Regular blog readers may recall us writing previously about the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation’s unwillingness to expel a member who had been convicted of poison offences (see here).
We found this interesting, especially as the NGO is an organisational member of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW UK) – supposedly committed to helping tackle wildlife crime. Refusing to expel a member with a criminal conviction for, er, wildlife crime, should surely have resulted in PAW UK booting them off the Partnership? Apparently not – the NGO is still there.
And now we have evidence of the NGO’s connection with another convicted wildlife criminal – Michael Wood. We blogged about Michael Wood yesterday – he’s the pheasant/partridge/duck breeder in North Yorkshire who was found guilty of permitting the use of a banned pole trap at his breeding facility – Westfield Farm. In fact, a total of FIVE pole traps had been found there, but two of Wood’s employees escaped a criminal trial because North Yorks Police decided their crimes only merited a police caution.
Thanks to some investigative work by one of our blog readers (Marco McGinty), it turns out that the NGO accepted a fundraising donation from Michael Wood for their 2014 auction. Now, Wood hadn’t been convicted of the pole-trapping offence at that time, but he had been convicted, along with his company Yorks Sports Ltd., of seven offences under the Wildlife & Countryside Act in 2011 – these offences related to the unlawful release of thousands of pheasants (for shooting) which caused ‘significant damage’ to a noted conservation area in the Farndale valley (see here). So why did the NGO accept a fundraising donation from him in 2014?
Not only that, but as we mentioned yesterday, the NGO’s PR and political advisor, Charles Nodder, is also the Game Farmers’ Association’s contact for media and political enquiries. The current Chair of the Game Farmers’ Association is…..Michael Wood.
And let’s not forget the NGO’s recent attack on another PAW UK partner organisation – the RSPB (see here).
Isn’t it time the PAW UK Steering Group is asked to justify the continued membership of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation as a partner member of PAW UK? Let’s ask them. Emails will have to be sent to the PAW UK Secretariat and ask for your message to be forwarded to the Steering Group. Emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll be very interested to hear what the Steering Group has to say.