Stench of hypocrisy from critics of Wild Justice’s latest legal challenge

Last Thursday non-profit organisation Wild Justice announced its latest legal challenge, this time against DEFRA for failing to assess the ecological impact of releasing millions of non-native game birds such as Pheasants and Red-legged Partridge in to the countryside every year.

The response from members of the game-shooting industry has been predictably abusive but also, in many cases, a furious backlash reaction to what they think Wild Justice is doing, rather than what Wild Justice is actually doing. For the avoidance of doubt, Wild Justice is asking DEFRA to carry out a review of the ecological impact of releasing millions of non-native game birds in to the countryside every year. Wild Justice is not taking DEFRA to court to ban pheasant and red-legged partridge shooting!

Anyway, back to those responses from the game shooting industry. Mark Avery has effortlessly sliced and diced the main responses (see here) and this is well worth a read. But there’s something else worth noting about the industry’s responses that can be expanded upon from Mark’s entertaining critique, and that’s the rancid stench of hypocrisy emanating from the critics’ mouths.

You’ll note that BASC has labelled Wild Justice’s latest legal challenge as ‘another extremist attack’ [on shooting] and the Shooting Times called it an ‘attack’ and ‘childish eco-politics’:

It’s worth remembering that Wild Justice is simply exercising a right to utilise an open, democratic process to challenge the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body. Not exactly the work of ‘extremists’ and not exactly an ‘attack on shooting’.

It’s also worth remembering that the game bird shooting industry has also exercised its right to utilise this open, democratic process to challenge the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body. And not just once!

For example, in 2014 gamekeeper Ricky McMorn requested a judicial review of Natural England’s decision to refuse him a licence to kill buzzards to protect his pheasants (see here). Mr McMorn’s case, financially supported by the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), was successful. However, if you read the Shooting Times articles about his case (here and here), you won’t find Mr McMorn being accused of launching an attack, or of being an extremist, or of engaging in childish eco-politics. Funny, that.

Indeed, deputy editor of the Shooting Times, Joe Dimbleby wrote:

This landmark ruling should set a precedent for a more sensible approach to licencing. No doubt there will be outcry from the normal quarters, but the case has revealed the law of the land not being followed because of special interest pressure‘.

And then in 2016 Raeshaw Estate in the Scottish Borders took a judicial review against SNH’s 2015 decision to withdraw the use of the General Licence on Raeshaw Estate based on evidence that raptor persecution crimes had taken place there (see here). The estate lost its case in 2017. We couldn’t find any online news reports from the game shooting industry about this case and no mention of Raeshaw Estate (or its sporting manager, Mark Osborne) being accused of launching an attack, or of being an extremist, or of engaging in childish eco-politics. Funny, that.

We did find a job advert for a beat keeper at Raeshaw in the Nov 2017 edition of Shooting Times – we’re pretty sure that advert wouldn’t have appeared if the Shooting Times had a dim view of the estate or of Mr Osborne.

And then more recently (December 2018) three organisations from the game shooting industry applied for a judicial review of the Welsh Government’s statutory agency Natural Resources Wale’s decision to ban pheasant shooting on public land. Here’s a copy of the press release from BASC’s own website:

Incidentally, their application for a judicial review was refused because they’d applied too late.

We read a news report of this case in the 20 March 2019 edition of Shooting Times and there was no mention of the three organisations being accused of launching an attack, of being extremists, or of engaging in childish eco-politics. Funny, that.

Amusingly, BASC even records its participation in this failed legal action as a ‘Key Achievement in 2018’ (here).

It’s worth remembering these three legal challenges, and the outright hypocrisy of the game shooting industry the next time you see them accusing Wild Justice of being extremists for, er, also taking on legal challenges.

An even better way of showing your support for Wild Justice is to contribute to its crowdfunder to raise £44,500 to take this latest legal challenge all the way through the courts. So far over £24,000 has been donated. If you’d like to support this case, please click here.

Thank you.

16 thoughts on “Stench of hypocrisy from critics of Wild Justice’s latest legal challenge”

  1. Great exposé of hypocrisy!
    Contributed to Crowdfunder – brilliant!
    DEFRA should not have needed prodding to do this!

  2. “a furious backlash reaction to what they think Wild Justice is doing, rather than what Wild Justice is actually doing”

    I would seriously question whether any informed person in the shooting lobby i.e. the shooting organizations, the shooting press or any of the vocal activists, really believe their own claims that Wild Justice are out to ban pheasant and partridge shooting. This is because it’s so easy to check as to what Wild Justice are actually doing, and why. What is more, you know very well that all these people would carefully check what Wild Justice was actually doing, to see how they might be effected.

    We’ve seen this self-same tactic used by the shooting lobby, over and over again, most prominently during the General Licence issue. The informed shooting lobby cannot possibly be so stupid for this to be a mistake. I say it is a deliberate tactic i.e. they are knowingly lying, to:

    A) Enrage ordinary shooters who do not shoot on these expensive driven shoots overstocked with massive amounts of pheasants i.e. they want ordinary shooters to mistakenly think their sport is under threat, so they will by up in arms. Whereas if these ordinary shooters understood that this is just an examination of the impacts of the increasing numbers of pheasants being overstocked on expensive shoots they will never shoot on, they might not be minded to be too concerned about it.

    B) To portray those behind the legal measures as extremists, to prevent the public sympathising with them in a crude attempt to turn the public against them, or sections of the public, by deceiving the public into believing these people are extremists with a hidden agenda that they are not, and which they do not have.

