Thursday 18 November 2010

Another cunning stunt from the RSPB

The RSPB have issued yet another anti-shooting press release - cunningly embargoed to shit on any positive coverage arising from tonight's Purdey Awards ceremony, which will showcase some of the finest examples of real, practical conservation work carried out on game shoots nationwide.

There is no valid reason for the embargo in this release - no event, no new information. It's purely a device to manipulate the timing of media coverage.

This is a coincidence too far (remember their equally well timed press releases for the CLA Game Fair, etc?).

There is no longer any doubt in my mind. The RSPB intend to destroy shooting. It's war.

UPDATE: I had an email from Grahame Madge, RSPB media officer, saying that the timing of the release was coincidental. My reply follows...

From: Madge, Grahame
Sent: 19 November 2010 11:21
To: Marchington, James
Subject: Hen harrier release

Hi James, your suggestion that the RSPB issued the hen harrier press release to spoil tonight’s award ceremony does not fairly represent the situation. This coincidence is purely accidental. The Society does not want to see an end to shooting or to condemn all parts of the industry. In fact, we are always keen to work with those actively involved in conservation. However, we recognise that a few bad apples are tarnishing the shooting industry’s reputation. In the past, I have gone to considerable effort to praise those keepers who, for example, work alongside the recently reintroduced red kite. I hope to find further examples of good practice in future.
However, we will also continue to publicise illegal acts committed by the industry. Regrettably, there is a steady stream of persecution incidents continually coming to light to keep me busy.

Have a nice evening
Regards Grahame

From: Marchington, James
Sent: 19 November 2010 11:56
To: Madge, Grahame
Subject: RE: Hen harrier release

Hi Grahame,

Thanks for your email - I appreciate you taking the trouble to respond.

It's a complex issue, and I appreciate that RSPB does, on occasion, cooperate with shooting estates. The overall impression, however, is one of a sustained campaign of attrition, with shooting attacked on a number of fronts (general licences, lead shot, the emotively labelled "persecution", etc). The 'bad apples' message is lost on the general public, who would quite understandably infer from yesterday's release that shooting generally is responsible for wholesale slaughter of harriers and other birds of prey, and that shooting per se is a major threat to conservation.

If the RSPB is genuine about not wanting to see an end to shooting, and wanting to work with shooting estates, then it has a huge credibility gap to overcome. Its current communication and lobbying policies are driving a massive wedge between itself and shooters who are actively engaged in conservation work. Take for example your own words "we will also continue to publicise illegal acts committed by the industry"; these acts are not committed by "the industry", they are committed by criminals who are roundly condemned by "the industry" (it isn't one), a point that seems lost on the RSPB.

I hope one day we might see you issuing a press release about how Mark Avery presented the Purdey Awards and praised the splendid conservation work done by xyz shooting estate, but I fear that day is a long way off and we are currently heading in the opposite direction.

Best wishes,



Rebecca said...

I think the release makes it clear that the society is referring to the *illegal* killing of the birds. It's the landowners that are allowing this to happen that are the problem, surely?

PS How are you?

vicky said...

The trouble is all the RSPB ever bang on about is the killing of BOP like all gamekeepers are doing it all the time. Like we have buzzard drives or scatter posion laced bunnies every 50yards. They bandy about crap statistics on the increasing number of reports but don't follow up with the very much smaller number of proven crimes. They don't offer any useful advice to landowners, farmers and keepers who have problem BOP which threaten their livelihoods (as some undoubedly do). I am as against the illegal killing of BOP as much as the RSPB are but in harassing the shooting community all of the time they are alienaing a lot of like minded people! They should be there at the Purdey Awards congratulating shoots for saving a bird they don't seem to give two hoots about not knocking a sport which does more for conservation than any other. Next time I see one of their number with a collecting tin I might ask what exactly he's got his hands dirty for in a conservation effort this year. GRRRRRRRRR

Anonymous said...

WOW , that makes a change the shooting community getting bad press . No sorry what i meant to say well what a suprise we get the blame for the minority who damage the reputation of the rest . Yes maybe some people are having problems with BOP , but why not educate rather than blame , and i think the RSPB would be better off getting the fieldsports community on their side as we spend a lot of time out there and could help to report anything untoward . But if they keep on trying to damage the fieldsports community then they will lose an important link in helping to protect the wildlife of the countryside . So come on RSPB , start looking at the positive we give which far out way any negatives and try and give some positive feed back , you might find you get a lot more eyes on the ground willing to help .