Shooters speak out against raptor persecution

not in my nameThere have been very few examples of people within the shooting industry turning against the raptor killers. Oh sure, the representative game-shooting organisations will often trot out a statement or two following the latest atrocity to have been uncovered on land managed for game-shooting, but we rarely believe their sincerity. Why? Because their statements of ‘condemnation’ are often accompanied by outlandish claims such as the poisoned eagle carcass had been ‘planted’ [by anti-shooting campaigners], or the shot red kite must have been shot miles away and it just happened to fly to a grouse moor and die there.

In addition to such claims, there are quite a number of estates that are notorious for the frequency with which illegally-killed raptors are discovered, and yet these estates are not blacklisted by the industry. The representative organisations point to a lack of criminal convictions as a defence for not blacklisting, when we all know, and they know, too, how difficult it is to secure a conviction in this particular arena of crime. That excuse might be convincing for a single incident, but when those persecution incidents keep occurring, time and time again, year after year, sometimes decade after decade, on the same estates, then the excuse simply becomes ridiculous. Some of the estates do actually have convictions against their staff, and yet still they’re not shunned by the game-shooting community. That’s really quite telling.

How refreshing then, to see some recent examples of individual people from within the shooting industry standing up and speaking out against raptor crime.

We blogged about one such incident earlier in the week – where a Facebook user was reported to the police by a community of individual shooters after he posted information suggesting he had killed a sparrowhawk that was ‘stalking’ his friend’s racing pigeons – see here.

Now there are two more examples. This time, individual shooters writing letters to the Shooting Times to condemn the continuing persecution of raptors on driven grouse moors. The last paragraph of the first letter sums it up for us:

To those who are worried about their sport being further regulated, my suggestion is not to look to the RSPB, SSPCA and RSPCA or the more extreme animal rights groups. Look to the heather-clad glens of Angus or the Yorkshire Moors. The people responsible for your sport being banned are there“.

The two letters can be read below – thanks to Ronnie Graham for sending us the details:

Ronnie Graham’s letter: Shooting Times (R. Graham letter)

G. Porter’s letter in response: Shooting Times (G. Porter reply)

5 thoughts on “Shooters speak out against raptor persecution”

  1. The other reason to remain cynical about shooting organisations crocodile tear responses to persecution incidents, is that nearly all incude a statement about wanting to “control” protected species under licence [viz licensed killing of buzzards], sometimes even saying they “understand the frustration” of the killers. That doesnt help stop anyone.

  2. Congratulations to R.Graham and G. Porter for writing these letters, unfortunately I note that they didn’t make it to ‘letter of the week’. Let us hope that it encourages many more individuals to do the same.

  3. Complements to the people having the guts to speak out in the shooting press, lets hope it encourages even more to speak out, unfortunately it’s highly unlikely they are the voices of the people who hold controlling power over the gamekeeper organisations, the politicians, the judges, the police, not to mention NE/SNH and dare I say it, the RSPB. The majority of the controlling power comes from the Red Grouse shooting estate owners in Scotland and northern England and they don’t show any signs of giving it up easily. In fact the persecution of Raptors on these estates seems to have increased rather than reduced in the last few years! When I start to hear people from these shooting estates speaking out loud and clear about the uncontrolled Raptor persecution then I’ll start to believe that change is in the air.

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