Last Thursday (10th August 2017) North Yorkshire Police issued an appeal for information about several armed men, dressed as gamekeepers, who had been filmed trying to shoot a nesting Marsh harrier on a Yorkshire grouse moor in May. Some more armed men, still dressed as gamekeepers, were also filmed removing eggs from the Marsh harrier’s nest.
The Police appeal for information about the crimes, and an RSPB blog about the crimes, can be found here. The RSPB’s video footage of the crimes can be viewed here:
Four days on, we were interested to find out what the leading representatives of the grouse shooting industry have had to say about these crimes so we checked the following website news sections:
Moorland Association – nothing
National Gamekeepers Organisation – nothing
Countryside Alliance – nothing
British Association for Shooting & Conservation – nothing
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – nothing
No condemnation of these crimes. No appeals for information about these crimes from within their industry. Just a complete wall of silence. We even asked the Moorland Association whether this grouse moor was a member, and we asked the National Gamekeepers Organisation whether they had any members employed on this grouse moor. The responses? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
It’s the same deafening silence that followed the discovery of a poisons cache buried on another North Yorkshire grouse moor (see here).
Isn’t it great to see these ‘partners’ in the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW) speaking out and doing their utmost to fight against illegal raptor persecution? It’s yet more evidence that the whole ethos of ‘partnership working’ against raptor persecution is nothing more than a sham.
Actually, how does this collective silence meet with the requirements of being a PAW member?
Let’s look at the PAW mission statement first:
‘Working in partnership to reduce wildlife crime through prevention and awareness-raising, better regulation, and effective and targeted enforcement‘.
Now let’s look at the PAW objectives:
- PAW will raise awareness of wildlife legislation and the impacts of wildlife crime
- PAW will help and advise on wildlife crime and regulatory issues
- PAW will ensure all wildlife crime is tackled effectively.
- All PAW members of PAW UK should take action in support of these overarching objectives
How does refusing to comment about raptor persecution crimes meet with any of the PAW objectives?
Some of these PAW members (all of them except the GWCT) are also members of the England & Wales PAW subgroup, the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG). This is the group that DEFRA has identified as being integral to their highly controversial Hen Harrier Recovery Plan. Part of the RPPDG’s role is to provide publicity about raptor persecution, in order ‘to build trust and transparency’. Strange then, that we haven’t found any statement from the RPPDG about the persecution of Marsh harriers on this North Yorkshire grouse moor.
We were interested to read about a few hundred Hunt Saboteurs ‘sabbing’ (disrupting) a couple of grouse shoots this last weekend. As the shooting industry members of the PAW Partnership continue to deliver nothing at all, don’t be surprised to see more of this direct action approach in the months and years ahead.