Does BASC know its arse from its elbow?

Does BASC (the British Association for Shooting, and, ahem, conservation) know its arse from its elbow?

It certainly can’t tell the difference between a merlin and a lanner falcon (see here) and now it seems to be struggling to tell the difference between a buzzard and a hen harrier!

You know, if you’re going to profess to love a bird of prey, it helps your credibility if you’re first able to identify it. Otherwise it just looks like you’re pretending.

In this latest outpouring of proclaimed love from BASC for Britain’s most persecuted bird of prey, it is claimed that,

More grouse moors have embraced the hen harrier brood management scheme this year as confidence in the project grows‘.

Hmm. But not everything is as it seems. Standby for what we’re told is imminent breaking news that puts this alleged ’embracement’ in a totally different light…….

24 thoughts on “Does BASC know its arse from its elbow?”

    1. Fair enough – I thought it might be accurate too! But it’s your blog, and your elbow on the line. ;) Keep up the great work.

  1. And there was me thinking it was Bloody Awful Shooting Clowns no matter it is the same sentiment, no I don’t think they know their Arse from their elbows either.

  2. Have they been on the Tim Bonner course of bird identification?
    Let’s make next years Linnethawk day (19th August) one to remember.

  3. In fairness, I was a little confused this winter with a ringtail that I have subsequently decided, it could have been a Buzzard, based on views at vast distance across the bog. It really concerns having a closer look at not only the behaviour but also a strongly white vent on some of the local buzzards. These buzzards, besides the white vent, which could possibly been interpreted as a white rump at distance, are also fond quartering the moor. But looking at that picture above,it’s shocking to mistake a Hen Harrier for a Steller’s Sea Eagle.

  4. I’m wondering if they’re having a little in-joke, sort of saying “we don’t give a…….”, by way of a supposed honest mistake.

  5. In asymmetrical struggles like the one we are involved in here only the side with the least resources has to be honest and/or accurate. The wealth of power and resources on the opposing side means they can almost do as they wish legally as the assets they have at their disposal means they can get away with murder … as they do with hen harriers and other raptors.
    It’s good to expose them at every turn though as even the largest rock will succumb to constant chipping over time.
    Well done, RPUK.

  6. Am I missing something here??

    Are the BASC claiming that on all the managed grouse moors in England there was the staggering figure of 12 successful nests for Hen Harriers?

    I assume the other 7 successful nests were on land not managed as grouse moors?

    So over all that moorland in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Northumbria there were 19 successful nests??
    19 nests over all that area??!!
    Should that vast area of moorland not have been able to support more nests than this?

    So going back to the figures -approximately 37% or approximately 1/3rd of these successful Hen Harrier nests were on land not managed for grouse moors, and 2/3rd were on land managed for grouse moors.

    How does this equate to the relationship of land suitable for Hen Harrier nests?
    Based on the nesting success for Harriers-do grouse moors only account for 2/3rd of this land?
    Are Hen Harriers having greater nesting success on land not managed for grouse moors?
    Or is the relationship between successful nests on grouse moors the same as for successful nests on land not managed for grouse moors?

    If we knew this information could it mean that all the fanfares and trumpet blowing by the shooting lobby on nesting success of Harriers on grouse moors might in fact just be a cacophony of sound rather than the noise of proper success?

    But as all this noise seems to also be linked to the Hen Harrier brood management scheme, then am I understanding this correctly?
    Am I correct in thinking that Hen Harrier eggs or chicks are removed from nests, and then the chicks are reared away from the moors before being released back into the wild, and onto moors where grouse shooting does not take place or this is little chance of Harriers predating on grouse?

    So would I be correct in thinking then, that despite the Hen Harrier being a Red list Bird of Conservation Concern, which is protected by law. Rather than protect the bird and nest sites, – on grouse moors we simply take the eggs or chicks and relocate them?
    Shouldn’t we be enforcing the law, and protecting these birds regardless of where their nests are?
    Do we do this with mountain gorillas, rhinos or elephants? Or are these endangered animals protected by armed rangers?
    What message to grouse moor owners and shooting estates is Natural England sending out by it’s brood management program?
    Is it an admission that the rule of law does not apply if you are wealthy, own a grouse moor and don’t want Hen Harriers possibly spoiling a days “clay pigeon shooting with grouse”?

    By carrying out a brood management program are we in fact accepting the criminality which takes place, and rather than tackle the criminals we try and resolve the problem by relocating the victim?

    I wonder if we should try that with the rest criminal justice system!

