BASC, Countryside Alliance and Moorland Association become eco-zealots – shock!

In a statement, some so-called leading rural organisations pretend to join the ranks of eco-zealots and condemn illegal raptor persecution. Of course, these organisations have always said this, but they’ve never been able to deliver any change on the ground. They aren’t so much leading organisations as lagging ones – about a century off the pace in many respects.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Organisation is somewhat conspicuous by its absence – one can only speculate why? Maybe they did not get the memo?

I’ll look forward to seeing what happens next.

I somehow can’t see Tim Bonner and Chris Packham, who both apparently now share the very same abhorrence of wildlife crime, hugging each other at the Game Fair next July.

I have a lot of time for the CLA but rather little for the rest of the signatories of this statement. The shooting organisations are increasingly beleaguered because of Pheasant dumping, excessive gamebird releases, wildlife crime, lead levels in game meat, greenhouse gas emissions from peatland burning, damage to protected habitats from burning, increased flood risk because of unsustainable management, raised water treatment costs and, one has to say, a long history of nastiness and misrepresentation.

The reaction of many of us to this joint statement will be ‘Yeh, right’ but if it is a turning of a corner then we will see the results over the next few years not in headlines in the shooting press over the next few days. Not until then will anyone be welcoming this lot to the ranks of the ecozealots.

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4 Replies to “BASC, Countryside Alliance and Moorland Association become eco-zealots – shock!”

  1. The organisations that you list clearly believe that it is in their gift to put a stop to illegal killing "This joint statement... should be seen as a clear signal of intent by those involved in shooting to end the scourge of raptor persecution".

    Well get on with it then. Actions speak louder than words and their actions will be clearly measurable. Shame they haven't acted before now.

  2. Forgive me for thinking that this doesn't really signal any change in attitude: "and while many reports of such persecution have proven to be false and confirmed cases are decreasing year-on-year"; licences to kill buzzards; ludicrous hen harrier brood meddling scheme; "All incidents of illegal persecution are extremely harmful to the reputation of shooting"

    Cry me a ****ing crocodile tear why don't you?

  3. Quite. As Bowland Bruce notes, their unreserved condemnation for illegal persecution is set firmly within the context that it's no longer really necessary as legal persecution is now so much easier: Hen Harriers can be brood managed to provide 'relief' for 'suffering land managers and Natural England will allow licences for the killing of buzzards (and no doubt other raptors) for those wishing 'to create an environment that balances human and ecological interests'. It always puzzles me that the interests of those who merely wish to enjoy the spectacle of nature - and who also provide an economic boost to rural communities - are set at nought in their considerations.

    Reading the statement in full ( these organisations, wholly unrepresentative of the wider countryside community, have tasking their members to obey the law, they want the government 'in return' to:
    ' • Provide accurate and independently-verified raptor statistics in the form of an annual report [these, presumably, would be the ones that only include cases where a body has been found and a gamekeeper has been convicted]
    • Work proactively with countryside organisations to find ways to resolve and manage conflict between raptors and shoots' [by enlarging the scope of legal persecution?]

    Well, the cheek of it! It's comical really until you remember that they own the land and have the ear of government.

  4. We've heard it all before and it of course has come to nought. This is a sham unless I'm very much mistaken, these organisations and their members have not just suffered an epiphany on some road ( To Damascus) their views have clearly not changed. One only has to look further into it Bonner still talks of the Hen Harrier problem on grouse moors where as in reality it is a problem for the few beleaguered Hen Harriers that brave their routine persecution on said grouse moors. As to Buzzard licences to "protect" the interests of those filling our countryside with the alien Pheasant so those of dubious ethics can blast them from the skies in their hundreds in canned hunts, words fail me. Our raptors should have their populations entirely set by the ecology and prey densities of the places they choose to live not by vested interest value judgements.
    I don't believe this statement and even if true I do not believe that these organisations will prevent their members from continuing to break the law protecting raptors as they have already done for more than a working lifetime. After all its easy to do just stop the killing.
    I will change my mind when all those currently vacant and abandoned Peregrine breeding sites on or adjacent to grouse moors throughout the Pennines and Bowland are occupied and producing young in most years. When I don't have to travel miles to see a Hen Harrier and the science tells us that all our raptor populations are no longer limited in range and numbers by the likes of the men in tweed.


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