Conservationists Packham & Avery risked ‘violence from shooters’ at Game Fair, according to shooting industry reps

Good grief, you couldn’t make this up.

A couple of weeks ago Mark Avery & Chris Packham were invited to participate in a question & answer session at this weekend’s Game Fair.

They’d been invited (and had accepted the invite) by Charlie Jacoby, someone who claims to be a journalist but who doesn’t seem to have any comprehension of the value of research, of fact-checking nor of libel laws. But that’s for another day. Jacoby’s shortcomings are not the subject of this blog.

Jacoby is hosting a series of talks, interviews and debates in the Game Fair Theatre and he wanted to drill Mark and Chris on the work of Wild Justice. It was all set to go, until Tuesday evening when Mark and Chris were told that the Game Fair officials had banned them from participating, after pressure from BASC, Countryside Alliance and GWCT – you can read about this on Mark’s blog (here).

It’s also worth checking out the statement issued by BASC, accusing Chris (and presumably Mark) of being ‘extremists’. It’s an odd accusation from an organisation that wrote a guest blog for Mark earlier this year (here)!

Many are seeing this as a massive own goal by the game shooting industry (because it is! What are they scared of?) and there’s plenty of lively debate about it on social media. But there’s also something else that might have contributed to the organisers’ decision.

Check out this email, screen grabbed from a dreadful video by Jacoby who was trying to explain to his viewers why the Game Fair organisers had scuppered his plans for a debate:

The email is from Jacoby, sent to Tim Bonner (CEO Countryside Alliance), James Gower (Managing Director of the Game Fair), Ian Bell (CEO BASC) and Teresa Dent (CEO GWCT and Natural England board member).

Ignore the uninformed (and wholly inaccurate) commentary about Panorama and town hall events – these are simply a figment of Jacoby’s paranoia and Mark will be blogging about this later today.

But check out that statement we’ve underlined in red:

“I agree we risk violence from shooters”.

Violence? From shooters? Surely not! Aren’t we repeatedly told that anyone with a firearms or shotgun certificate has to be an upstanding member of the community, to be of no threat to anyone’s safety, and certainly not to have a tendency for violence?

It’s an astonishing admission from the game shooting industry, that the mere sight of Mark and Chris at the Game Fair could trigger an explosion of violence from volatile members of this so-called law-abiding community.

Let’s hope the Game Fair organisers have good indemnity insurance if their audience includes so many hysterical homicidal uncontrollable thugs- just imagine the bloodshed if they run out of Pimms in the VIP tent or if someone spots a salad on the burger van menu. It’ll be carnage!

UPDATE: Just when you thought their PR car crash couldn’t get any worse……have a look at this (here).

28 thoughts on “Conservationists Packham & Avery risked ‘violence from shooters’ at Game Fair, according to shooting industry reps”

  1. Chris and Mark weren’t the only ones who were to be questioned by Jacoby and who have since been told not to come.

    1. Yes there’s also Jay Tiernan. Jacoby did an interview with him after his ‘interrogation’ of Mark, but it was noticeable how restrained he was with Jay. Jacoby clearly didn’t realise talking over Mark and trying to put words in his mouth wasn’t very clever. Jay would fit far more people’s definition of an extremist yet he came out of the interview looking reasonable, honest and intelligent compared to Jacoby – no wonder certain people were scared shirtless of Jay, Chris and Mark speaking at the Game fair. Jacoby’s video about the ban was truly abysmal and I don’t think you’d need to know much about the subject matter itself to realise this guy seems to live on a different planet from the rest of us. I’ve always said if the general public were forced to sit down and watch three hours of the ‘Fieldsports’ Channel then hunting, fishing, shooting in this country would be in for a big shake up. Well now that FC is little by little pushing into the more public domain that’s only good news for us. As one of the most zealous, self appointed mouthpieces for shooting Jacoby is actually going to become an increasing liability for his own community – the video and email on it speak volumes as to why.

  2. Research has established a strong connection between abuse towards animals, and abuse towards people. Given that game keepers spend up to 80 per cent of their time killing what they call “vermin” but what others see as part of our rich natural heritage, it is unsurprising that violence is never far from the surface. Fox hunting is another blood sport where violence directed towards those who oppose is a characteristic of most Hunts.
    I believe this aspect should receive more publicity as lots of the non shooting fraternity have been at the other side of their aggression, verbally if not physically. What magnifies the threat is that often these confrontations occur in wild places and in my experience are more likely to happen when one meets a group of estate employees when alone or in a group of two. The isolation of the location and the simply fact that those who are being aggressive or threatening are also armed adds to the psychological effect of such behaviour and who knows how many potential visitors to our Uplands are discouraged from visiting the area again after an incident like this occurs.
    The advent of good quality cameras in our modern phones has mitigated this type of incident of late but I believe they still occur because of the almost impossibility of getting such offences taken to court regardless of the evidence present.
    Hunting desensitises individuals to violence and it is hardly surprising they appear more willing to employ it.

    1. In effect, the suggestion is that if you don’t agree with their stance, you’re more likely to experience violence from within their ranks.

      That may well be part of their reasoning for their change of plan – and what an admission that is – it is just as likely, however, they aren’t prepared to risk splitting the ranks of the shooting fraternity where a lively and fact based debate could very likely result in criticism, and possible rejection, of the grouse moor faction.

  3. Just watched that video, Jacoby just as much a denier as GWCT etc. Why did a transmitter stop and start – it’s solar powered you dufus, if the sun was too low in the sky.

