Following the RSPB’s announcement on Thursday that three of this year’s satellite-tagged hen harriers have already ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances on three grouse moors (here), we predicted that the grouse shooting industry’s ‘leaders’ would respond with a wall of silence, just as they have previously (e.g. see here).
We weren’t wrong.
[One of the missing three: ‘Hilma’, photo by Steve Downing]
Two days on, after searching websites and twitter feeds, here’s how the ‘partners’ of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG, also known as the PAW Raptor Group) have responded:
Countryside Alliance – no public statement
BASC – no public statement
National Gamekeepers Organisation – no public statement
Moorland Association – no public statement
Country Land & Business Association – no public statement
Natural England – no public statement
DEFRA – no public statement
Northern England Raptor Forum – full public statement here
NERF’s statement is excellent, and as usual, it doesn’t pull any punches. It talks about the never-ending cycle of persecution on driven grouse moors and how the grouse shooting ‘partners’ of the RPPDG are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.
Why is this charade of ‘partnership-working’ still allowed to continue? It’s been running for seven years and absolutely nothing has changed. Nothing. Not one thing.
And nor will it, when the grouse shooting industry’s so-called leaders refuse to even publicise the raptor persecution hotline to encourage their members to report suspected raptor crime!
The RPPDG has a new Chair – Police Supt. Nick Lyall of Bedfordshire Police. We’ve been impressed with his willingness to listen – he contacted us directly and asked to talk – that’s never happened before. It’s clear that he wants to make a difference and understands that the status quo is unacceptable, but we don’t yet know what changes he intends to bring.
Although, he tweeted this afternoon that he intends to bring more conservation groups to the RPPDG and cited the Hawk & Owl Trust as one of them!
That’ll be the Hawk & Owl Trust that’s in bed with the grouse shooting industry in pursuit of the ludicrous hen harrier brood meddling scheme (here) and which is now facing two legal challenges from conservationists in the High Court in December (here); that lost its former President, Chris Packham, over the decision to partner with the grouse shooting industry on brood meddling (here); is prepared to turn a blind eye to the criminal activities of the driven grouse shooting industry when it suits (see here); is unwilling to be transparent about the illegal shooting of one of its own satellite-tagged hen harrriers (see here); and has been accused by its own members of being apologists for raptor persecution on driven grouse moors (here).
We look forward to a lively discussion with Nick later in the week!