Looking forward to the Game Fair a week today

Back in 2017 I wrote this blog post – it’s worth a re-read I think because I was surprised (I’d forgotten, these things don’t stay with me very long) how vitriolic the shooting industry can get.

In that blog, I wrote this;


Some in the shooting industry think that I have broken that promise but I haven’t. (Let’s leave aside the fact that driven grouse shooting hasn’t yet been banned).

What I was saying in the passage above was that I would never campaign for a ban on Pheasant and partridge shooting – and I’m not. If I change my mind on that I’ll most certainly tell you.

In my recent British Birds paper on Pheasants I went out of my way to write this;

and this;

So, that’s pretty clear I think.

But in any case, Wild Justice’s legal challenge is to Michael Gove and Defra and it is on a matter of environmental law – the requirement of the UK to assess the impact of plans or projects under the Habitats Directive. Releasing all those non-native gamebirds into the countryside at this time of year is, to our mind, and on our legal advice, a plan or project, and it is one which Defra must assess.

I can imagine Wild Justice taking somewhat similar challenges in the future too – let us know if any spring to your minds – but it isn’t surprising that an almost wholly unregulated recreational game-shooting industry is a prime target for this type of scrutiny. Defra ought to have done it already but Wild Justice intends to make that happen.

But I’m looking forward to the Game Fair a week today. I’m sure I’ll get a warm welcome.

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38 Replies to “Looking forward to the Game Fair a week today”

  1. Do the EU directives also apply to the introduction of animals that are/were extinct in the UK ?

    1. steve o – yes, that’s why such plans, or prohjects, need a gret deal of assessment before they can procede – and none involves releasing 50 million individuals each year.

  2. Mark, how does that stack up with Mr Packams plans to re-introduce the White Tailed Sea Eagle to the Isle of White

    1. steve o – it isn’t Chris’s plan, but like me, he does support it. And that reintroduction of a native species (unlike the Pheasant, a non-native species) is licensed by Natural England after lots of form-filling and questioning. that’s in complete contrast to Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge releases which are unregulated. that’s why we are asking Defra to llok at them. In fact we are telling Defra that the law says they must look at them.

      1. Cheers Mark. Is it still a native spp if it was extinct in the UK but re-introduced from Scandinavian stock..

        also French Partridge seldom make off with small children cyclist’s

        1. Really good, well-considered, questions Steve O

          1. Yes, it is still the same species. Species aren’t identified by nationalities (a human construct). You will note the lack of border control for wildlife as evidence of this (i.e. I can vouch for the fact that there are no giraffe border guards on the Kenya/Tanzania border checking other giraffes’ passports). You do get intraspecific variation over large distances, but these distances would be huge for a species with the dispersal range of an eagle.
          2. I can assure you that the white-tailed eagle will take absolutely no small children cyclists, whatever they may be.

          Do let us know if you, or your research group, raise any more points for pondering.

          1. This is the funniest thing I’ve read on this blog in a long time. A splendid repost.
            I was also wondering what small children cyclists were as well. Perhaps the next white tailed eagle I see will enlighten me, and I must keep an eye out for half eaten handlebars in their nests.

          2. Hi Max, Cheers I think. No group just me and my ego. good points re boundaries, which has got me wondering. As Sea Eagles have no boundaries, do the French have to be consulted before releasing a large bird a few miles from their border ?
            Child cyclists not withstanding I have been lucky enough to watch a Sea Eagle try to take one of my old Khaki Campbells off my croft, [repeated diving saved the day] a very large bird to be hovering over a Calais park

  3. I noted you express concern about roadkill pheasant feeding carrion crows Mark….don’t you fret poppet, we can shoot the crows still, remember? Thank you Mr Gove.

    1. Once the 50 million non native game birds have been removed from OUR countryside you wont need to shoot the crows.
      Perhaps you and your pals could find something more constructive to do with your time rather than randomly releasing things and shooting them!

      1. Hi Daniel
        No they wont need to be shot as they will be dying of starvation [allegedly]

      2. We wont need to control crows… and there ladies & gentlemen in a nutshell is how delusional some people are. Thank God some of us manage OUR countryside correctly.

  4. I was lent a copy of “BB”, and found your paper quite fair, in fact a good overview of the subject
    raising legitimate questions, that should have been asked, and answered, a long time ago.
    Mind you, reading another piece in there, what about the Olive harvest ? ( especially them
    Spaniards), 2.7 million songbirds sucked to death on the Iberian peninsula alone, every winter.
    It’s enough to make a vegetarian choke on their salad.

