Shooting Times fakes conflict between Chris Packham & Royal family

Here’s the second distorted news item from this week’s Shooting Times (we blogged about the first one here and we’ll be blogging about the third, and most perhaps most disingenuous one next).

The editor’s stated emphasis on “communicating the truth and demanding high standards” seems to have fallen upon deaf ears again.

Here’s the article:

This time the unidentified author has come late to the party on Chris Packham’s CBE and his impending visit to the Palace but has regurgitated the crap published by The Telegraph on 22 January where it was suggested that Chris was going to “interrogate” the royals about grouse shooting. We debunked the Telegraph’s fake news at the time (here) but Shooting Times has published a similarly contorted piece, not quite as contrived as the Telegraph’s article but still with an inappropriately distorted headline.

Chris has not ‘taken aim’ at the royals – on the contrary, if you read his interview with the Radio Times he praises the bravery of the two princes for speaking out about mental health and says he intends to use his CBE “to open more doors and have more conversations“, emulating their courage by speaking out about issues that are important to him.

How’s that ‘taking aim’ at the royals?

Shoddy, Shooting Times, very shoddy. And not dissimilar to the alleged ‘dirty tricks’ and smear campaigns levelled against Chris by others from within the game shooting sector.

22 thoughts on “Shooting Times fakes conflict between Chris Packham & Royal family”

  1. If they do contribute to conservation it’s not intentional as they are only interested in preserving game birds to kill. Let’s look at the damage they do, raptor persecution, habitat destruction and pheasants eating all the food native birds should be eating, not to mention rat infestation caused by feeders , the list goes on and on. I think we can manage without the good you supposedly do when we finally get shooting banned.

  2. As a member of the BTO, an ambassador for the Garden Birwatch Scheme and a ringer and ringing trainer, if I thought for a second that they in any way were supporting the shooting industry I would resign my memberships immediately. I joined the BTO because they are a disinterested scientific body – unlike the GWCT.

    1. I had to check my calendar when I read this, to make sure we hadn’t returned to George Orwell’s 1984. I have to admire Barney’s comment above, which is very down to earth and expresses without prejudice his feelings about the shooting activities of the Royals. They are not beyond criticism, especially the shooting of so many Red Grouse and the killing of large numbers of other gamebirds, which involves the rearing and release of many thousands of pheasants which cause an untold measure of ecological damage due to competition (for food) with other farmland and woodland native species. The so-called ‘sport’ of pheasant shooting results in the untimely early death of so many of our precious birds of prey. It was almost laughable when the game shooting bodies claimed responsibility for the widespread Buzzard “recovery,” which was actually induced by a nationwide long-lasting field vole “plague,” which lasted for about twenty years during the late 1900s into the early 2000s.

  3. ‘Understanding the contribution shooting makes to conservation’……why can I not understand that sentence?

    1. It’s purely a con, a sham to be treated as such. Unfortunately, if Les’s petition leads to parliamentary review, it will be wide open to interference from the pro-shooting lobby, apparently most of whom within Government are Tory supporters of traditional ‘country sports.’ However if it turns out to be researched wholly impartially, there has to be some hope for success. Mark Avery’s e-petition against grouse shooting led to very little progress, due to the astonishing capacity for elected members’ (mainly Tories) to invent convenient “anti-facts” about Hen Harriers. Anyway, the fight for justice and environmental responsibility continues, especially thanks to RPUK, Mark Avery and activists like Les Wallace. If only they could get more back-up from hobby birdwatchers, and especially RSPB, who are constrained by their Royal Charter from criticising so-called country sports, i.e. killing wildlife for recreational entertainment.

  4. ‘For God and Empire’!!
    What a backward union of countries we live in.

    They appear to be insinuating that Chris stepped down from the BTO because it ‘understand[s] the contribution shooting makes to conservation’ but it is the Shooting Community which has that ‘respect’ it has no connection to Chris. It is a very tricky sentence. Actually i didn’t realise that they could be that clever. They have conflated two totally separate sentences and by throwing in the initial word ‘Interestingly’ given it a sinister meaning.
    I know it has been reported that Chris resigned from the Hawk and Owl Trust because of their involvement in the HH Action Plan but i don’t remember anything about the reasons for him steeping down after 5 years as BTO President and i couldn’t find anything from a web-search. It appears to be totally amicable.
    I would be personally interested because i am inclined to think that the BTO are naive to think they can be apolitical. It is well known that Andy Clements is also a Board Member of a failing Natural England. I doubt that any human can keep those two roles separate and yet that is what we are supposed to believe. I want the BTO to be more political. It is possible to be scientific and political, Climate Science has taught us that. When there is an emergency, scientists have a duty to shout out.

    1. ‘Interestingly’ the RSPB has many times repeated that grouse moors have some positive contributions to the environment. I wonder why the Shooting Times don’t show the same ‘respect’ to them?
      The Shooting Times appears to think that the BTO can be their obliging puppet but not the RSPB.

      1. I have to disagree: I have little respect for Andy Clements (anyone who sends you a letter marked “From the office of Andy Clements” is too far up his own backside for my tastes; any executive who thinks they can just ignore letters of concern from their members has outlived their usefulness to the organisation) but the BTO is apolitical for a very good reason: when it makes a statement it is listened to because it does not have a predetermined axe to grind.

