It pays to keep an eye on the blog of RSPB conservation director Mark Avery. When he innocently muses about some aspect of shooting, it probably means "Oo, I've just thought of another way to attack shooters."
Back in July 2009 he blogged about his rising concern about lead residues in game meat. By October that year, he was stirring up seven shades of you-know-what by writing to Defra, with a particularly weaselly letter - resulting in the formation of the Lead Ammunition Group.
Now he's running a new one up the flagpole: pheasants as a 'non-native' species. "I wonder how much the increase in some predator numbers is fuelled by this meat bonanza?" he asks disingenuously, taking a swipe at "big-shoot days where huge numbers of pheasants are released" while he's at it. (Actually the GWCT already has the answers to most of his questions).
I find the whole native/non-native species argument a ridiculous nonsense anyway. Who's to say which species 'deserve' to be here in the UK, based on whose assessment of which politically-correct moment in history we had the 'perfect' balance of wildlife? And how can this possibly be relevant to a landscape shaped by man since history began? Far too often the definition of 'native' or 'non-native' seems designed to support one organisation's point of view - the latest row over eagle owls is a case in point.
But leaving all that aside, what really bothers me is what devious new attack on shooting Avery is cooking up.