have their hands tied as much as the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts etc just let rip and asked their members to consider signing the petition. That’s Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth and the Green Parties. Anyone of them I believe could add tens of thousands of signatures virtually overnight. If they start seeing grouse moors as not ‘just’ an animal welfare issue or the illegal killing of raptors (and I suspect they have), but the wider environmental and ecological disaster that it is – for shooting some birds for fun – then that will also help keep momentum up after the petition ends if it then ‘comes on their radar’ permanently. As the League Against Crule Sports claims a million hectares of Scotland, and the Moorland Association says 850,000 acres of England are grouse moors that’s one hell of a lot of land and its wildlife and communities affected, how can they justify not being involved? I have just been on the Greenpeace UK page and contacted then via their campaigns enquiry email form – stressing the points above and putting in a link to the animal aid grouse video. It’s excellent because it stresses all the pertinent points. If as many people as possible do the same, and paste in any links to similar videos, reports, posts from Raptor Persecution UK etc they might just be persuaded to give the petition a similar level of support that it got from League Against Cruel Sports and now Animal Aid. Nothing to loose and perhaps by now the publicity that has been generated will make Greenpeace UK realise this is not a parochial issue. Same points go for FoE and the Green Parties of course, just think Greenpeace is priority.

  9. The problem is that shooting in Britain is more and more about numbers and daily bags, pandering to the competitive instincts of those who can still afford to participate in this activity. Apparently it is no longer sufficient to report back to your city chums that you had a good day on the moors. You have to have shot more than they did. I fear that this is what is turning the British countryside into an intensively farmed game-bird rearing enterprise at the expense of anything that threatens maximum outputs.

  10. Amanda, welcome to the world of birding. Put down your gun, pick up a telescope and enjoy what a hen harrier in one piece looks like!!

  11. Mark, has anyone said what would happen in the following situation? Hen Harrier eggs removed from Grouse Moors as part of the action plan. Reared in captivity. Released on lowland areas. They decide they don’t like it and fly on to Grouse Moors where they predate Grouse. What then? Thanks.

    1. Robin – yes, they get shot as per usual! Well spotted! I told you it was a plan for Grouse Moor Owners not for Hen Harriers didn’t I?

  12. Perhaps we need to tag the keepers as well as the HHs then when they come within half a mile of each other an alert is triggered?

  13. So the Moorland Association admit that there members are killing protected raptors and the quote from the telegraph shows that the GWCT think folk are still killing harriers. The hard evidence from the field is that harriers are still being killed. Only the gamekeeping lackies deny it (well its there time in court).

    Why are the HOT still in bed with the DEFRA plan? Do they take the word of the gamekeepers over the word of their employers (and discount the hard facts from this seasons incidents)?

    “Surprising, since he represents a pro-shooting organisation, Andrew Gilruth, director of communications at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), agrees that gamekeepers have killed hen harriers in the past. “We have to be honest,” he says. “In 1998 the GWCT published a paper stating that the primary reason for the failure of hen harrier numbers to recover is that they are being suppressed by gamekeepers. I don’t have any problems with putting my hands up and saying that is probably still the issue.””

    Kill the plan, back the ban.

    1. So why was Gilruth filling his Twitter feed with snide comments about the visitor centre at Rainham all weekend and making out no-one was there on Saturday? Odious man…

      1. They have no “facts” on their side…so make something up or exaggerate! For example the 350 reported at the Edzell keepers march… was a realistic statement- until they showed aerial photography of the march…. being generous, I am dammed if I can count more than 150…and that probably includes the dogs. Its not a very good “Where’s Wally?” picture….they stand out clearly in the deserted street… Laid bare again.

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