Last October the RSPB announced at its AGM that it was to undertake a policy review of gamebird shooting (see here).
[Dead pheasants, Getty photo]
This morning Martin Harper has published a blog providing an update on the consultation (read his blog here) and giving us some ‘headline findings’, as follows:
- RSPB members, staff and volunteers are broadly aligned in their views, specifically: the majority are knowledgeable about the issues associated with intensive gamebird shooting, the majority support the conservation principles; any opposition to the approach proposed is more likely to come from the shooting (1%) or landowning (5%) part of the membership; a minimum of 14% support some sort of ban on shooting (intensive or otherwise).
- Given the size of the samples, we have high confidence in concluding the views we received provide a good reflection of the whole membership, staff and volunteers
- The views expressed by the other organisations (conservation, animal welfare and shooting groups) and individuals reflected different values, motivations and long held positions. At one end of the spectrum were respondents who valued shooting as an activity with social, environmental and economic benefits. Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum were responses with animal welfare interests who expressed little value of shooting, considering it unnecessary and harmful. Other responses ranged in between, from seeking sustainable shooting and highlighting concerns over environmental impacts of current practices, to supporting a total or partial ban.
- The confidential interviews provided a few additional insights, specifically: the pride in conservation associated with shooting; the observed increased interest in the environmental impacts of the industry, particularly more intensive forms; and dismay at the state of the relationship between the shooting community and the RSPB
Martin also published three documents summarising the main findings:
These are well worth a read. You’ll probably not learn anything new about the shooting industry’s views (‘it’s not as bad as you all make out, we’re great at self-regulation, don’t tell us what to do, we’ll do as we please, you risk damaging partnerships if you continue to challenge us, let’s all sit around a table together and sip coffee, eat soft biscuits and have a lovely chat’) but the views of the RSPB members were quite revealing, as demonstrated in these two infographics:
Clearly some messages are getting through but there needs to be a lot more work (by all of us) to improve the general understanding of what goes on and why these issues are of concern.
Martin’s blog closed by giving an explanation of what will happen next during the policy review and that the revised policy is expected to be announced at the AGM in October.
Here’s a link to Martin’s blog again (here).