    So how can anyone claim success for a process that doesn’t actually tackle the root cause of the problem faced by Hen Harriers, and a process which appears to undermine the rule of law?

    I can think of many examples in history where those with power re located those they didn’t want – and on every occasion humanity looks back and thinks- how did we let that happen??

  7. Radio Times informs us that this Sunday, Country (sideareliars) file will include a feature on the River Burn “that runs through the glorious Swinton Estate”. Wonder if they’ll mention the other River, the one that was found shot dead there?

    1. I’m not a fan of Countryfile although I take your point on the name and I have said before that it is a mouth piece for Countryside Areliars, NFU ( No F—— Understanding) and the leisure industry, however that said as Swinton Estate is somewhere I know reasonably well I will watch with interest. Factually incorrect and a complaint will be off to Auntie Beeb.

  8. Does it really matter if an organisation doesn’t recognise a specific species of raptor? As long as the shooting community it represents can differentiate between rapter and intended prey then I see no point in your argument. Other than to belittle those of us who probably know more than you about conservation. Might I suggest that you try working with organisations like basc then maybe our countrysides flora fauna and wildlife will benefit from the work both sides of this long standing argument. Compromise will benefit not single minded attitudes like yours. IT IS AN OFFENCE (ILLEGAL) to shoot or injure any rapter and no responsible FAC holder would do so or he would lose his or her license.

    1. Andy
      You make a very valid point, and partnership working has been shown to very beneficial when it works properly.
      But is the “single minded attitude” not prevalent on all sides??

      There is so much evidence of raptors having been killed through being shot by someone with a shotgun, someone who no doubt holds a shotgun certificate, and most likely someone with links to “countryside management”; that these entrenched views will prevail.

      Only very recently North Yorkshire Police Rural Task force stated that gamekeepers were suspects in the raptor persecution investigations they were undertaking.

      I accept that organisations like BASC and the Moorland Association have a lot to contribute when it comes to managing our countryside, and I am sure there are some very good people in those organisations, people who are appalled by the illegal killing of birds of prey.
      But I can understand why conservation organisations “on the other side of the fence” are reluctant to engage with those whose conservation focuses on wildlife management for shooting purposes, when those who manage land for shooting seem so reluctant to expose the wildlife criminals who hide are hiding within their midst?

      There is also a fundamental difference between conservation for the preservation of all wildlife, as opposed to conservation to provide wildlife for shooting and hunting purposes. Can these positions be reconciled?

      But you are right – the acrimony between these two camps doesn’t actually help the plight of our fauna or flora- which rightly deserves faster progress is made to ensure proper conservation actually takes place; and also much better progress in successfully prosecuting those who break the law, so that the wildlife criminals are swiftly brought to justice.

      1. John L – – – –

        There are many who would willingly engage in debate with your groups, but when we face the hysterical and clearly unfounded claims that the bulk of the deaths of our birds of prey, are at the hands of man and that it’s intentional, when it would be clear logic, that birds will die from natural causes, so there can be no progress.

        Quote **Only very recently North Yorkshire Police Rural Task force stated that gamekeepers were suspects in the raptor persecution investigations they were undertaking.** end quote.
        The simple fact is that the investigating forces are keeping an open mind and have no fixed views – for their stance is that before they make any accusations – the need clear and unequivocal evidence.
        Are you also aware that those investigating officers are, in the main, also keeping an open mind and giving serious consideration to the very real concerns that it is Activists who are adulterating the presented ‘evidence’? There is a growing file of concern.

        Are birds of prey intentionally killed by those with sporting interests? – – it would be just as ridiculous to claim that they aren’t as are the volume of counter claims and to the contrary. If I knew ANY person who ever set out to kill a bird of prey then I would report them, without a moments hesitation – and I would also advise the world of my actions. Those who set out to kill birds of prey are, in my carefully considered view, in a minority and to the point of being rare.

        Were there less emotive and let’s not kid ourselves, provided ‘evidence’ – evidence which rarely if ever ends in a prosecution – then we would perhaps make progress.

        None of those who consider themselves to be AR Activists ever seem willing to accept the level of conservation work which the field sports world carry out and over vast areas – and at a volume, I’d add which is far in excess of those who form in to groups – – ALL conservation work is of value.

        Considering my thoughts above, I fully expect a tirade of verbal abuse – it’s what usually happens. I would only hope that those who view this page, those who keep an open mind, those who are spectating, understand that many of the claims made simply aren’t logical and that they don’t stand up to inspection.

