GWCT refuses to address accusation of deliberate misrepresentation

In March we blogged about how Andrew Gilruth of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) had recently written letters to four media outlets (The Field, BBC Wildlife, The Scotsman, The Independent) and in each one he’d included the same quote, attributed to the RSPB, that would suggest to the reader that the RSPB is supportive of grouse moor management techniques:

The RSPB has been clear that the ‘management of land for grouse shooting has protected upland areas from the worst of over-grazing and blanket conifer plantations, while generating income for upland communities and forming a uniquely British form of cultural land use‘”.

We showed that Andrew Gilruth had cherry-picked that particular quote, out of context, from a 2006 RSPB publication:

We argued that Andrew Gilruth’s cherry-picking activity appeared to be so deliberately deceptive that his motive must have been to mislead the public – a serious accusation for an organisation with charitable status, and especially for one that prides itself on its so-called scientific integrity.

Since March, we’ve complained to the GWCT about this apparent deceptive misrepresentation on three separate occasions; twice to Teresa Dent (Chief Executive) directly and when she didn’t reply we sent a complaint to her via GWCT’s general email address ( No response.

We then looked at the GWCT’s complaints policy (here), which opens with ‘We want to find out about things that have gone wrong so we can fix them and prevent things going wrong in the future‘.

However, bizarrely it seems this policy doesn’t apply to criticisms of GWCT’s media statements! Right at the bottom of the GWCT complaints policy it says this: ‘This policy does not cover comments made in the media‘.


13 thoughts on “GWCT refuses to address accusation of deliberate misrepresentation”

  1. Great! Don’t let him get away with this. He is just one to deliberately mislead in the interests of the landed shooting lobby.

  2. I applaud your tenacity, GWCT clearly need holding to public account – keep going.

    What is the RSPB’s view on being misrepresented?

  3. I have always had problems with GWCT having anything to do with conservation and it is about time there motivations and whither they are a real trust are put under scrutiny.

  4. Yes please go for them. Their ‘scientific research’ is xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx it’s not science, it’s propaganda ! From a charity !

    [Ed: comment partly deleted as libellous]

  5. I’ve nearly always found the utterances of Gilruth to be misleading, designed to mislead or complete tripe ( I had thought of other blunter descriptions first!). G(W*)CT are the leading exponent of this disingenuous crap designed to protect the interests of minority in the game shooting cabal. Well past time this was formally challenged due to their charitable status, Well done. One hopes that Gilruth’s chickens or is that “Killtruths” grouse come home to roost as it were.
    * Wildlife in their case means things they can shoot or fish for and only that which does not predate or they otherwise think may affect game or fishery management negatively or things they can promote ( Curlew!) to cover the worst excesses of their otherwise unacceptable hobbies.

  6. Well done RPUK! Things like this just can’t be allowed to slip by unchallenged, so very, very easy to mislead people who accept things uncritically when it’s from a supposedly credible source. The RSPB is the incessant target for crap like this. One of the latest from the SGA is that the traps used by the RSPB for the stoat cull on Orkney are potentially being used illegally. That’s it, just a claim resulting from someone on Orkney who just happened to take a look at the traps from professional interest of course. What are the bets the allegations turn out to be groundless and the SGA doesn’t publicise this with the same enthusiasm that it’s tried to chuck a bit of mud? I wish the RSPB would just go ‘f*** it, no point trying to keep on good terms with this lot let’s just be no more than brutally honest with the public about what they really do and are like’.

  7. Great work. At one time the GWCT had some credibility even though it’s general support of the game shooting industry ultimately limited it’s objectivity. However, in recent years it has become little more than another shooting industry propagandist and lobbyist, engaging in blatant propaganda, denial of evidence, and an attempt to hoodwink the public. This example exposed by RPUK leaves the GWCT and Andrew Gilruth with zero credibility. It’s straight forward case of deception and an attempt to seriously mislead the public. If it was a genuine error, both the GWCT and Andrew Gilruth would have simply corrected. It’s difficult to think of a more blatant case of quoting out of context, of the type where there is a “proposition”, yet the “but” part”, questioning or contradicting this proposition is omitted, to make it falsely appear as if something entirely different has been stated.

    I think ultimately what this illustrates is that the RSPB needs to come off the fence and end it’s policy of neutrality over shooting. The shooting industry is clearly taking advantage of the RSPB by misrepresenting it’s position, and trying to give the false and misleading impression that the RSPB actively endorses shooting, and thinks it is a valuable force for conservation. This example perfectly illustrates this problem. In reality it should have been up to the RSPB to correct this complete misrepresentation of it’s position over driven grouse shooting, rather than leaving it to RPUK. It should have been a simple matter for the RSPB to correct and spell out it’s actual position, but the RSPB clearly frets that this would be seen as breaching it’s neutrality by appearing to condemn the grouse shooting industry. When the shooting industry is so clearly manipulating the RSPB’s neutrality to their own ends, by giving the false impression that the RSPB endorses it’s activities, when self-evidently it does not, it is incumbent on the RSPB to totally re-think it’s position over this. This clunky neutrality policy is allowing the public to be hoodwinked by the very manipulative and Machiavellian shooting industry and their representatives. It is after all the grouse shooting industry and it’s apologists which have put the RSPB in this position, by falsely implying that the RSPB endorses driven grouse shooting and it’s supposed contribution to conservation, rather than merely having a neutral position on this.

    1. Well said! The RSPB is going to be a punch bag for the GWCT, SGA and ilk until they are put on the defensive rather than being allowed to take the offensive position. There is clearly a massive negative effect on conservation from too many shooting activities and the RSPB is allowed to take issue with that, and it’s about time it did because it needs to worry about public support and perceptions rather than not ruffling the feathers of those who weren’t and never will be the friends of valid conservation organisations.l

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