RSPB update on its gamebird shooting consultation

Interesting update on RSPB gamebird shooting consultation from Martin Harper:

  • RSPB members, staff and volunteers are broadly aligned in their views, specifically: the majority are knowledgeable about the issues associated with intensive gamebird shooting, the majority support the conservation principles; any opposition to the approach proposed is more likely to come from the shooting (1%) or landowning (5%) part of the membership; a minimum of 14% support some sort of ban on shooting (intensive or otherwise).
  • Given the size of the samples, we have high confidence in concluding the views we received provide a good reflection of the whole membership, staff and volunteers
  • The views expressed by the other organisations (conservation, animal welfare and shooting groups) and individuals reflected different values, motivations and long held positions. At one end of the spectrum were respondents who valued shooting as an activity with social, environmental and economic benefits. Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum were responses with animal welfare interests who expressed little value of shooting, considering it unnecessary and harmful.  Other responses ranged in between, from seeking sustainable shooting and highlighting concerns over environmental impacts of current practices, to supporting a total or partial ban.
  • The confidential interviews provided a few additional insights, specifically: the pride in conservation associated with shooting; the observed increased interest in the environmental impacts of the industry, particularly more intensive forms; and dismay at the state of the relationship between the shooting community and the RSPB

See also:

6366.7288.RSPB Members Infographic.pdf 

2671.6874.RSPB External Consultation – Exec summary.pdf

 7206.5270.RSPB shooting community engagement (confidential interviews) – Exec Summary.pdf

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13 Replies to “RSPB update on its gamebird shooting consultation”

  1. This is interesting. The RSPB is to be applauded for publishing this in advance of reaching a conclusion. This represents a step change in member engagement. Well done.

  2. My view was quite simple Ban DGS but not walked up and ban the release of alien game birds but not the shooting of them. No shooting in SSSIs, SPAs, National Parks or AONBs except for conservation reasons----deer control etc.

  3. The pheasant was probably introduced into the U.K. by the Normans in the 11th century, surly they are no longer alien game birds, as their must be other species introduced over the centuries are they all still regarded as aliens or now accepted as native to this country?

    1. If its been established so long, and survives so well, that surely annual releases are no longer required?

      1. Think it possibly does not survive to well, because it is shot by so many, hence the annual release, if it was protected like a Robin, then their just may be many more, may be to many, living and breeding naturally such they are then considered vermin?

    2. The pheasant was brought here by the Romans but kept like chickens in pens, the is no evidence of them being out in the countryside. The same is true of the Normans they were kept not released. There is little evidence of Pheasants being out in the countryside until the late Elizabethan period and even then they were probably escapees from kept fowl. The birds were not common in the countryside until the enclosures and the advent of better flintlocks. It was the advent of the breech loader that signalled them becoming very common. They are aliens from the Caucasus and Central Asia and yes our ecology absorbs them but not in the millions released every year, which undoubtedly has a huge impact on native flora and fauna. Release should be banned, if they truly do fit in our ecology those left will survive and breed leaving birds to be shot but probably not driven shooting. Driven shooting Was once considered an anathema, introduced or at least popularised by Prince Albert, it should be considered so again. Shooting should if it continues be proper hunting not the mass slaughter of driven living targets.

      1. 'f they truly do fit in our ecology those left will survive'.
        They survive on Mull without releases although many predators are absent they cope with Mink and Golden Eagles.

        1. Prasad, is there much shooting on Mull? If a feral population can support shooting its a potentially best of both worlds scenario - no releases but proper (ie not driven) hunting could continue.

          1. Mrs Google says yes.

            I'm amused by the idea of very testing pheasants but vermin sounds a bit vague to say the least.

  4. interesting list one wonders how you can justify shooting pigeon on Mull, its not on the game list but is on the general licence as a pest of arable. The same is true of "vermin" if that means corvids or gulls. This is symptomatic of the shooting lobby thinking that they can in all circumstances shoot birds on the general licence list, when legally that is untrue. it is also why shooting needs a much firmer hand of control in the UK, its currently like the wild west out there.

    1. "the shooting lobby thinking that they can in all circumstances shoot birds on the general licence list"

      Agreed, and I would go further than that. They actually think that it is a sort of moral duty to pro-actively seek and kill the birds on the General Licence when given any chance. As if by doing so they are strengthening the broad cause of game and wildlife in their (perceived) threatened countryside i.e "keeping the balance". i.e. a working class bloke out with permission to shoot Rabbits on an average bit of mixed rough farmland will be happy to pop off a Rook, a Jay or a LBB Gull (and feel sorely tempted at a Buzzard), thinking he is helping the greater good for the nearby big Estates he goes beating on. There are deep psychological issues here...Sad, but still very true.

  5. On "wild" pheasants. Anyone who like me spends time in three types of countryside eg. a. commercial Pheasant releasing countryside, b. un-keepered/non driven-shooting countryside and c. intense predator control DGS woodland edge, will probably notice the same can quickly identify (not only only by size and shape) but by habits and demeanour (i.e. whether it is savvy or just docile), which Pheasant comes from a long line of feral/wild birds and which is recently or just one generation released. In spring/summer if you ever see a hen Pheasant wandering blithely away from her chicks which are struggling and floundering in the wet grass, you can be pretty sure she was a bird released for the previous season. It's a bit like rearing poultry, birds raised each generation by an owner who uses broody hens are quite savvy birds (and mine at least are apt to naff off and go semi-feral themselves), unlike most docile incubator reared ones who stand around the feeder all day. I am sure there is fertility issues with the commercially reared Pheasants as well. A well documented part of the original "art" of keepering, was the seeking out of early wild Partridge nests to take their eggs home to a broody, knowing the pair would lay again and rear naturally. Compare that with the current Commercial Partridge Shoot methodology!
    I think if all Pheasant releasing was banned, there might be pockets of "wild" populations here and there but this would depend on what was happening locally with the Fox population. Just my thoughts.


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