    In other words this is not a genuine error, but these vocal people in the shooting lobby are being cynically disingenuous and dishonest in a crude attempt to protect the vested interests of a minority of wealthier shooters and commercial shoots, when otherwise there wouldn’t usually be much sympathy for those who arrogantly engage in damaging activities, which really do threaten the interests of ordinary shooters, by giving shooting a bad name.

    1. Steb1. you are assuming a level of intelligence which i seriously doubt they have.
      So yes i believe the majority are that stupid. Whether the people who write their guff believe it or not, they are catering to people who do.
      Have you ever heard any of these people say anything intelligent? I haven’t. Their arguments are batted down like flies by Mark and RPUK.

      The interview with Mark Avery in Fieldsports channel was enlightening.
      Yes the interviewer was quick witted but had a very low level of intelligence. His point was that if someone sees a Magpie taking a Long-tailed Tit in his garden then he is entitled to ignore the science and kill the Magpie to save his tits. He used this as a perfectly reasonable course of action. His whole defence seemed to be that scientific evidence is less important than, well, what ever you want to believe.

      There is a brilliant bit starting at 36.25 about the killing of Hen Harriers. When Mark mentions the NE study of sat-tagged Hen Harriers the interviewer tries to change the subject. Quite successful at the second attempt. But later Mark brings him back to it at 41.36. and says that HH have a 10 times more chance of disappearing on driven grouse moors. The interviewer’s explanation is utter nonsense about it being a long period of time and that keepering has changed and spins in to the 1930s and bad apples. I would love to have seen Mark ask him to explain that fatality rate because then the discussions spins off more into the bad apple trope.
      The really give away is at 39.48 when Mark asks ‘would you like to get rid of gamekeepers who are breaking the law’ the interviewer answers ‘That…is…absolutely….[Shaking his head]…Everybody says that. ..We, we..we….Every…Every in shooting errr who says err who comes out and says says things err we do not support raptor persecution’
      When Marks says ‘Well they do say that’ the interviewer says ‘what are we supposed to do?’

      Absolutely incredible how tongue tied he got answering that very simple question, and the language. He didn’t answer the question only said what people are saying and the shaking of the head, a brilliant series of freudian slips.

      Does this guy consciously believe in what he is saying i don’t know but his subconscious definitely doesn’t!

      1. My ‘favourite’ bit was where Jacoby tried to imply that the turtle dove is declining because of competition with the collared dove. The solution to the fall in turtle dove numbers then would be killing collared doves of course. Apparently there’s an old sayng ‘when you have a hammer every problem is a nail’ which really sums up the shooting community.

        1. Yes and his response to shrug off any comment Mark made to correct him with a shrug and a phew, truth huh, that nonsense. It is a kind of psychological bullying. You have to go to public school to learn that kind of arrogance but i’m only guessing.

        2. There’s a superb book, ‘Wilding’, by Isabella Tree, about the Knapp state in Sussex reverting to more natural management. It has a chapter about Turtle Doves, and features one on its cover. That chapter has the briefest mention of Collared Doves, and a lot of discussion about shooting on migration, habitat changes, altered food supply and the like.

          I’m part-way through it.

          Does Mr Jacoby read books?

          1. Yeah it’s a cracking book I’ve read it twice now, Jacoby’s idiotic remark just shows his ignorance matches his arrogance. Isabella makes an absolutely fantastic point that I wish everybody raised at the beginning of any discussion about farming and ecological restoration, one third of the world’s food goes to waste. Cut that and we can very easily give land up for rewilding especially marginal agriculture in the uplands that’s being subsidised at the same time we have an obesity crisis and in the UK chuck 12.5 billion quid’s worth of food away every year. How would Jacoby deal with that if it was thrown it at him – food going to landfill is hardly helping curlews, but less intensive agriculture would. The NFU despite all their talk of maintaining food security and therefore the need to keep public money rolling in for farmers, never mention cutting food waste. Well, well isn’t that strange? We need to keep roasting them with this, but hardly ever do. Another thing is they continually talk about fairness for people who produce our food, meaning farmers, but never farm labourers. That pisses me off too. Be good if we put them on the back foot more often.

      2. For clarity, that’s why I said “informed person”. Yes there are lots of unthinking types in the shooting world who have never really thought about these things and just accept whatever they are told. But then there are some very clever and intelligent types, often quite Machiavellian, expert in sophistry. They are quite capable of being everything to everyone, and telling conservationists what they want to hear. It’s very difficult in practise to distinguish between a stupid person pursuing a stupid argument, and a clever and informed person using a stupid argument to manipulate others and to disrupt the conversation.

  3. Superb! Presumably shooting organisations believe such procedures are only meant for them, just as many of them believe they are exempt from other parts of the law.

  4. What a game changer Wild Justice proves to be, and no wonder the shooting fraternity are in such utter chaos. For how long have they been the source of raptor persecution and ecological desecration, aided and abetted by the government, the demise of NE, of SNH and with NGO’s hamstrung to take up the challenge. With government bodies unfit for purpose and failing to do the very job they are there to do, with Membership NGO’s unwilling to take bold steps to do what is right and what they should stand for we have been in desperate need of a means to challenge these huge ecological imbalances. We have needed Wild Justice to fight the corner for wild justice for a very long time, how on earth has it taken so long for us to get here, it’s blindingly obvious as the way forward, with hindsight.

    What we are seeing now is the squirming and the outbursts of the game and grouse industry having to face realities which they have been able to ignore.
    This is nothing to do with getting shooting banned just challenging shootings extremist action of environmental impact.

  5. The Shooting Times article suggests a cozy relationship with NE whether true or not. But if the former it could explain why NE is so quick to issue licences to kill. Or it could just be Shooting Times shooting their mouths off, again. Happy to support all your actions.

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