Elsewhere in the media: Moorland Association admits criminality?

In a slightly bizarre piece by Jonathan Leake in Yesterday’s Sunday Times the Moorland Association’s Amanda Anderson, last seen at the back of the crowd at the Hen Harrier Day event at Edale, was quoted as follows,

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

Ah, that’s why there are no Hen Harriers on grouse moors in England – they aren’t ‘let in’.  That’s why there are practically no Hen Harriers nesting on grouse moors across the UK – they aren’t ‘let in’.  It’s one person’s hobby ‘not letting in’ everyone else’s wildlife.  It’s nice to get that confirmed by the Moorland Association Director herself.

Defra gave the criminals in the grouse shooting industry (it’s not an industry – it’s a hobby) what they wanted in their Hen Harrier Inaction Plan but why reward the criminals?  Why did Defra side with the criminals? Why is Defra still siding with the criminals?

Why is Defra not producing a proper plan for Hen Harrier conservation which involves clamping down on wildlife crime by their criminal friends who practise grouse shooting as a hobby?

Over 77,000 people – nice people, normal people, tax-paying people, voting people, generally law-abiding people – have signed an e-petition calling for an end to the ridiculous hobby of intensive grouse shooting – a hobby that is underpinned by criminality.  Please sign it too and put Defra on the spot in a debate in the Westminster parliament.

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18 Replies to “Elsewhere in the media: Moorland Association admits criminality?”

  1. The whole brood meddling scheme is a tacit admission by the shooting industry* that they have been bumping off hen harriers illegally and systematically. Given that no-one doubts that Hen Harriers are perfectly capable of rearing their own broods (if, that is they are not shot, poisoned or otherwise interfered with during the process), the only conceivable reason for including it in the plan is as a quid pro quo to the grouse shooters: "we will stop killing Hen Harriers if we are allowed to remove their broods to be released elsewhere". How else could it contribute to an increase in HH numbers? Amanda Anderson has unwittingly acknowledged this a little more openly.

    * With regards to your characterisation of grouse shooting as a silly hobby and not an industry I would agree in the sense that 'industry' implies something that contributes positively to the public good and grouse shooing does not deserve to be so-dignified. However, I would add that there are many pastimes that non aficionados might describe as 'silly hobbies' but train-spotting, morris dancing, making model cathedrals out of old ice lolly sticks and a host of other eccentric things that people do for their own entertainment are - unlike grouse shooting - entirely harmless. Grouse shooting deserves to be called an industry in the wholly negative sense that it uses industrial methods to modify vast areas of the countryside for the benefit of a tiny minority and to the detriment of the many.

  2. Just waiting for Amanda Anderson to claim she has been misquoted, otherwise that reads like a confession to me!

      1. Well she might have been, slightly, but it doesn't explain the Freudian slip.
        What she implied was that moorland owners, presumably members of The Moorland Association let a couple of Hen Harriers breed and then kill the rest. Except they don't even do that they just kill all of them.
        From the article
        'Its director, Amanda Anderson, said that while most moors could tolerate one or two breeding pairs, harriers rapidly formed colonies that would wipe out grouse. “If we let the hen harrier in, we will soon have nothing else. That is why we need this brood management plan,” she said.'

  3. So! Only just over a week after my guesstimate my number is passed, 77377. This is a wing prime palindrome! Wing meaning only the centre number is different. Nice long wings with a small body, just like a hen harrier.

  4. No wonder Merricks is being so secretive nowadays. That Sunday Times article is scary.
    Battery farming Hen Harriers whilst they are still being killed on grouse moors, as Mark says, by admission by the MA Director herself. Insanity rules in the world of grouse shooting.
    Maybe that is why the RSPB has pulled out of the HH Inaction Plan. Because they found out that the brood persecution was going to happen without their conditions? The HOT has forgotten or doesn't seem to care about their immovable conditions. Sorry i have nothing but contempt for this career so called conservationist.
    'Phil Merricks, chairman of the Hawk and Owl Trust, said he hoped that “brood management” might resolve the conflict and enable hen harriers to repopulate Britain’s uplands.
    Hen harriers typically lay five eggs, so under this plan the moor owner would call us to remove the eggs, which would be hatched in an incubator at our centre in Gloucester,” he said. “When old enough the fledglings would be released in an area with no grouse shooting, like Dartmoor or Exmoor. It is the same process as rearing commercial chickens but far more sophisticated.'