        The way I look at it is: the BTO provide the ammunition, the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts fire the weapons. In that way nobody can question the value of the BTO’s data and analyses.

        1. I see your point but you have to wonder when the Sporting Times thinks you are best buddies, there might something askew. I agree that independent science is what we need but when that independence is used as a weapon i get worried The SNH Raven report this week is a case in point. It was great that the BTO stood up against false claims by the grousers a couple of years ago. Some of the BTO studies i have looked at cite other sources for this claim that grouse shooting is beneficial to ecosystems but when you trace many of these sources the claim is no more than an opinion by someone like Potts but with no science to back it up. To my knowledge there has never been a full study looking at ALL the aspects of grouse shooting as a whole and until that is done i don’t think the RSPB or the BTO should be able to freely claim that is beneficial without a heap of caveats. I realise that many times they do just that.

          1. I don’t disagree. Hence the need for a successful result from the petition for a full economic study of grouse shooting. Of course, it should cover commercial, ecological and criminal aspects of grouse shooting. This should be carried out by a team untainted by previous association.

          2. I contacted Martin Harper some time ago and said the RSBP should have a self imposed ban on it making any comments re the conservation benefits of shooting until it’s carried out a FULL ecological audit. With pheasant and partridge shooting that would begin at looking at how much land here and abroad is being intensively farmed to produce feed to raise artificially bred birds and provide supplementary feeding. Given how few of these birds enter the human food supply this is a major food waste issue, and I struggle to see how any pheasant or partridge shoot that requires feed is a conservation asset – they drive intensive agriculture!

            1. Having lived long enough to witness the never-ending annual increase in the release of artificially reared pheasants, it appears not to be just the feed produced for them that is most significant. At least this has some, albeit very little, benefit to the human food chain. However, estates who release a sudden rush of young pheasants in autumn can have a damaging impact on the availability of sufficient food for many native passerines (especially Skylarks and Chaffinches), crows and geese to fatten up for the impending winter. Populations of breeding passerines in particular suffer particularly badly. Early harvesting and ploughing adds significantly to the impact of feeding pheasants. It is noticeable that on my ‘patch’ Grey Partridges have all but disappeared, apparently largely due to competition from pheasants rather than red-legged partridges. A walk in the countryside within striking distance of my home has become severely impoverished of many farmland passerines for at least twenty years now (my experience in counting farmland birds has lasted for 50 years).

              1. It was actually some commentator on this site years ago who mentioned that pheasants being large, aggressive birds must cause a lot of hassle for native ground nesters. I was a bit embarassed that I’d never thought of that it was so obvious once mentioned. Later that year Bert Burnett actually posted a ‘wildlife’ video of a pheasant and lapwing fighting, I wish I’d got round to watching it at the time – I think he may have hastily removed it when the penny dropped. Keith Brockie said that last year he saw a group of ten lapwing trying to stop a pheasant eating one of their chicks. Imagine the impact if just one person manages to catch that behaviour on film!?! It wouldn’t have to be that common a habit when you have 35 million pheasant for it to be very bad news for waders. The full ecological and conservation issues from releasing 50 million game birds into the countryside must be drastic. I believe someone calculated the biomass is equivalent to a million Thomson’s gazelles. I don’t know how practical it would be, but interesting if a scheme was developed to collect roadkill pheasant and examine their crop/gizzard/stomach contents. What would that show?

                1. My local Wildlife Trust have been trying to reintroduce adders to a site. They keep finding them dead with signs of pheasant inflicted damage: pecked and clawed

                  1. I’ve heard of sand lizard colonies being eaten out by pheasant too. Apologies if you’ve read this before, but since you mention adders a conservationist called Pete Minting recalls in his book ‘Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science ‘ that he was manning a stall for reptile/amphibian conservation at a Highland show in 2014 when a prominent landowner on seeing a big image of an adder proudly exclaimed ‘We kill hundreds of those on our estate every year!’

  5. The fact is our Press is a disgrace………it needs to be reformed. This article is tip of a broad and deep iceberg. The Daily Mail for example performs less well than re truth RT ! We are about to start paying a heavy financial and social price for the pandering to class and prejudice that describes most our offshore owned papers re Brexit………our “Press” has a subservience to financial interests owned offshore and the brute power of inherited wealth and land ownership. Land reform should be at the top of any perceptive observers wish list….it is the feudal power at the heart of Parliament and our unwritten constitution and all this is entirely pertinent to the willful destruction of birds of prey and the difficulty here of obtaining justice in our laws that try to constrain feudal power.

    1. we are leaving the EU because their laws and practice increasingly challenged the longstanding hegemony of the British ruling class to do as they please on their land and/or particularly their money re trusts and offshore interests, It is EU law that is the most effective protection of the environment and wildlife sites and it was the EU Commission that increasingly was focusing on the City and offshore finance as a/the centre of global tax evasion vis Cameron and UK veto as UK also vetoed a cap of CAP subsidies over 300g in 2013. The scandalous treatment of predators on their sporting land is the tip of a much wider attitude to society. The EU is probably better off without us; wildlife and environmental protection and the British people will be worse off until the UK has addressed De Gaulle “pas du tout communautaire” to Macmillan. The subservience of Blair before Murdoch, the Barclays et al and reform of the Press was Blair’s greatest failure.

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