Failed Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative featured on BBC regional news

The Moorland Association’s plan to block publicity about the failed Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative has spectacularly backfired.

Journalists have picked up on the news that the RSPB has terminated its involvement with the project and yesterday evening the failed Initiative, and more importantly, the reasons behind its failure, featured prominently on several BBC regional news programmes including East Midlands Today and Look North.

The videos for both programmes are available on BBC iPlayer but only until 7pm this evening.

BBC East Midlands Today (here) – starts at 4.35

BBC Look North (here) – starts 10.00

Both programmes are worth watching if you get the chance as there are similarities but also differences. For example, David Hunt from the RSPB features in both programmes (and delivers a very strong message, calling out the Moorland Association by name. Well done!) whereas Steve Bloomfield from BASC only appears in the East Midlands programme and Amanda Anderson from the Moorland Association only appears in the Look North version.

For those who missed the archived footage, here are the relevant quotes:

David Hunt (RSPB):Instead of seeing numbers rise of peregrine and goshawk we’ve actually seen the numbers drop over the lifespan of the Initiative, and against all of that there’s been a refusal from one of the partners in the Initiative, the Moorland Association, to acknowledge that one of the leading contributing factors in this drop in numbers is illegal killing of birds of prey“.

Steve Bloomfield (BASC):We share their [the RSPB’s] frustrations and I think this needs to be a wake up call for the shooting community that these issues are going on and causing problems. There are huge amounts of benefits to the shooting interests on these estates to other wildlife. We musn’t lose that“.

Amanda Anderson (Moorland Association):We’re all really disappointed that they’ve [the RSPB] left this really important collaborative Initiative. We all want the same thing, and that’s a sustainable, healthy assemblage of birds of prey across the Peak District National Park. We just differ in our view of how to achieve that“.

In the Look North programme, the BBC reporter Mark Ansell closed with this:

“The Peak District National Park Authority declined to be interviewed but they have said in a recent report that the Bird of Prey Initiative has failed to meet its targets. They go on to say that there is confirmed evidence of raptor persecution, and in a statement they say they’ll be looking for an increase in birds in the breeding season before committing to working with the other organisations in the Initiative beyond 2018”.

32 thoughts on “Failed Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative featured on BBC regional news”

  1. One comment really stands out for me, and that was Amanada Anderson’s “We all want… a sustainable, healthy assemblage of birds of prey across the Peak District National Park. We just differ in our view of how to achieve that.“ Surely there are only two fundamental ways of beginning to achieve it, the most obvious being for the grouse shooting industry to stop killing hen harriers and other raptors! I’d suggest the only realistic option for success is to ban all grouse shooting, by removing the species from the quarry list. A radical suggestion perhaps, compared to those who wish only to ban driven grouse shooting, but experience tells me that walked-up grouse shooting will inevitably take its place. This would make little significant difference to raptor persecution or the environmentally damaging management of grouse moors and the ongoing slaughter of mountain hares. If society insists on allowing grouse shooting to continue, there is only one possible compromise I can foresee which might satisfy a majority of both parties – a combination of SSSIs and Special Protection Areas for Hen Harriers or other Schedule 1 raptors where no shooting is permitted, while a limited number of non-SSSI grouse moors are regulated and licensed, and licenses suspended or withdrawn altogether if any raptor persecution is found to have taken place. Personally, I would remove the right to exercise native predator control, including crows and foxes, but that would almost certainly be unrealistic given the current level of general prejudice against predators.

    1. Iain

      Thanks again for some superb thought out policy views. Thanks also for your superb, knowledgeable comments on wildlife.

    2. Thanks for putting across what so many of us feel, so well Iain Gibson. We all want this horror show that is Grouse Shooting stopped, as they (shooting consortiums) don’t seem to want to put a stop to the merciless killing of other wildlife and Raptors, in order to increase shot Grouse numbers in each shooters bag by what? one or two grouse per gun per shoot? does that really make such a difference, perhaps 22 instead of 20… really? Again, thank you Iain and others too who are much better wordsmiths than myself for sure.

    3. Absolutely agree Iain Gibson, it’s time to stop this wonton slaughter of native wildlife including hares, corvids and fox’s. However, the budgetary support for the police’s National Wildlife Crime Unit would need to be substantially increased.

      1. It wouldn’t need an increase in the NWCU if the cost of a license was set at a level – say £10,000 p.a. Easily affordable for shoots where they already charge thousands per day per gun.

    4. Absolutely spot on Iain. Why can’t they shoot these creatures with cameras like the rest of us. Nobody is standing up for our right to shoot harmlessly. About time the RSPB stood up for my right to hunt HH’s with binos instead of talking to criminals for years on end.
      Now they have pulled out of this farce, it’s time for them to go the whole hog and blow the whistle of the lot of them.
      I noticed that neither programme made the point that these crimes have been going on for years.

    5. “We all want… a sustainable, healthy assemblage of birds of prey across the Peak District National Park. We just differ in our view of how to achieve that.“

      Yes indeed, it all depends how you define sustainable, healthy assemblage of birds of prey. If you start from the assumption that they are vermin then that will be none. Therefore differences of approach would be extermination, rather than recovery of a population.

    6. Iain

      A well thought out analysis that I completely agree with. Removing grouse from its current position in WCA is legally easy (but politically difficult). Licensing is ultimately so much stronger than a ban on DGS which, as you say, leaves other avenues wide open.

  2. Good coverage. Wee Amanda nae-pals looked like she had been rubbing onions in her eyes….I’d guess her days are numbered. The shadowy offshore figures who pull her strings will not be forgiving of failure.

