The charming Tim Bonner was interviewed in an incredibly friendly manner on Farming Today this morning. He said he didn’t like wildlife crime, but there were reasons why people killed raptors, and that’s because raptors conflicted with people’s interests. The example he came up with was that Hen Harriers can cause declines in the numbers of Red Grouse which can be shot for fun and profit, so hardly an important part of human existence.
The friendly questioning from Caz Graham allowed Mr Bonner to say that things were a lot better than in Victorian times – apparently that is the benchmark for rural fieldsports.
Presumably Tim Bonner knows that in Victorian times it was legal to kill raptors but that ‘recently’, in 1954, the second year of the reign of our current monarch, raptor killing became illegal. Over 65 years later the members of the Countryside Alliance, Moorland Association and BASC apparently need to be reminded of these laws by having them drawn to their attention in contracts and through attendance at training days…
The RSPB was quoted as being as politely sceptical about the statement as am I.
But it was the fact that Bonner moved from raptor killing into describing his meeting with the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay where a ‘big issue’ discussed was;
…how we bring the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive and other legislation into UK law and what are the opportunities, and what are the threats, of divergence, potentially in the future, from thatFarming Today asfter 7min 30sec https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000dqjc
Well, don’t you worry Tim, the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, are in UK law right now, but I’m sure what you are keen on is cutting out some of the environmental protection given to species and habitats through those directives – protection for places like blanket bogs and species like Hen Harriers, just as examples. And that is what the Brexit campaign has been about for many of the far right – dismantling environmental protection that has evolved ‘recently’, say over 50 years or so, and going back to the good old days of taking back control. Those would include the good old days where the gamekeeper knew best and could do his habitat destruction and raptor killing in the full knowledge that the law was no barrier. But as this blog has warned for years now, divergence from EU environmental standards will have far-reaching implications for nature cosnervtion, and those implications will be at a net detriment to our environment and our wildlife.