Reaction from the shooting community to the sound of shooting and the coverage of a trapped Peregrine on a grouse moor in the Forest of Bowland:
The Good: BASC are pretty much spot on in what they say:
BASC statement on RSPB peregrine film
BASC utterly condemns raptor persecution and other wildlife crime. There should be no hiding place for those who commit such crimes.
Footage released by the RSPB today starkly illustrates the point that much work needs to be done to deal with such criminals. The video should rightly appal every member of the shooting community.
It is in the interests of our protected species and the future of shooting that every opportunity is taken to identify and bring wildlife criminals to justice.
The legal issues around the methods by which this footage was obtained have been well documented. All those involved, including the RSPB, have a responsibility to ensure all procedures are followed so as not to compromise legal process.
This film should stiffen the resolve of the shooting community to ensure there is no tolerance of wildlife crime and those who perpetrate such acts.
The Bad: the GWCT say:
The Ugly: Moorland Association makes their usual (except when saying ‘If we let the hen harrier in we will soon have nothing else‘) token condemnation of wildlife crime and then spend the rest of their statement having a go at the RSPB.
Moorland Association responds to RSPB blog
The suffering of the Peregrine in the RSPB blog is barbaric and abhorrent. The Moorland Association condemns any incident of raptor persecution and the stamping out of wildlife crime is a shared goal across many countryside organisations that is making progress. We wholeheartedly support the police in their investigations where wildlife crime is suspected.
In this instance, the CPS was left with no choice but to abandon the case after the judge discredited the evidence and said that investigating officers had acted in a ‘clandestine and irregular way’ and ‘outwith their remit.’ She also said that obtaining covert camera footage without consulting the police was ‘wholly irregular’. It was made clear in this case that video footage was covertly filmed without reference to the police.
It is quite clear from the judge’s remarks that she felt RSPB cannot ride roughshod over the correct way to gather evidence. In this case, the actions of the RSPB let everyone down by acting as a law unto themselves.
This is not the first time a case has been dropped due to RSPB mishandling an investigation. There has been recent criticism from the police, the Crown Office in Scotland and, now, a District Judge in England. Undermined investigations are not only a waste of time for police and prosecution authorities and of public money, but do nothing to eradicate wildlife crime