  5. There is a lot of people who frequent this blog who seem to dislike shooting and hunting (understatement of the century I know!) so I would like to ask all those anti shooting/hunting persons on here to explain their reasoning for thinking killing animals and birds for enjoyment and/or to eat is wrong? Why is something so fundamental to human carnivores and omnivores so distasteful to you? I think if I, as a hunter/killer/whatever you want to call it, could understand that it would help me to understand why you wish to remove basic human rights from people by banning killing unless it is performed by persons in white wellies out of sight and out of mind?
    Just to be clear this is not a question meant to antagonize, it is a genuine request for straight and frank answers not hatred filled responses.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Ive been on this blog all week. so am now qualified to answer your question.. Shooting as you know it is finished, the complacent shooting industry should have seen this coming years ago and got their house in order. there are two types of people on this blog and in fact the UK . thats meat eating hypocrites and veg eating hypocrites. Those in charge of saving the world [and saving a few bob] can smell blood and are moving in for the kill. the aforementioned hypocrites parked on their settee and licking the remains of the KFC they had delivered earlier are very open to the idea of saving the world or at least ridding it of the tweed clad gentry that are busy stamping on hen harrier chicks, so are happy to donate.. all will be well, the moorland left to grow wild will be a wild fire. hedges removed again to allow the monster tractors room to grow the veg for vegans. matter not one jot because those than saved the world will be saving something else.. me i will get the ferret out [and get me some sustainable ethical wild rabbit.

  6. Giles W , How observant of you to notice the hilarious repost. [have you heard of irony.] perhaps you left your sense of humour in Sea Eagles nest when you were last in one.. or perhaps you’ve never had one

  7. So to recap.. Birds, and large African Mammals dont have passports or recognise boundaries..Sea Eagles from Scandinavia are native whereas Pheasants that reputedly came over with the Romans [who came from Italy] and French Partridge that come from err France are non native.. I suppose

  8. Pheasants came with the Romans yes but there is NO EVIDENCE they released them into the wild they kept them in pens ( rather like hens) and reared them for the table. If something gets here by their own efforts, like the original White Tailed Eagle it is native, if it was or is brought by human agency it is a non native introduced species, Re introduced stuff like WTE are native. I have no problem with shooting in general, although for a host of reasons I agree with Mark on Grouse shooting ( I’ve commented often here on that very thing) but I have a problem with the unregulated introduction of millions of Pheasant and RL Partridge unless we know the full impact ecologically. If that is bad to very bad then releases should be limited or stopped. This has been done in Holland but you can still shoot” wild ” pheasants there and would be able to here. I used to shoot but not for a very long time, we do however rear much of our own meat on our small holding, no hypocrisy here.

  9. I suspect that Mr Packham is the lead person behind the latest WJ legal challenge … if he cares so passionately about wildlife why is it that WJ aren’t taking / lobbying against the 25 million birds that are trapped/ caught illegally in the Mediterranean ( ie in the EU)every year?

      1. It is actually a valid point ie is Wj’s latest challenge not as a result of the EU ‘s birds and habitats directive?

  10. It’s not a worthless comment , the latest challenge is all to do with the EU’s birds and habitats directive which is being flouted in other EU countries with the 25 million birds that are killed each year illegally and some species are facing extinction as a result

    Why is that not a more pressing matter for Wj?

    1. Karen A – that is whataboutery. Why isn’t Wild Justice trying to cure cancer and feed the poor too?

      1. Pretty rude comment Mr Avery. Doesnt really become someone who proports to be an educated man,

          1. Quote: ” that’s why we are asking Defra to llok at them.”

            Its called a typo error. I see you are somewhat prone yourself !

  11. I cant believe that such comments are from somebody
    who is the former conservation director of the RSPB

    1. Karen Av – now you’ve changed your name. But you didn’t answer the question. I’m not rattled though. You are trolling this blog.

  12. That was a typo and I am not a troll . I think it was you who was being nasty . I don’t shoot pheasants or hunt but I am entitled to express my opinion

    1. Karen – you are entitled to express your opinion but not necessarily here. That is a privilege that I am giving you. It’s not a right. And you have made a whole string of nasty comments here which is abusing the privilege that I have allowed you. Don’t push your luck.

  13. Mark we all need shooting just cause u don’t like it don’t mean people have to agree with everything you say

    1. Karen – we don’t all need recreational shooting, I don’t mind it as much as I think you think I do and of course nobody has to agree with me.

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