    1. This is exactly what’s happened with martian rovers and space probes – presumed that wind has blown dust off solar panels and allowed some rovers to power up again rather unexpectedly. I’m pretty sure there was also a probe that landed on a asteroid and when its angle changed slightly the panels came out of shadow and it started transmitting again. These were multi, multi millions of dollars pieces of kit that became dependent on gusts of wind and whether or not a giant rock moved in a particular direction. It would be very strange if the sat tags on dead harriers had been transmitting constantly. Jacoby hasn’t got a clue about anything beyond how best to kill things.

  4. My, my, what a week firstly we have the Westminster Hall thing where Wild Justice were certainly not welcome and not present where allegedlyRSPB’s Martin Harper was virtually pinned against the wall by a finger wagging and presumably ranting Nicholas Soames ( grouse shooting MP) and now this cancellation of an appearance by Mark and Chris of Wild Justice at the Game Fair against a possible threat of violence. All I will Say is massive own goals by the shooting cabal and just remember these folk have licensed fire arms and shotguns!!! We need to keep them under pressure!

  5. I love the idea that they have “come out against” the illegal persecution of raptors: it hasn’t stopped them doing it! The day that anyone from the shooting industry voluntarily shops someone for criminal activity against our wildlife I shall be on the lookout for the Royal Porcine Flying Corps.

    1. I would be quite interested to see a “rouge herd of cattle” – do you think they would wear lippy and mascara as well? As usual, they just showed themselves up. Richardson has form as an arch idiot. He blocked me for asking him to condemn wildlife crime every time he posted something derogatory.

    2. With every abusive comment they are shooting themselves in the foot… demonstrating just what shockingly nasty people they are. They clearly have no desire to ever debate or discuss. They just want to control and if it’s violently, then that seems to be OK with them.

      I had tears in my eyes, at the end of reading this trail… of sadness and incredible anger that you three should have this directed at you… OK, you are in the public eye (Chris more so) and that can mean getting picked on with a few nasties… But you are human beings and have feelings, and this is going much, much too far… not acceptable by any standards… You do not deserve this.

      I applaud you for putting this out so everyone can see just what sort of people are involved in the shooting world. There are undoubtedly some ‘good apples’ but you can easily see why they might find it difficult to summon the courage to stand up and speak out.

      This trail should be on the front page of the newspapers… no decent person could surely consider this acceptable behaviour! I hope Panorama is interested in seeing the degree of abuse and violence the shooting world seem to find acceptable…

      I trust this horror will swell the crowdfunding, and result in Wild Justice receiving many, many new followers willing to back you up and help you in any way they can – I certainly will.

      Thank you Ruth, Chris and Mark for what you are doing and for standing up to this (you so shouldn’t have to!!!).

  6. Jacoby seems to be very full of himself. But his spiel is weak and full of propaganda. Has he forgotten about the leg trapped, dead hen harrier was killed by an illegal trap, the number of birds that ingested flying lead, shattering bones and vital organs, the illegal poisons so liberally used, traps and snares. All with the antiquated aims of ridding the country of predators, protected or not.

    I really wanted to switch the video off but stuck with it to the end. It made me madder and madder for its lies and arrogance.

    Role on the day when tags reveal the moment and position of death, they will have fewer places to hide. The horrible, sinister and dim witted killers leftover from a backward Victorian era.

    The video highlights in its style that they will do anything they can to justify killing animals for fun.


  7. I hope that the Police will be checking their records to see how many of the people identifiable through this blog and associated links are licensed firearms holders. Maybe what they’ve had to say should be taken into account at renewal time. What intrigues me is that they apparently fail to realise that they are damning themselves through their own words and revealing just what sort of witless idiots they really are.

  8. My,my, what fun, the mouthpieces of the industrial gameshooting lobby running scared, talk of violence – what next ?
    For those of us rather long in the tooth in this game, having a gun put in one’s face is nothing new but does end with a hunting ban.
    Yes, yes, I know, they still hunt, but it is on the way out, as will be the industrial scale game shooting business model.

    Keep up the pressure !

  9. So what is the surprise, The Moorland Assoc, BASC and GWCT can’t guarantee the behaviour of their members…….. nothing new here then.

  10. I actually totally agree with the fact that Chris Packham is infinitely more reactionary than Mark. This isn’t a good thing.

    Chris brings a ton of publicity to the debate but Mark is and always has been the elder statesmen of the debate, he is calm, collected and can always conduct an argument or debate in the most orderly of fashions. I appreciate Chris probably delegates his social media and PR but still, Mark’s ownership and skill shines through.

    1. One minute you’re critical of Chris for being ‘infinitely more reactionary than Mark’ (which is a gross exaggeration anyway), yet in the next you’re highlighting some of the very qualities through which they complement each other so well. Well done!

  11. Ruth, I’m sorry that you, Mark and Chris have to endure the type of comments that you highlighted on the Wild Justice website. I choose not to have any social media accounts so reading these comments is very depressing to say the least. I tried the links that you gave on the Wild Justice site to the facebook pages of the individuals who have made these nasty comments and it was interesting to see that a good number of the pages no longer exist. Running scared maybe?

  12. The toffs (shooters) and their followers are used to getting away with saying exactly what they like, without fear of reprisals. They have no fear of us (the peasants) as they know the Establishment will close ranks around them. They have no fear of the MSN either.

  13. The abuse is appalling but I cant say I am surprised, just what I would expect from these disgusting human beings. Very depressing . Cheered me up hugely however when scrabbling about for someone to fight their case , they come up with Botham and Vinnie Jones … interestingly two more xxxxx xxxxx human beings.

  14. And naturally the Game Fair has passed all these threats along to the police and a mass revocation of shotgun licences is underway? Yeah, right.

  15. They have no argument, they just swear, name call then run away to join their pals and boast. Its the people that manipulate these small town school bullies that we should focus on.

    While we are being outraged and frankly, distracted, their landed bosses are having dinner with the ministers and cups of tea with the directors of government agencies.

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