4 shot buzzards on a Bransdale grouse moor: shooting industry’s response

Last Friday afternoon, North Yorkshire Police appealed for information in relation to an ongoing investigation involving the discovery of five dead buzzards that had been shoved in a hole under a rock on an unnamed grouse shooting estate in Bransdale in the North York Moors National Park. X-rays have so far revealed that four of those five buzzards had been shot (see here).

[Police body camera footage captures the moment five dead buzzards are pulled from a hole where they’d been concealed on a grouse shooting estate in Bransdale, North York Moors National Park]

North Yorkshire Police has since released x-rays of three of those shot buzzards:

In relation to this incident and other ongoing investigations into raptor persecution, Inspector Matt Hagen from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Crime Team told Channel 4 News, “All the shooting investigations that we’ve got going on at the moment are involving gamekeepers on grouse moors” (see here).

Given the game-shooting industry’s claims of a ‘zero tolerance’ stance to illegal raptor persecution (see here), you’d think this would be the perfect opportunity for the grouse shooting industry to offer its full support to the police investigation and encourage its members to step forward with information, especially if there was concern about dangerous unidentified armed criminals, killing protected species and running amok in a National Park, right?

Well apparently not. Having looked at the websites of the industry’s ‘leading’ organisations this morning, here’s what they’ve had to say about this latest crime:

Moorland Association: nothing

BASC: nothing

Countryside Alliance: nothing

National Gamekeepers Organisation: nothing

GWCT: nothing

Impressive, eh?

There is one group from the industry, however, who seems to have plenty to say, and it’s quite extraordinary.

The North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO) is an apparently grassroots umbrella organisation that represents grouse moor gamekeepers in the North York Moors. It’s one of a number of regional moorland groups in the UK, established a few years ago as part of what looks like a propaganda exercise to promote grouse moor management in a favourable light. The NYMMO website doesn’t have a list of grouse-shooting estates on which its members work but we do know it has members that work in Bransdale (more on this in a future blog).

Here’s what the NYMMO posted on its social media channels on Sunday, in response to the news that five dead buzzards, four of which are confirmed as being shot, were discovered concealed in a hole on an unnamed Bransdale grouse shooting estate:

Does this strike anyone as evidence of an industry exhibiting ‘zero tolerance’ of raptor persecution? You can bet that some of those ‘leading’ organisations will be raging at the NYMMO for posting such an incredibly stupid and revealing statement in response to what is an horrific wildlife crime, especially as a number of those ‘leading’ organisations have a close and supportive relationship with the NYMMO. Although at least one BASC staff member (Gary Dockerty, BASC Upland Officer) has ‘liked’ this post on Facebook.

More on the NYMMO shortly….

12 thoughts on “4 shot buzzards on a Bransdale grouse moor: shooting industry’s response”

  1. Ah, the NYMMO, have adopted the “if you can’t win the ball then take out the man” approach which worked so well politically as of late. However, here the facts are stark, and all one can really say is that their press release confirms, if any confirmation is necessary, that they are in denial. They continue to treat us all as fools

  2. Nothing surprises any more about the organisations involved with or supporting grouse shooting. This lot cannot even get their name right of where they come from. There is no such place as the North Yorkshire Moors there are lots of moors in North Yorkshire comprising those in the Yorkshire Dales NP, the Nidderdale AONB and the North York Moors. The latter are I think where this lot of poorly educated ne’er do wells come from. What a dreadful response, They think they are entitled to the police showing them all the evidence before they will accept the word of the police. FFS what planet are they on, are yes Planet Grouse.
    I have long said that if the cabal of pro DGS organisations expect us to take at all seriously their claim of zero tolerance to raptor persecution, not only should they take as read any police claims, activities or calls for evidence or assistance but they should be willingly helping find the culprits in all cases on grouse moors. That surely is what zero tolerance and co-operation really means.
    That they do not says much about their claims and attitudes, as of course do social media posts as the one highlighted here. As Jim Royle would say zero tolerance My arse!

    1. Maybe they are being inclusive and mean all Moors in North Yorkshire (The County). Although I suspect they are just thick

    2. It’s a mistake which I’m sure many of us have made but for which we might be forgiven if having neither a direct link nor familiarity with the area. However, this lot set themselves up as its representatives, so quite how they come to get it so wrong is anyone’s guess. ‘Thick’ sums it up nicely.

  3. Surely that isn,t shotgun pellets I see in the x rays but ” small metal objects ” as the spin doctor from Moorland Association would have us believe . Am still laughing at that remark from her regarding a similar incident a while back .

  4. That statement displays all of the arrogance and sense of entitlement one associates with this industry. The only things they have zero-tolerance for are predators and anyone calling them out for the criminals in their midst.

  5. The main “grouse shooting cartels” remain silent because any comment would probably just be at odds with the questionable activities of so many of their members!!

    It is also very clear that even if some in those organisations really do believe in zero tolerance for raptor persecution, the message is being ignored!!

    [Ed: Thanks, John. The second half of your comment has been deleted, more of a precaution than anything as this investigation is live]

    1. Maybe those who really do believe in zero tolerance for raptor persecution simply stick to the rules, though I imagine that they need to be strong-minded individuals to withstand the inevitable peer-pressure from their less law-abiding colleagues.

  6. Interesting that NYMMO feels the need to mention disciplinary matters within Bedfordshire Police. Not sure what the connection or relevance is. Perhaps they might like to elaborate.

  7. At least they didn’t claim they were shot & planted by “animal rights extremists” (this time).

    1. Hi Chris,

      Those claims have indeed been made on social media, as has the claim that these x-rays are of shot pheasants, not shot buzzards! The scale of denial, even in the face of the most overwhelming evidence, is astonishing. When driven grouse shooting is brought to an end, the industry can thank these muppets for hastening its demise.

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