Yorkshire Dales have a lead mountain to climb.

As the Yorkshire Dales National Park drags itself, with the help of a public consultation, towards the twenty-first century it may have to work very hard on some of its board members to take the journey.  Adrian Thornton-Berry is a member of the YDNP Management Plan Steering group committee, a Moorland Association committee member and it looks like he’s an officer of Dalesport sporting agency (see here and here) as well as of Farmoor Services which manages shooting.

Dalesport have some grouse days still to sell this year and I noticed a good few grouse as I travelled through Ramsgill on Saturday – not many raptors though which was a shame.  Just remember – shooting grouse for fun is not, definitely not, a rich person’s hobby.

Dalesport sporting agency:

Lastly, we recommend that all of our clients try to eat as much game as possible this season, as you will know this is an area which we as an industry need to pull together and act on now. Please do have a look at The Country Food trust and see what they are doing as a charity to encourage the eating of wild game and the feeding of hundreds of thousands of homeless people across the UK. Also I would encourage you to become an Associate Member of the Moorland Association if you have not already, to help us fight to keep this wonderful and traditional sport going for future generations. Associate Members will receive regular Newsletters addressing relevant issues within the industry of grouse shooting.‘.

This advice does not sit easily with the advice of the Food Standards Agency on eating grouse:

The FSA’s advice since 2012 is that frequent consumers of lead-shot game should eat less of this type of meat.

Let’s just compare ‘eat as much game as possible’ with ‘eat less of this type of meat’.  Yep, hardly any difference really.  It’s just that the non-ministerial government department which is supposed to protect the public from food dangers says one thing and a company which makes money from selling shooting days says the opposite. Yep, hardly any difference at all.

If Mr Thornton-Berry would like to check the advice of the FSA then all he need do is pop over from Swinithwaite to see the Chair of the FSA, Heather Hancock in Arncliffe – it’s only 20 miles or so, and quite a pretty drive. In fact, I drove most of it on Saturday afternoon – damn, I could have given him a lift. Except of course, Mrs Hancock might have been out shooting (since she and her husband, who likes to be called Herbie! own a grouse moor), as might Mr Thornton-Berry of course. Maybe they were out shooting together. It’s a small world isn’t it.

The FSA advice on lead in food, which Mrs Hancock doesn’t seem to be promoting, and Mr Thornton-Berry doesn’t seem to have noticed, is what Liz Truss used as part of her excuse for not acting to protect  people from ingesting lead in game meat when she failed to act on the advice of an expert committee to phase out the use of lead ammunition in England.

Nobody in the real world knows what the FSA advice is (because they’ve never heard of the FSA and have never visited its website), and nobody in the shooting world is taking any notice of it, and the FSA looks like an expensive waste of money if it allows its advice to be ignored.

In fact, the shooters are promoting lead-heavy meat like mad at the moment.  How much respect can you have for an industry which makes money out of killing wildlife for fun, whose profits are underpinned by wildlife crime and which encourages the public at large to increase their intake of a poison against FSA advice? It’s a farce – and Grouse Shooter Moll and Defra have turned a blind eye to it.

Can we rely on Mr Thornton-Berry to be acting in the public interest when looking to the future of the Yorkshire Dales National Park? That’s our Yorkshire Dales National Park.


10 Replies to “Yorkshire Dales have a lead mountain to climb.”

  1. Has anyone managed to locate any minutes from any meetings of the YDNP Management Plan Steering Group or perhaps more importantly Members Registers of Interest in respect of involvement with said?

    Or, am I being naive in so far as an expectation that a publicly funded organisation would have such documents in order to demonstrate best practice governance?

  2. An excellent, informative blog, Mark. But do you think calling the minister “a grouse shooter’s moll” does anything to advance the cause of conservation? I think it probably has the opposite effect.

    1. Bob W – you have to judge when a case is completely beyond redemption. I judge this one is. And I also judge that if the minister is told to change her mind then she will, regardless of what this blog says.

  3. We all need to be vigilant as to which charities they are donating grouse etc to so that we can raise the recipient charity’s awareness that the shooting community are not in fact being philanthropic but trying to win the hearts of the public by masquerading as benefactors. In January this year the charity Cyrenians received pheasant breasts from the Cabrach and Glenfiddich estate for their service users and were appalled when they were notified of the raptor persecution history of the estate. There is an ignorance amongst these groups of the crime going on in the uplands.

  4. Just a thought – a sheep as the logo of Yorkshire Dales National Park? Says it all really (thinking of Monbiot’s ‘sheep wrecked’!). Similar to Natural England’s logo – a house – nature sanitised…

    1. Is Natural England’s logo really a house?! I’d assumed the logo occasionally seen on this blog was a joke – a dig at the fact that Natural England apparently have so little interest in nature. Everywhere online it seems to just be a square logo without the “roof” making it a house.

      But yes, a sheep as a logo for a national park says it all.

      1. I also see that the North York Moors National Park logo features a cross (the Ralph Cross) – presumably marking a mass grave of raptors.

  5. Thornton-Berry is the sporting agent for the East Arkengarthdale estate and also for some of the adjacent moorland areas. They manage the East Arkengarthdale keepers who are well known…

    [Mark writes: a large amount of text has been removed here to prevent any chance of lawyers getting involved – it was a cracking read though!]

    …is clearly contrary to the founding principles of the park which include; ‘to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park’. I trust that David Butterworth (YDNP CEO) will take this onboard and ensure that this situation can not and does not continue.

  6. Apologies.
    I should have made it clear that I (Paul, the poster of the contribution above) am not the same Paul that responded earlier.

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