A plea from the heart

John Armitage is an old colleague of mine from the RSPB and was formerly what then was a Regional Officer, but would now be a Regional Director, for what would then have been Northwest England but would now be about half of Northern England. He had a long and detailed involvement in the Forest of Bowland area and its Hen Harriers, and once started an e-petition in favour of licensing of grouse shooting.

I saw John briefly at the Bird Fair at the weekend and he told me he was writing a blog about the RSPB and grouse shooting, and I see it is now published. It’s certainly worth a read.

John started favouring dialogue with grouse shooters and spent (as I did) much of his working life trying to make progress by that route. After leaving the RSPB he moved to a position of favouring licensing and was disappointed that the RSPB failed utterly to support his e-petition on licensing of shooting estates.

John has moved to favouring a ban on driven grouse shooting as over that long period he, and I, have seen not a smidgeon of progress or compromise from the grouse shooters. John asks the RSPB for an immediate call to arms and to ask its members to support the ban driven grouse shooting e-petition in order to open up a bigger debate on the options available to combat wildlife crime on grouse moors.

Please sign this e-petition by Chris Packham calling for a ban of driven grouse shooting.


4 Replies to “A plea from the heart”

  1. Mark, has WJ made any decision on the RSPB being part of the debate, as last time?
    I am note sure it was great to have the licensing tabled so prominently as it watered down the thrust of the petition itself. It was great to have the RSPB reputation and expertise at hand but it had its downside. I am sure there must be non RSPB experts available. It also seemed more than a little unfair that the RSPB got a seat at the table without supporting the petition. They could at least have said to their million members, ‘sign this petition to get a debate’.
    I seem to recall that you didn’t actually have a say in the matter in them part of the debate but i’m hazy on that.
    I am of course assuming the RSPB won’t change their tune and i’m pretty sure they won’t, not until licensing has been tried at least. They could say what they failed to say to their members last time ‘sign to get a debate’ as John has hinted at, but is that a good idea as it will again mean heavy RSPB involvement in the debate again and the emphasis again falling on licensing.
    There are a lot of ‘ifs’ in the above and perhaps it is early days. I am very unsure of what is the best here and maybe it doesn’t even matter that much. It is keeping the discussion alive and in the public and political domain that really matters.

    I very much doubt that this present government will even allow a second debate. Not that that is disincentive to vote, on the contrary. Not allowing a debate would be a huge PR mistake . Getting a huge number of petitioners would also help stop that tactic.
    A second debate would be fantastic because they have so few arguments and now that we know which ones, including the lies, will be trotted out, they should be easier to demolish. The Hen Harrier in Wales comes to mind.

    I hope i am wrong about the RSPB not supporting the petition.

    1. Anand – you’re misremembering actually. First, you are thinking of the evidence session not the debate. There almost certainly will not be an evidence session this time as these are unusual (and there has been one on this subject). Second, I didn’t get to choose who was with me in that evidence session, the Petitions Committee did. Although Jeff was pretty good, he was pretty good on the RSPB’s agenda not ours, so I wouldn’t have chosen him, myself (no offence Jeff).

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