WARNING: For those of a sensitive disposition this post will contain examples of grossly offensive material so if you’re likely to get upset by reading it I’d suggest you don’t go any further than this point.
Today’s post is a follow-on from yesterday’s post (With straight faces, gamekeepers complain about abuse) and it’s recommended you read that first to understand the context of what you’re about to read here.
What follows are a number of examples of the obscenities hurled by gamekeepers and others in the game-shooting industry at those of us who campaign for an end to the illegal killing of birds of prey on game-shooting estates and for strict environmental regulation of the UK game-shooting industry.
There’s so much material it’s going to take a number of blogs to publish just a simple overview to demonstrate the extent and type of abuse we receive. So today’s blog will focus on the abuse I’ve received – future blogs will focus on the abuse my colleagues and others have received.
I don’t write this as a casual observer / commentator. I write it as someone who has been at the receiving end of a targeted smear campaign of hatred for approximately six years.
I am subjected to a volume of online personal abuse pretty much on a daily basis; it’s routinely misogynistic and usually along the lines of being a nasty / ugly / fat / evil / poisonous / vile / lying / bitter / miserable / bigoted / dirty / rabid / lesbian / bitch / whore (take your pick of these or add any other offensive adjective of your choice).
I’ve been accused of being a ‘deranged whore’ and an ‘animal rights extremist’.
I’ve been accused of sleeping with Dr Mark Avery, Chris Packham, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, RSPB Investigator Ian Thomson, Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, Professor Ian Newton, Chief Inspector Lou Hubble and Andy Wightman MSP.
My personal telephone number has been published and folk have been incited to make abusive phone calls.
I have received abusive text messages.
My home address has been published and shared on social media. Photographs of my home have been published and shared on social media.
I have been followed and photographed on grouse moors and these have been published on social media with accompanying defamatory comment.
I have been accused of fabricating evidence, of perverting the course of justice, of inflicting cruelty to wildlife, of killing eagles, of planting evidence, and conversely (and bizarrely) of withholding evidence from the police, of lying to the police, of lying to Ministers, of lying to supporters, of lying in general…….I think you get the picture.
I don’t often talk about this stuff because frankly it’s not good for my mental health but I have documented the evidence, systematically and meticulously, for over six years and now some of that evidence is being used to support a number of ongoing investigations in to harassment, stalking and offences under the Malicious Communications Act.
Now, I’m not for one minute going to claim that I’ve never ridiculed anyone. Of course I have, many a time, probably just like many people reading this blog will have done. And I intend to continue – humour and mild ridicule are powerful tools for challenging all sorts of people and policies and besides, it helps me to deal with the daily onslaught. However, there is a line that I don’t cross and I certainly don’t support libellous or grossly offensive commentary about anyone, which is evidenced by the strict editorial policy on this blog.
To be clear, I’m not posting about online abuse to elicit any kind of response – I don’t need tea & sympathy, I have a fantastic support system in place and a world-class mental health coach – I’m posting this stuff simply to counter the ridiculous narrative from the game-shooting industry that they’re all innocent victims.
Awareness about campaigns of abuse will be nothing new to some of this blog’s followers – many of you will no doubt remember the disgraceful abuse suffered by a small local brewery in Lancashire (Bowland Brewery) a few years ago after they posted a photograph of Chris Packham and Mark Avery enjoying a pint of Hen Harrier, a brew developed to help raise funds for the RSPB’s hen harrier conservation work. That particular hate campaign was led by a former gamekeeper in Scotland and involved many other gamekeepers from across the UK (see here).
Ok, so here we go….
This is written by Bert Burnett, a former Director of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and a current columnist for the SGA’s quarterly rag for members, who over the last 12 months alone has published almost 100 abusive posts targeting me. He also routinely targets my colleagues at Wild Justice, RSPB and the Scottish Raptor Study Group:
The following three are written by people who identify themselves as gamekeepers:
This one from January 2021 documents an example of casual misogyny by Duncan Thomas, BASC’s Director of Northern England, no less! I hope he doesn’t have any direct supervisory capacity of any females at BASC.
I wonder if misogynistic abuse is BASC policy? I’m sure it isn’t. Perhaps I’ll write and ask.
As a co-director of Wild Justice I am also at the receiving end of some pretty gross and offensive abuse. Since we launched our not-for-profit company two years ago it’s provided another avenue for gamekeepers and their supporters within the game shooting industry to publish obscene comments about the three of us. We’ve written before about some of the abuse we’ve received (see here but beware, it’s particularly unpleasant).
Here are some more examples:
On that note, I think that’s probably enough for today.
I will be writing more on this subject shortly.
UPDATE 19th February 2021: Gamekeepers lead disgusting hate campaign against conservationists (2) (here)
UPDATE 17th March 2021: BASC Director Duncan Thomas apologises for misogynistic abuse (here)
UPDATE 18th July 2021: Organised crime, harassment & intimidation – another day on the grouse moors (guest blog) (here)