Monday, 24 May 2010

Eat the rich: Raptor Rage Scotland




Cripes! The Raptor Persecution Scotland blog is incandescent at the news that some licences may be issued to kill some buzzards in Scotland.

The author betrays a degree of chip-on-shoulder syndrome with the phrase:
It’s about time Roseanna Cunningham got up from her knees where she’s been busily licking the greasy balls of the rich and influential landowners for the past year...
Nice image. One 'Dave Dick', who may or may not be the infamous RSPB enforcer, suggests in the comments that's a bit rich, and the author might like to remove it "before your enemies use it against you". By the time you read this it will probably be gone. So as a public service, here's a screenshot.


'Dave Dick' himself could do with some anger management therapy, ranting about "stupidity/chicanery/naked political greed" and the "thugs and bullies who will be carrying out these licences". Charming. And ever so slightly Marxist? I'm hardly rich, powerful or a landowner, but I find this stuff deeply offensive.

Raptor Politics is equally bonkers. Just the other day it had a blog post alleging all sorts of illegal activity on the part of PC Duncan Thomas, wildlife crime officer in the North East of England. The post was quickly taken down, probably on legal advice. I have a copy, but I don't dare repeat it here or I'd be sued for libel faster than you can say "what, you mean eagle owls actually eat hen harriers?".

With fundamentalists like this using birds of prey as a weapon to attack the "rich and influential" they so clearly despise, we have stepped outside conservation and are in the realms of political activism.

Which, coincidentally (honest) leads nicely into the latest blog post by Tim Bonner at the Countryside Alliance, who suggests antis fall into groups such as bunny huggers, lefties and anarchic sociopaths. Well worth a read.

19 comments:

alan tilmouth said...

Not sure where I fit into that James, I occasionally pass a bunny to my kids to hug but I'm equally as happy watching a Buzzard catch one, I might I suppose be marginally left of centre but I'm certainly not an anarchist, much prefer a bit of quiet birding to chaos. I havent looked at any of the posts you mentioned in this but I do think the 'evidence' presented to support the potential application for licences to kill Buzzards is a little flimsy, scaring grouse chicks in the pens? On that basis perhaps there could be some controls over all these landowners that keep releasing Pheasants everywhere, bloody well puts the fear of god into me when one takes off from almost underfoot whilst you're trying to listen to warblers.

James Marchington said...

Meconopsis said the following, but I had to edit out some strong language. I trust I haven't altered the meaning of his comment (no doubt he'll let me know if I have):

I have to say I personally count Dave Dick as a true friend. Dave is not full of bullshit he loves his birds and he all 5ft 5" of him would be in your face if he thought you was killing BOP.

Dave would work with Gamekeepers and indeed gained trust.

Dave had balls and commanded respect.

James Marchington said...

Hi Alan, yes, it's funny isn't it how we can adore one bird and find another downright irritating. Depends where you're coming from I suppose, and your mental image of how the countryside 'should' be.

James Marchington said...

I was happy to sign the RSPB petition against the illegal killing of birds of prey. I'd just as happily have signed one saying we should have a grown-up debate about what should and shouldn't be illegal.

Does there come a time when, say buzzards, are so numerous that they are not threatened in any way and are causing damage to other bird populations, and killing them should then be legal? Or do they always remain untouchable simply because they are raptors?

When a buzzard is scoffing Britain's last wibbly-wobbly warbler, do we kick ourselves for our blinkered thinking? Or congratulate ourselves on our resolve?

Meconopsis said...

licences to kill Buzzards is a little flimsy, scaring grouse chicks in the pens?

And here we see a true blue conversation's telling us Grouse are in pens.

Get a grip folks Grouse are wild birds !!!!!!!!

vicky said...

Could licenced culls not be the way forwards? Farmers cull foxes, pigeons and rabbits and yet leave a healthy population so why not trust them with BOP? (or badgers for that matter) Maybe here would be less fear of BOP moving onto their farm if they knew that if the population reached a level where it threatened their livestock, game or other important wildlife that population could be humanely reduced (I'd suggest egg pricking myself rather than shoot or trap actual birds.
I know many BOP will take carrion when available but if the population rises and carrion is not available they will naurally turn to live prey. We can hope it's the pigeons and rabbits but it could just as well be a blackgrouse chick, mountain hare or grey partridge.
I agree Alan that the evidence for any cull should be robust and that there should probably be limits on how many pheasants can be released on any given amount of land so that both game shooting and wildlife can exist in managed harmony.
My odd political stance? Carnivorous hunting herbalist hippy!

Anonymous said...

I spend a fair part of my hard earned cash on shooting driven pheasants each season but i would refuse to shoot on any estate which had a licence to shoot raptors. This is not the Victorian era and we are supposed to be a forward thinking modern country. Our sport should fit in with the natural environment, we should not be killing native and iconic species to allow us to shoot more and more birds, we must accept smaller bags while shooting in rich envoronment of high biodiversity. If game shooting wants to survive we need to waken up and modernise our ideas.
El Rondo

Sooty said...

