Game Fair debacle – not much goodwill to differing views

I still haven’t heard from the Game Fair directly – that’s a bit rude of them.

And I haven’t heard from BASC yet on whether they regard me as an extremist – and on what grounds.

I was interested to see the tweet above from Kerry McCarthy MP about a Defra minister going to the Game Fair – no doubt he will be praising the Game Fair organisers for their open-mindedness, their willingness to debate and their strict regard for the truth.

It’s a shoddy episode in the annals of the shooting industry when three shooting organisations stifle debate and one of them publishes slurs against people who disagree with some aspects of shooting.

https://basc.org.uk/blog/press-releases/centralnews/basc-release-statement-on-packham-and-the-game-fair/

But there are other strange things going on too. Raptor Persecution UK has drawn attention to the wording of an email that appears in the video released by Charlie Jacoby’s Fieldsports Channel yesterday. Apparently the Game Fair organisers couldn’t trust their attendees to behave without violence in the presnce of nature conservationists. It’s a sad state of affairs when those running shooting behave so badly, and they can’t trust their own supporters to behave in a civilised manner.

One of the reasons for the feelings apparently running high in the shooting community is that they are fed so much misinformation by the shooting press, by the likes of the Fieldsports Channel and by their own representative organisations. And that was precisely why Chirs Packham and I were very willing, almost keen, to accept the invitation to face questions in front of the Game Fair audience. What better opportunity for hundreds of people to hear what we think from the horses’ mouths, so to speak.

I quite like Charlie Jacoby on a personal level (though I hardly know him) but he does talk a massive amount of tripe. When he interviewed me for Fieldsports Channel (another example of me being willing to face questions and talk to ‘the other side’) he kept telling me what I thought and believed – an interestin interview technique. And in his video of the other day there is a lot of nonsense too – it would ahve been good to puncture some of those balloons at the Game Fair too.

But in Charlie’s video there is a fleeting view of that email – here it is;

First of all, note that this is an email from Chaerlie Jacoby to Tim Bonner (Chief Exec of the Countryside Alliance), James Gower (the Managing Director of Game Fair Ltd), Ian Bell (Chief Exec of BASC) and Teresa Dent (Chief Exec of GWCT and Natural England Board member).

So, apparently Chris and I (and probably Ruth Tingay too, for all I know) are ‘after anything they [we] can get in time for the Panorama ‘Slaughter on the Grousemoors’ show’. This is the first time I’ve heard of this – although I am often approached by film makers who all have the great idea of amking a hard-hitting film about grouse shooting but none of them ever has and they all seem to fizzle out quite quickly. To be quite clear about this – I have not spoken to anyone from Panorama, or who I can even imagine might be from Panorama, about such a programme. And so I am certainly not involved in such a programme. If there is one in the offing I’d be perfectly happy to get involved of course!

Likewise, I have no knowledge of a series of town hall events to be held in Yorkshire. No knowledge whatsoever. In fact looking at my diary it looks very unlikely that I will set foot in Yorkshire between now and 12 August, or even be connected to Yorkshire through a car on the A1 or any other road. That may change, but the idea that there is a series of town hall events is interesting but, as far as I know, completely untrue. I can certainly be completely sure that I am not involved in any such series of events – I’m open to offers though!

With all this misinformation going the rounds then it is difficult to have a sensible discussion with many in the shooting industry – but we’ll keep trying.

Dialogue is quite difficult when we are routinely subject to the type of abuse revealed this afternoon on the Wild Justice blog – click here.

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9 Replies to “Game Fair debacle – not much goodwill to differing views”

  1. The complete lack of respect is quite shocking, but the one sees the comments alluded to on RPUK and they are frankly nasty and very unpleasant certainly yet displaying a poor grasp of both the language and imagination. They are running scared and that seems to encourage the worst in all of us, the difference of course is these people are many of them legal gun owners. The tests, rules and forms are clearly not stringent enough.
    Of course its this complete lack of respect that allows many of them to ignore the law or ignore those amongst them who ignore the law. One hopes they have more respect for quarry species but I rather doubt that too. They may have views from the Victorian and Edwardian eras perhaps they have escaped via a time warp from the various institutes of that time for the mentally infirm and inadequate.
    I am disappointed but not shocked.

