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 last week’s post (Gamekeepers lead disgusting hate campaign against conservationists (1)) where I documented some of the abuse and harassment that has been levelled at me over the last six years because I campaign for an end to the illegal killing of raptors on game-shooting estates. Today’s post will focus on some of the abuse that’s been directed at my colleague Chris Packham and his step-daughter, Megan McCubbin.
These posts have been prompted by a recent campaign by gamekeepers complaining, with straight faces, that they are the victims of unfair abuse (see here).
Chris is no stranger to receiving harassment from the game-shooting and hunting industries for simply expressing his views and campaigning against animal cruelty and environmental destruction. The abuse has been going on for years:
The abuse comes from a variety of individuals with links to these industries, including these examples from Geva Blackett, former parliamentary officer for the SGA, married to Invercauld Estate’s factor (now retired), an SNP Councillor in Aberdeenshire and the former Deputy Convenor of the Cairngorms National Park Authority:
A common theme of attack has been in the form of petitions calling for the BBC to sack him (e.g. here) or ‘rein him in’ (e.g. here) and formal complaints being made to the BBC Trust (but not being upheld – see here and here) and much of this has been led by shooting industry groups such as the Countryside Alliance, Moorland Association, GWCT and BASC.
It’s little wonder, then, when the industry’s ‘leading’ organisations and prominent players are pursuing a hate campaign against Chris that gamekeepers and their supporters would also join in. One example was a gang of gamekeepers and their supporters who gathered outside a venue where Chris was working in Harrogate, shouting through a loud hailer about perceived job losses and who were so threatening that venue staff called the police to attend (see here). The irony of protesting about perceived job loss from an industry that has campaigned for Chris to lose his, wasn’t lost on any of us.
The abuse has certainly increased since Wild Justice launched in 2019 and some of that is well-documented, (e.g. see here but beware, it’s particularly unpleasant) and has included dead animals tied to his gate at home (e.g. see here and here), dead animals dumped on his drive (e.g. see here), human excrement sent through the post as well as a menacingly chilling death threat letter (see here).
His address has also been circulated on social media as have photographs of his driveway and gate.
All of this harassment, and other things that can’t yet be publicly divulged due to ongoing legal action, has been reported to the police.
More recently, the abuse has spread towards his step-daughter, Megan, and again this is likely to have been prompted by a particularly nasty attack on Megan published on the BASC website last year (here).
This libellous post was 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 routinely targets Chris, me, Wild Justice, RSPB and the Scottish Raptor Study Group:
Here’s Bert Burnett again with his vile, misogynistic language. Note the entry from ‘Glen Ample’ – this is the Facebook account of one Mike Holliday, a gamekeeper from Perthshire and a BASC Working Group member who recently wrote a letter of complaint to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the online abuse he and his colleagues had apparently suffered from ‘animal rights extremists’. I’ll be writing more about Mr Holliday and his own behaviour on social media in due course.
The following repulsive examples are from individuals who identify themselves as gamekeepers or are associated with the gamekeeping ‘profession’:
This one is from Ronnie Kippen, a gamekeeper from the Strathbraan area of Perthshire and apparently a committee member of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association who has also featured in some recent GWCT propaganda. He published this appalling post on 3rd Feb 2021:
Can you imagine being Chris, or Megs, or their family members and friends having to read this malicious abuse every single day? Where are the leaders within the game-shooting industry, standing up and you know, leading?
Thankfully there is some humour to be found amongst all this depravity. The gamekeeper who posted this wasn’t quite up on world affairs and genuinely thought he was on to something, until his more informed mates pointed out the obvious:
I think that’s probably enough for today.
There’ll be further blogs in this series coming soon.
UPDATE 18th July 2021: Organised crime, harassment & intimidation – another day on the grouse moors (guest blog) (here)