Sorry James you have got a difficult one for me here.Stangely enough your last comment on your RSPB petition piece is almost true as a Buzzard killed something like the only Red Necked Phalarope in the country at that time in front of several twitchers.Keep thinking about what Vicky said about there being no Grouse or Grouse moors without shooting and managementas it would all go to scrub or forest.Think that turned me more towards being a moderate,may even try tree hugging next thanks to Vicky.

Meconopsis said...

Badger cull is going ahead at long last !! Labour broke the country I just hope they never get back in again !

vicky said...

apparantley it can be very relaxing and refreshing to hug a tree :-) I prefer to look at them. Tree hugger isn't a term we should throw about offensively; spending time with a tree hundreds of years old, seeing how the wind has slowly turned it's trunk, seeing how it's roots have penetrated the hard earth and found the fuel to grow so big....it makes you realise humans and their petty squabbles don't amount to much. Humans talk a lot about how human activty threatens the plantet- be that lead shot, global warming, overpopulation, deforestation and true, our activities threaten some species but if we all die out planet earth with get on just fine, make some new species and we'll soon just be interesting fossils in the dust!
I also hug bunnies- it's an occupational hazard!

Sooty said...

Sorry if it came over as offensive Vicky,think your comments usally really well thought out,can only apologise if I have in this case upset you.

vicky said...

Sooty, you didn't upset me at all :-) I just wondered why 'tree hugger' and 'bunny hugger' are thrown around as offensive terms. I was in fact feeling quite smiley and at peace with the world!that's the problem with the internet- you can't see if people look happy or angry- leads to much miscommunication.

Sooty said...

Great Vicky sometimes I am really naive,didn't realise tree hugger and bunny hugger considered offensive terms.I am a great believer in anyone having their own opinion and doing whatever they want to within the law.

Meconopsis said...

Let us not forget that the owners of the Isle of May used the poison Carbofuran to kill more that 40,000 gulls to protect their Puffins !!!!!

Why should we not get a licence to kill birds that have no danger whatsoever of becoming extinct ?

I would say that having met the strict criteria proposed by the government a few rouge birds will not be missed at all but the economics for the shoots, hotels and surrounding countryside businesses will be enhanced.

Meconopsis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vicky said...

It's never going to be easy to accept that sometimes to protect one important species (important for human food, business or for biodiversity) another improtant species must be controlled. I'm sure the RSPB must have sleepless nights when a rare BOP threatens a rare non BOP! Maybe they could admit they understand the struggle of hill farmers and gamekeepers and offer realistic non-lethal suggestions rather than persecuting them?

Sooty said...

Vicky sad to say though i consider myself a big supporter of RSPB they see things black and white and are so anti farmer there is no chance of them doing any of your suggestions.sadly their stance of continuous criticism which they either do not see or else deny has the opposite effect to what they expect and farmers feel that backed into a corner they will not even listen to what the RSPB says.As it is obvious i can have no effect on their attitude to farmers it is pointless me commenting on Mark Avery blog.The really sad thing is that if they put as much effort into helping farmers increase wildlife on farms as into criticising then wildlife which they are supposed to be about would be a big winner.One of their moderators even had the cheek to say about how sad farmland birds had declined in large numbers suggesting of course intensive farming the culprit while ignoring to say that on their own website they had figures that woodland birds had declined more,do not think even he could find intensive agriculture to blame for that.

vicky said...

Maybe we need our own society Sooty?! I don't understand how intensive agriculture is still being blamed for farmland bird decline when agriculture has got less intense and much more wildlife aware even just in my lifetime! There are some areas which need work- few farmers leave stubble overwinter and this was/is important grey partridge habitat, some farmers need to be les tidy and leave uncut hedgerows etc but things are better. The decline in farmland, and woodland birds is more complex. If only the RSPB could accept hat and look for real answers! NB some shoots encourage their farmers to leave stubble in grey partridge areas and to ensure the cover heir broods require is avalable in the spring- ok, they want populations to rise so one day they can shoot them again but the net result will be more grey partridge and that's good isn't it?

James Marchington said...

Some issue with moderating comments at present, but Vicky wrote:

Maybe we need our own society Sooty?! I don't understand how intensive agriculture is still being blamed for farmland bird decline when agriculture has got less intense and much more wildlife aware even just in my lifetime! There are some areas which need work- few farmers leave stubble overwinter and this was/is important grey partridge habitat, some farmers need to be les tidy and leave uncut hedgerows etc but things are better. The decline in farmland, and woodland birds is more complex. If only the RSPB could accept hat and look for real answers! NB some shoots encourage their farmers to leave stubble in grey partridge areas and to ensure the cover heir broods require is avalable in the spring- ok, they want populations to rise so one day they can shoot them again but the net result will be more grey partridge and that's good isn't it?