The Inglorious 12th

Intensive grouse shooting is in the news like never before:

The costs of grouse shooting on our environment and wildlife needs to be to properly weighed up against the benefit of land owners profiting from shooting parties.

For too long the Tories have bent the knee to land owners and it’s our environment and our people who pay the price.

There are viable alternatives to grouse shooting such as simulated shooting and wildlife tourism. The time has come for a proper review into the practice.
  • Best bad year for Hen Harriers in England for several years but still a bad year (Independent). The Natural England announcement (by Defra, of course, because NE doesn’t have a press office any more) is shockingly biased. The organisation representing grouse moor managers, the Moorland Association, was given more words in the NE announcement than all others (other than NE) put together which is a bit odd considering it is established from NE data that Hen Harriers are at a very high risk of being killed, illegally, on grouse moors in England. To suggest that grouse moors have hosted lots of Hen Harrier nests and lots of successful ones, depends on including the guarded, diversionary fed nests on United Utilities plc land as being on grouse moors, which is as accurate as describing my garden as a fruit farm because there is one twig of a raspberry bush there (14 raspberries this year! – it’s a record!). Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England (yes, him again) said:

I’d like to thank all of the organisations, staff and volunteers who’ve helped to make this a better breeding season for one of England’s most iconic birds.
While it is very welcome to see this improvement, we must remember that the hen harrier is still very far from where it should be as a breeding species in England, not least due to illegal persecution.
I will be working with Natural England colleagues to pursue all options for the recovery of this wonderful bird, a creature that inspires and brings joy to so many people. It would be a tragic loss for our country, children and grandchildren if this majestic bird was to remain so scarce, or even disappear, in the future.
  • muirburn banned at Mar Lodge and BASC switch their support more towards walked-up shooting in Scotland (perhaps)(see Guardian). That statement by BASC, if repeated and if meant, is significant. But, do they mean it? We’ll see whether it was an interesting thing to say to deflect criticism on the Inglorious 12th or whether it was a turning point.

Overall, the tone of media coverage today is totally different from five years ago – the first Hen Harrier Day. See how many times the word Inglorious is used nowadays – I wonder where they got that from?

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13 Replies to “The Inglorious 12th”

  1. I know you're a Radio 4 listener Mark so perhaps you're not aware that Radio 2's Jeremy Vine programme had a slot today about the Inglorious 12th, with frequent mentions of the persecution of hen harriers.

    1. Was on the today programme this morning too, at about 7.35 a.m. Didn't listen as I wasn't sure I could bear to hear what Amanda Anderson said.

  2. Despite appearances that smiling face of persecution Amanda Anderson must be loosing her grip. Although I wasn't aware of the MA rearing lots of Harriers, RSPB/UU and a host of organisations in Northumberland yes but MA, naah not true, one nest in some rushes off moor reared 3 and of ten eggs laid on a Swinton Moor, five were brood meddled and return to origin was refused whilst the other nest was fed in case they had the temerity to take grouse chicks. Hardly whole hearted embracing of Hen Harriers, more a case well the spotlight is on us we had better sort of , well not kill the bloody things as we usually do!
    Now if they had said we have a moor with two nests and despite the offer of brood meddling we are going to allow them to breed naturally unmolested now that really would have been a change of heart and a huge PR coup for them but no they did the bloody obvious, although ten, five or even just two years ago they would almost certainly have just shot the adults so I suppose it is progress of sorts.

      1. That's difficult to judge, especially from afar here in Wales but the area with the two pairs apparently hosted 11 to 14 birds at one point. Earlier in the winter this had included the know known to have been shot "River." A man was also filmed by RSPB investigations walking in a roost on the same estate in the dusk with both dogs and a gun. Fortunately for the birds he did not flush any of them using the roost. This and consequent scrutiny is probably the real reason birds were allowed to settle. When you look at it like that removing a pairs young under brood meddling seems a reward for criminality and what happened to the bereft parents can we be sure they weren't dealt with in the normal manner, as neither were satellite tagged?
        We also need to acknowledge that area has also been known to host birds that eventually go back to Bowland to breed.

  3. It seems that a couple of grouse shoots in northern England have been disrupted by hunt sabs. This happened last year and looks like it could become a regular occurrence. I saw that Sue Hayman has been asking for a review of grouse shooting again. Perhaps this year she and the other Labour MPs no doubt to follow her example might at least let Labour Party members in their constituency know about a more than slightly relevant Gov.UK petition that was set up before the statement. Hopefully this year Labour will see this as an example of wonderful synchronicity rather than it becoming an almost lost opportunity saved at ten to midnight by a bunch of people who went to tremendous lengths to do so, but shouldn't have had to. We can put the government on the spot again and do it more publicly this time -

  4. Also made the home page of the BBC, albeit with their normal misquotes and spin.
    But what a great day. Two highlights came at either end. Firstly, when you Mark, asked the crowd who were attending a HH day for the first time and so many put their hands up. Second, those great kids at the end reading their poems. Both show that you/we are winning.
    One observation is that I think that WJ missed a trick by not having your own stand.
    Apart from all the people attending for the first time, there were also casual visitors wandering around. A simple shelter(happy to buy you one), a few leaflets on who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it, plus a couple of volunteers (yes, ok then) collecting email addresses for your newsletter.
    I’m sure we could have signed up at least fifty people, some of whom may even donate to the next crowdfunding.
    Don’t be shy guys!

  5. Has anyone noticed that Andrew Killtruth has appropriated "Hen Harrier Day" as the title for his latest propaganda video on youtube; ensuring that those who search for the phrase Hen Harrier Day 2019 come across his video. Let's hope that decent people aren't taken in by this low tactic.

  6. Today, across the media, has seen a glorious flurry of the word inglorious.
    Well done Mark.

  7. I wouldn't give BASC any creditat all. Duncan Thomas has been busy blaming tagging for hen harrier deaths.

    Lancashire police improved immeasurably when he left, and it says a lot about BASC that he is now their regional rep.

  8. Many congratulations Mark. It is very much down to you that the atrocious behaviour of many, though not all, in the grouse shooting industry is increasingly being highlighted. You have able supporters but you are leading the charge. Terrific.

  9. There was definitely a different feel to the reporting yesterday, I did not see any coverage of the usual (in the past) rush to get a the first grouse to the table in a restaurant, no chefs speaking about it and very notable that the piece on ITV/STV (I think) was a walked up shoot at Rottal estate in Angus with Tim Baynes wittering on about waders!


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