Further to the terrifying arson attack at Chris Packham’s home last week, believed by many to be an act of intimidation / domestic terrorism in response to Chris’s environmental and animal welfare campaign work (see here), two journalists have written articles that attempt to put the escalating violence into a wider context.
[CCTV image of the firebombed vehicle at Chris Packham’s home]
Writing for Byline Times yesterday, Andrew Taylor-Dawson argues thoughtfully that the attacks on Chris are part of a wider global assault on environmental activists. He says:
‘What is clear – from the forests of South America to the grouse moors of Britain – is that some of those with a vested interest to oppose the defence of wildlife and habitats are prepared to go to extreme lengths to intimidate, silence or even get rid of their opponents‘.
You can read Andrew’s full article here.
Also published yesterday was an eloquent piece from George Monbiot in The Guardian, who wrote about the escalating violence shown by some within the bloodsports community against objectors, aided by poor police enforcement and major legal deficiencies. He writes about the loopholes in the Hunting Act which allow so-called trail hunters to ‘accidentally’ kill foxes, and says this about the difficulties of prosecuting gamekeepers for the illegal killing of birds of prey:
‘Other bloodsports also enjoy remarkable legal exemptions. An attempt to introduce a provision for vicarious liability in England, ensuring that estate owners could be prosecuted when their gamekeepers illegally kill birds of prey, was struck down by an environment minister who happened to own a grouse moor and a pheasant shoot. The amazing legal contortions needed to allow pheasant shooting to continue create the impression that there is one law for the rich and quite another for the poor‘.
You can read George’s full article here.
7 thoughts on “Attack on Chris Packham put into wider context”
George’s article is brilliant. I’ve yet to read Andrew’s but look forward to that.
Thank you for bringing both articles to the reader’s attention.
Haven’t we known this for some time now? What are we going to do about it?
It is true that environmental campaigners and, in particular, animal activists face frightening threats, harassment, brutal assaults and damage to property. But this is not new. Here in the UK we have three animal welfare campaigners who paid the ultimate price for their beliefs. Let us not forget:
Field sports are run along the lines of organised crime. They rely on illegal activities (killing birds of prey, illegal hunting with dogs, etc.) to maintain their position. They achieve this through an omertà within their ranks, and violent acts towards those who expose the reality of their actions.
There is no other way to describe how field sports work.
We’re always told “Don’t let the b’stards grind you down”, but Taylor-Dawson’s and Monbiot’s articles tell that they are grinding down the people who care about nature, and that the fear the b’stards create will win out, unless a nature-supporting government is put in place – and what chance is there of that in the next General Election?
It’s always been one of my main frustrations that reduce, reuse, recycling programs ranging from official anti food waste to local council kerbside recycling schemes have had incredibly insipid messaging that must be deliberately leaving out the most pressing environmental and social reasons why we need to reduce and change our patterns of consumption. The Amazon is being burnt to increase agricultural expansion at a time when the world is wasting 40% of the food it already produces, ancient forest is pulped to make virgin fibre toilet rolls, then it’s made from the ‘sustainable’ plantations that replace them. They of course should be made from low grade waste paper that can no longer be recycled and which would create a desperately needed market for council recycling operations. The lengthy processing needed to take a raw material to finished product uses lots of energy and creates lots of pollution, from both that and chemical processing, which is most likely to affect the poorest. All of this is of course really bad news for indigenous peoples and the ‘lowest’ strata of society who get the brunt of the negative consequences, this isn’t being done to help those who need it most, it’s done to make money so it’s for the comparatively well off who already have so much which they waste.
Imagine how effective an anti smoking campaign would be if it specifically didn’t mention that fags caused cancer, heart disease and emphysema it just made your breath a bit smelly. Well that’s pretty much the level of ‘education/promotion’ you get with any official publicity attached to recycling in this country. This leaves far more to do for local campaigners in the south especially who are far and away more susceptible to murder, torture, kidnapping…We have the practical tools to reduce our environmental impact enormously and with it the scope to deny the bastards who want to turn small farmers off their land or burn rainforest for shitey cow pasture. However, the accompanying information needed to make the solutions work is absent. The best example I’ve ever seen of it being done properly was when David Attenborough on Blue Planet II did a program on plastic waste, one program from the BBC Natural History Unit did far more than official recycling and anti waste programs had done in decades. Treat the public like mature, responsible adults and some of them will act like mature, responsible adults. This issue dogs the fight against driven grouse shooting too – it’s not the main conservation/environmental bodies who are speaking up about its full ecological, environmental insanity or that it’s killing rural economies rather than creating jobs as well as increasing flood risk, the loudest voices are from the outside in this case an especially determined, conscientious and brave TV presenter.
Sadly these incidents are nothing new. I’m retired now but during my working life I received the usual verbal abuse but also had an axe swung at my head, was threatened with a shotgun and was told that my house would be burnt down amongst the more memorable incidents. Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose, sadly.