    It would have been more entertaining if they dragged one of their “real” experts out of the swamp and put them in front of calm questioning.

  3. Nothing in there for the grousers to complain about. Clear facts are far stronger than their woolly denials, and whilst its certainly true that the public haven’t heard of raptor initiatives or blogs like this, they have definitely heard of the RSPB. They may still have a few years of fun killing everything that moves, but they can hear us coming over the hill and we are not going away. Well done to all involved.

  4. A.A. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx as usual while putting on her most sincere face for the camera, the face of mendacious desperation.

      1. Try thinking of Shooting and “Conservation” ( of the associated lifestyle and privileges that go hand in hand with shooting, ) and it makes more sense. It’s a convenient, and quite deliberate choice of a word, that generally means something completely different to the general population.

  5. Well said indeed Paul Fisher. I once saw a sign on a nature reserve in Devon saying “Take only photographs and leave only footprints” That is the way it should be in an allegedly civilised society in the 21st century. Those who selfishly spoil the peace and tranquillity of the countryside should return to living in caves where they belong.

    1. BASC seem to be in a strange position. It seems unlike most of their associates in the shooting industry that they have come to accept that the industry has a problem, yet at the same time they don’t seem that keen to help fix the problem.

      1. Compared to the SGA, Moorlands association and the NGA, the BASC seem to represent the moderates in the shooting industry. At least they appear to have the intelligence to realise that what is occuring on grouse moors is not in their long term interest

        1. BASC might be not quite so bad as the others, but that’s just comparatively speaking. We shouldn’t forget they actively promote the killing of wildlife for pleasure, including cynically enticing children into their ‘sport’ at an early age. I know we don’t all agree on the morality of such a hobby, but as far as I’m concerned it is both ethically and morally reprehensible and cruel, as well as causing unacceptable disturbance to the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. If we feel that way, we shouldn’t shy away from being open and honest about it. Scientific arguments have to be rigorously objective of course, supported by accurate high quality data and analysis. I’m most would agree that RPUK generally combines all of these qualities, especially regarding the use of reliable science, which is refreshing compared to the suspicious attitudes and frequent dishonesty of so many in the game shooting community.

      2. It’s called a fence and they are sat on it in public but in behind closed doors they are every bit on the shooting side

  6. Fantastic that the BBC picked up and ran the stories :) That the profile of the industry which is underpinned by illegal activity is in the spotlight is great news. Let’s make sure we keep it there and that the facts are made available to the MSM and we maintain the social media pressure.

    Well done to David Hunt, great that the RSPB have reacted thus.

    It would have been good if the presenter had raised the issue of illegal activity with AA but then maybe that’s me just wanting a quick death rather than death by the slow self inflicted lead shots circusmaxim and Northern Diver describe ;)

  7. Indeed but it’s a good point, what should they do? I admit, I haven’t given it a moment’s thought, but if you start from the premise that none of these organisations has any real control over their members, I wonder what powers BASC has except expulsion. Maybe they just need to become much more vocal in saying to their non-grouse-shooting members that the problems are just going to get worse unless they (both those members and BASC) just take a much much stronger line. But they probably can’t leap to that overnight.

  8. The thing is with the BASC, in my view they are more like (although they would hate this term) a Trade Union, being a member gives you insurance, legal help etc. And like Trade Unions they have to recognise the threats and move with the time (albeit very slowly). I welcome the all the recent comments from the them , they really do seam to realise that that DGS is threatening their interests, but how do they make the change (when I presume) a lot of their members are involved with DGS.

    I’m not a shooter but a fisherman, and I am neutral when it comes to hunting with guns, it has never appealed to me but each to their own. I have no problem with actual hunting i.e staking prey, and killing only what you will eat. but realising millions of targets so that people with no connection to the environment they are in ,to shoot at, is not hunting and it shouldn’t be what the BASC needs to be involved in. It will be interesting and important to see which way they eventually sway, will they break ranks?, or will they continue to toe the line and whatch their interests be dragged down.

  9. Good to get the story on the TV news and whatever the pleasure killing organisations said they look like villains xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx. BASC is changing to a more moderate role BUT they still have both members and employees who disagree with what was said, blaming bird of prey disappearance or breeding failure on interference or disturbance by birdwatchers has frequently been the modus operandi of staffer Duncan Thomas for example.
    The problem is found throughout the uplands we need to keep it exposed. Whilst I really dislike the idea of brood meddling we must make the most of it when it happens and get the message across. Well done David Hunt for getting the message out there.

  10. “We all want… a sustainable, healthy assemblage of birds of prey across the Peak District National Park. We just differ in our view of how to achieve that.“…

    Absolute rubbish. The whole concept of driven grouse shooting was based on killing all predators of grouse – and thats exactly what happened [and is still happening on many grouse moors] …everything from weasels, stoats and foxes to kestrels [!] buzzards and golden eagles. Entire ecosystems gutted to favour one species, red grouse. I do not believe that this Victorian fantasy “sport” is possible without the killing of large numbers of predators…and the shooters dont either. The problem comes down to one simple question – as a society do we want to see driven grouse shooting or raptors [or foxes, wild cats, pine martens, stoats and weasels for that matter]?….An “assemblage of birds of prey” to these people means a few merlins [and theyre not sure about them] and kestrels and maybe a golden eagle kept for show. ..this is and always has been about power, who gets to say what lives and dies.They despise our Laws and Governments [unless its one they elected]….Peak District, you are the new front line…..

    Oh yes, and…Ban Driven Grouse Shooting.

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