  5. When Defra reviews payments to land based industries then there should be an independently verifiable system where public benefit is demonstrated from a wide range of criteria? Not least carbon sink capacity, flood alleviation potential and delivered, raptor presence measured against a robustly measured potential. Public access etc. Just a few starters for discussion, but seems reasonable that those footing the bill should have a say in where public funds go?

    Naive or what?

    1. Could this be used to fine grouse moors?

  6. Interesting that AA attended yet is reported as declining speaking at various non stitched up events?

    We've seen supporters of shooting engage in cyber bullying (see recent exchanges re AR), we've seen Rt [dis]honourables retweet offensive statements and now poor Ms A isn't prepared to engage in an open well mannered debate? When written statements such as reported above appear, then perhaps her live presence would not cope with public questioning?

    Please Ms A, come and meet the public who have signed the epetition and explain to us about any of your science which remotely challenges the science / statistics and ever increasing evidence that shooting has many more than just a few 'rotten apples' ....

  7. The opening para of the article states quite clearly:

    "The hen harrier, Britain’s rarest bird of prey, is to be bred in a “battery” farm similar to those used by the poultry industry, in an effort to repopulate the mountains and moorlands where gamekeepers have illegally wiped them out."

    IS TO BE BRED .... so HOT is to receive Defra funding to undertake this? Have Natural England issued the necessary licences yet? There is a case here for public interest disclosure and one might be forgiven for asking if NE are fit for purpose in terms of such matters (industry protection eg buzzard vs pheasant shoots)?

    Is this paying folk who have assisted in the species decline? How are they to be paid? Perhaps on successful repopulation of all the areas where they should be breeding? Many of those areas already receive public funding, will this be removed and then reassessed if raptors return and survive?

    Can you see the upland grouse moor land owners who have successfully cleared the area of HH (& other raptors) being happy to accept them back, even if it is the HOT promoting any scheme?

  8. Well done to all involved in organising the weekend events. Much to my frustration ill health prevented me from attending but the oxygen of publicity is forcing the truth into the open, so persistence pays off. Hopefully, the petition will reach its target and lead to even wider exposure of what really goes on in large areas of our countryside.

  9. The arrogance displayed by the line "If we let the hen harrier in" is breathtaking. What is being said in reality is "if we obey the law" as if doing so is merely optional for her and those she represents. Like tax, obeying the law seems something that only the 'little people' need to pay heed to. The grouse shooting lobby often accuses their detractors of playing class politics yet by their lofty sense of entitlement and contempt for the law they show themselves quite happy to exploit precisely those advantages that their wealth, class and connections grant them. Hypocrisy at its most rank.

  10. The website says I have to 'register to unlock quality journalism...'. The headline 'Battery farm to bring hen harriers back from the brink' suggests otherwise...so I won't bother.

  11. Hardly surprising that MA still demonise the harrier with half truths about its biology.
    All their none sense is based on one site---Langholm which is anything but a typical grouse moor. It is a relatively small moor that lies in the centre of a huge area of good harrier hunting habitat with lots of voles but few nest sites off the moor so of course harriers were there in high density. But that geography just doesn't apply to almost all other grouse moors. Densities are likely to be moderate and easily coped with, remember the MAs own figures showed that 5000 acres of grouse moor can support two pairs of harriers with no measureable effect on grouse density.
    The idea of brood management was what broke the process at the Environment Council the grouse people used it there for that very purpose and as a delaying tactic, it really is an irrelevance that they and we do not ever need.
    Merricks is a niave , to think it is necessary and to think the MA et al are playing an honest game.


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