National Gamekeepers’ Org’s resignation letter in full

Further to earlier blogs about the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) formally resigning from the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (here, here, here), the official resignation letter has now been published.

This is copied directly from the NGO’s website:

Oh, where to begin.

Let’s start with the intro blurb, and this statement:

The NGO remains committed to stopping raptor persecution and is already in new talks with Government and others to pursue an active agenda for consigning raptor persecution to the history books“.

Any guesses about what that “active agenda” might be? Do you think it might consist of gamekeepers lobbying for the inclusion of raptors on General Licences, to allow gamekeepers to kill them with impunity (to protect pheasants and grouse) and not face any criminal charges for their efforts? It’s a strategy the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association has been pushing for years – legalise the killing of raptors so no laws are being broken, just birds’ necks, wings and legs.

Now on to the letter itself. Charles Nodder clearly has grievances about the prior running of the RPPDG, but most of his complaints relate to the period before Nick Lyall took on the role as Chair in autumn last year, so it’s hardly fair to lay those complaints at Nick’s door.

One of the specific complaints from that period relates to “the leaking of minutes“. Doesn’t Charles understand that RPPDG minutes are available to the public via Freedom of Information requests? Sure, they’re a pain in the arse to get hold of because DEFRA is often uncompliant with FoI regulations and so there are long delays but eventually the details emerge. There’s no need for alleged leakages when the minutes can be legitimately accessed anyway. Which is how we eventually learned about the Moorland Association’s interest in obtaining licences to kill Marsh harriers, a discussion which some members of the RPPDG couldn’t recall taking place (here). Imagine that. You still want to talk about “dishonourable behaviour” by some organisations, Charles?

Another specific complaint relates to the publication of the RPPDG’s raptor persecution maps. These were published online in Dec 2017 and were criticised by those of us who could see through the greenwash (here). According to Charles’s letter, all members of the RPPDG had worked on the maps and agreed their content (emphasis is ours) prior to publication and it was “dishonourable” for two member orgs (NERF and RSPB) to later distance themselves from the work.

However, if you actually read the public statements made about the map work by both NERF (here) and the RSPB (here), you can see that both organisations had most definitely not agreed to the content that was formally published by the RPPDG so there was nothing “dishonourable” whatsoever about their later public statements. Both organisations felt their views had been misrepresented by the RPPDG and they were entilted to point that out.

Charles then turns his ire directly on to Nick Lyall and complains about some “unfortunate coverage in The Times in October” which Nick had apparently agreed to correct – we have no clue to what this refers so can’t comment.

Then Charles claims he had a discussion with Nick Lyall in recent days about new organisations being invited to join the RPPDG. Again, we don’t know the details of that alleged discussion and we’re certainly not going to take Charles’s claim as fact. But even if such a discussion did take place, why should Charles think he’s entitled to veto any potential new members and why on earth would he object specifically to representatives from groups as benign as BAWC, the Wildlife Trusts and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, all of whom are committed to wanting an end to the illegal killing of birds of prey? Besides, these organisations all attended the RPPDG workshop organised by Nick in November (see here) where new ideas were gathered from all sides about how to progress the RPPDG’s effectiveness. Why shouldn’t those organisations be invited to the next meeting where those ideas would be discussed in full?

Sorry, Charles, but your petulant letter of resignation reveals more than you probably would have hoped. The true colours of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation are laid out for all to see and it’s mostly a deep, dark, murky, muddy brown.

Good riddance.

9 thoughts on “National Gamekeepers’ Org’s resignation letter in full”

  1. It is really quite shocking that an organisation, many (Ed: some] of whose members seem to be such good shots when it comes to illegally dispatching birds of prey, can only shoot themselves in their feet when trying to pretend they are actually working to stop their members from illegally killing protected birds of prey.

  2. To me this letter is that of a “spoiled brat” because misdeeds are being watched for. The illegal activity of some folk is more likely to be discovered with more watchers.

    The resignation of the NGO from a group determined to eradicate criminal activity against raptors, says a lot.

    I hope I see the end of driven game bird shooting, all its non-environmental activities and criminal activity, before my life ends.


  3. Clearly they’re scared of being outnumbered! The sentence ‘Little or nothing is being achieved except further division and time wasting’ intrigues me. This comes after the claim that the NGO ‘….. is already in new talks with Government and others to pursue an active agenda for consigning raptor persecution to the history books’. So who is being ‘divisive’ now – pursuing its own agenda with the Government on an issue that would surely be of interest to a wider audience. In the absence of any detail we are left guessing whether he’s referring to the pursuance of the ‘divisive’ matter of issuing licences to kill raptors which take advantage of the roofless release pens so widely used by members of the group which he represents. Maybe they’re seeking confirmation from the Government that putting defenceless pheasant poults in such pens to be (allegedly) massacred by predators does not constitute an animal welfare offence. As has been said elsewhere, maybe the easiest way to avoid the illegal persecution of wildlife is to remove its protection. If not this, might they be pushing another animal welfare issue by seeking to persuade the Government to require that the checking of tunnel-traps should be brought into line with the requirements for the daily inspection of snares and live-capture traps – so effectively reducing the number of traps and snares which a keeper can legally manage. I think not! It remains to be seen what they’re up to. As things stand, they’ve certainly done themselves no favours in their latest move.

    1. I am waiting with eager anticipation for the report of the Grouse Moor management group of the Scottish parliament, in the hope that Scotland will once again set the example to the rest of the UK on licencing and control of driven bird shooting. If the law does not adequately protect our most vulnerable wildlife it must be changed.

  4. Every thinking person must believe the majority that kill raptors and other wildlife are gamekeepers that’s what the profession exists for and protected by their bosses the rich landowners. Why cannot the Police catch them ? because they are protected by the Authorities Police Magistrates and the Tory Govt just as Fox Hunters Deer killers and Badger butchers are. Its amazing how Travellers and Squatters cannot be moved as trespass is a civil matter but sabs can without a court order Hunts can cross your propery cause damage even kill yourpets at will with impunity.

  5. Is it too much to hope that ‘talks with government’ result in the response that as the RPPDG is the government vehicle for attempting to tackle raptor persecution (although hitherto its been ‘long grass’) that said government firmly direct the NGO back to the Group. It will then be up to Nick Lyall and the other members to decide if the NGO offer anything in pursuit of the Group’s objectives.

  6. Hopefully the chair of RPPDG will be asking DEFRA for an explanation of why they are holding meetings about raptor protection outwith the RPPDG? Or at least for copies of the minutes of the meetings. All concerned parties are bound to have an interest.

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