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  2. The whole problem is that shooting is controlled by what you might call the big shooting estates, the big landowners. These are really quite unrepresentative of your average shooter who would never shoot on any of these big driven shoots in their whole life time. Yet it's these big shoots who employ most gamekeepers. They are where the money is at, and they hold sway with the organizations, and the shooting media, because they have the influence with them, and the most money.

    In addition, most bad practise from gross over-stocking with Pheasants etc, the illegal persecution of raptors, takes place on these big estates. Likewise, issues like the continuing use of lead shot, are all because of the influence behind the scenes of the big wealthy landowners, and their heirloom fine old English shotguns, which are only safe to use with lead shot. In other words, most bad practise in shooting, most of the problem areas revolved around what is in reality only a small minority in shooting, but a small minority with all the influence. and money.

    It's essential for these big estate shooting estates that rank and file shooters protect them. The way the big shooting estates ensure this is via malicious propaganda. Where these big shooting interests deliberately provoke rank and file shooters by falsely claiming that Chris Packham wants to ban their sport, rather than the truth, and that he is just focused on ending illegal raptor persecution, and that mainly happens on the big estates where it's all about maximum bags.

    If ordinary shooters realised the big shooting estates are giving shooting a bad name, and their arrogance (in say continuing to illegally kill raptors even with the spotlight on them) could end up with game shooting being severely restricted or even banned in the future, then rank and file shooters wouldn't be so sympathetic. But by falsely implying that you and Chris want to ban all shooting, ordinary shooters get behind these malign influences, mistakenly believing their sport is under threat.

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  3. These people are as delusional in their private conversations as they are in public. Charlie Jacoby's email is responding to points made by Tim Bonner. So it is a fair inference that it was Bonner who suggested that there was a risk of violence from shooters. And that it was Bonner who seems to have suggested (tail of visible email) that 'they' (you) might truly want to get themselves beaten up at Hatfield House. This is madness of the highest order. And all copied to Teresa Dent. Should she not either make a public statement disowning these idiots or resign? Everyone in public office should be acutely aware of the real dangers of vilification by bad people and she should speak out.

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  4. The ‘right to free speech’ is not the same thing as the ‘right to speak at the game fair’ I doubt they’d have me on as a speaker - nothing to do with denying my right to free speech.

    Maybe they looked at chris packham’s exortations for people to ‘ignore’ ‘half arsed science’ reports from ‘the shooters’ and thought perhaps they would reciprocate.

    I’m not 100% sure I would give a platform to someone who publically calls for my earnest contributions to a debate to be ‘ignored’.

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    1. No-one has suggested that Mark or Chris have a right to speak at the Game Fair, Giles, but they were invited to attend and speak. That invitation did reflect some degree of maturity - recognising the existence of alternative points of view and having the confidence to hear them and debate them. That Chris and Mark were then uninvited displays a telling lack of confidence in their own arguments on the part of the GF organisers. That is the main point here.
      As Mark has recounted it, the rescinding of his invitation was done indirectly through a third party which was very ill-mannered, and the shooting organisations have then compounded their ill manners by posting offensive comments about Chris Packham.
      So this has nothing to do really with the right to free speech - Mark and Chris are fully entitled to speak out on the ills of grouse shooting as they see them and clearly do in lots of ways - rather it is about the representatives of the shooting industry behaving in an ill-mannered and cowardly manner.

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      1. I was referring to the MPs assertion that packhams right to free speech was being denied - I can’t see why she would claim that unless she thinks there is some kind right to speak at a game fair - otherwise how could being disinvited deny that right?

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  5. Mark your spelling in this article is atrocious! If you calmed down a little I am sure you’d make fewer mistakes.

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    1. If you are concerned about correct spelling and grammar, Giles, you had perhaps better check your own post below. It seems to involve a certain amount of time travel.

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  6. Ps you’re right about Andy Richardson - when I write that “don’t shoot” blog he went absolutely mad at me on Facebook. Pps what’s Wild Justice’s stance on no lethal methods of ‘wildlife management ‘?

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