Imagine you are a member of the gamebird shooting industry in the UK, you’d just heard about the RSPB’s plans calling for gamebird shooting reform, and then you’d read the following damning editorial, in The Times no less, you’d surely realise the writing’s on the wall:
And if you were a member of the gamebird shooting industry that had just read this opinion piece from a paper ostensibly seen as being on your side, how would you feel if you then read the reactions of the organisations who are supposed to represent your ‘sport’ but are effectively sticking fingers in ears, denying there’s any need for reform and are instead dancing in a circle singing ‘Tra la la, I can’t hear you‘, e.g. BASC (here), Moorland Association (here), Scottish Land & Estates (here)?
These knee-jerk reactions have been slammed in another editorial, this time in today’s edition of The Guardian (read it here).
The final two paragraphs are compelling:
‘There is no good reason for the oppositional stance that has become a reflex of many countryside organisations. It is the enormous dangers facing the natural world that should concern them, not a confected threat to their way of life. Self-regulation has failed to stop birds of prey including hen harriers from being poisoned by gamekeepers. Nor has it led to advances in land management, despite greatly increased public awareness of the risks of flooding, and the burning of peatlands (carried out in order that grouse can feed on new growth). Even the editor of Shooting Times was moved, in 2018, to decry the “greed that has crept into shooting”.
Ministers cannot continue to look away as landowners dismiss concerns rooted in public opinion and evidence. Conservation efforts must be recognised, and destruction punished. Impartial research into the shooting industry should be ordered. It is reprehensible, given the huge climate and biodiversity challenges facing us, that those who claim to have rural interests at heart appear determined to block progress‘.
It’s not just the broadsheets covering this subject. Have a look at this:
It’s an article that features in a publication called First News, a weekly UK tabloid aimed at 7-14 year olds and with an estimated circulation of 2.2 million. Thanks to the blog reader who sent us this (who also happens to be a teacher who says he’ll be highlighting the issue with his class).
The writing is definitely on the wall. It’s now just a question of when, not if.