        1. Alec
          Please consider that a lack of evidence doesn’t disprove that a crime has occurred.
          Neither does failure to convict a guilty party show that no one was culpable.

          Nearly 40 years ago DNA was in its infancy. Today criminals re being convicted of crimes, which at the time were not solved, developments in forensic science and in particular DNA are now leading to successful prosecutions.

          The lack of prosecutions for crimes against raptors does not mean that a crime hasn’t been committed. The police face very challenging investigations when dealing with rapter crimes, as there is usually a lack of witnesses to the event, and the the fact these crimes occur in the wilderness where forensic evidence degrades rapidly or is irretrievable means proving beyond all reasonable as to who is guilty can be almost impossible.
          The police also face serious challenges with what the law will allow them to do during investigations, as wildlife crimes are not indictable, and therefore more intrusive investigative techniques are not available to them.

          At the start of the investigative process, an investigator will usually ask 3 simple questions
          What do we know?
          What don’t we know?
          Who has the means and motivation to carry out this act?

          It is a requirement that the police conduct transparent unbiased investigations- their duty is to provide the courts with the best possible evidence as to what has taken place.

          During an investigation it is normal for the investigator to adopt a hypothesis as to what has happened and who is involved. Usually there is a “suspect”- but lack of evidence to prosecute this suspect doesn’t necessary mean that the suspect is not guilty – it just means that the evidence required to pass the prosecution threshold test is insufficient.

          Whilst it is possible to tamper with evidence, or even plant evidence , – it is very difficult to do that successfully, as each piece of evidence is tested against all the other evidence.

          I do find it hard to accept that in wildlife investigations evidence is tampered with to the extent you are suggesting. Are you really suggesting people who campaign passionately on behalf of raptor conservation have the means or motivation to go out and kill raptors and then try and plant evidence of a crime to try and incriminate an innocent party?

          The fact you would never kill a bird of prey, does not mean others won’t.
          Statistics show that of those convicted or raptor persecution crimes since 1990, 67% of those convicted were gamekeepers.
          The fact that the majority of these reported raptor persecution incidents occur on or near grouse moors is also very strong evidence as to who is committing these crimes.
          Ask yourself some very simple questions “Who on a remote piece of moorland, managed for grouse shooting, has the means and motivation to kill raptors?”.

          No one is saying all gamekeepers are bad, in fact there are some very good gamekeepers, who work entirely within the law, and work very hard on conservation projects. But there is evidence that strongly supports the view, that within the shooting industry, there are some very bad people. Something that even those involved in the game shooting industry will admit.

          Perhaps you should go and talk to the police wildlife investigators or members of the National Wildlife Crime Unit? If you approach this conversation with an open mind, you might come away with a very different mindset as to the causes of the majority of raptor persecution incidents and who is responsible?

        2. ” I fully expect a tirade of verbal abuse”

          If Alec’s so offended by replies to his pretentions, maybe he should try telling the truth, as opposed to blatant distortions such as the initial paragraph of his last comment. Furthermore, he refers to “unfounded claims” and several times to “evidence” yet fails time and again to produce one shred of such in support of his baseless assertions. He goes on to claim that…

          “If I knew ANY person who ever set out to kill a bird of prey then I would report them, without a moments hesitation”…

          after previously concocting an excuse for persecution with the following falsehood, for which (despite a direct challenge) he still can’t back up…

          “The numbers of our native Brown Hares has declined just as the numbers of our Buzzards, nationally, has increased exponentially and is clearly linked to the decline in our hare numbers.”

          No matter how he tries to camouflage his repeated fabrications under a veil of assumed civility, the fact remains that bullshit is bullshit, regardless of its smell.

    2. Andy b,

      “Does it really matter if an organisation doesn’t recognise a specific species of raptor?”

      Yes, if you’re an organisation that wants to be seen as credible in the ongoing debate about upland ecology, biodiversity, management, and especially hen harrier conservation.

    3. Exactly how can any group pretend to conserve any given organism if they can’t even identify it? Imagine how many of these clowns are stringing Buzzards for Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles! No wonder the dozy buggers go around making false claims about their abundance! Mind you, I knew a shooter who once claimed he’d shot “an eagle”. It turned out to be a guineafowl, nuff said.
      As for compromising, conservationists have bent over backwards doing just that with the likes of BASc since 1954, and it’s all been one way. The shooting mob have carried on doing exactly as they please, degrading our natural heritage with more or less total impunity. However, the truth can’t be hidden anymore, and these charlatans have shat their own nest. And no amount of posing as authorities is ever going to change that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s