BBC’s Countryfile to feature #EagleGate

Tomorrow’s edition of Countryfile will include a feature on the continued illegal killing of birds of prey in the UK, focusing on the recent poisonings of at least two white-tailed eagles in southern England (the one in Dorset and the one in West Sussex).

Filming took place last week and lovely presenter Charlotte Smith interviewed a number of people including Paul Morton (representing Birds of Poole Harbour) and me (representing Wild Justice) as we enjoyed a boat trip along the Wareham Channel looking for eagles, ospreys, marsh harriers and peregrines.

They also managed to bag an interview with Chris Loder MP, the local politician who didn’t want Dorset Police to investigate the eagle poisoning and I believe there’ll be contributions (probably denials and abuse) from Tim Bonner (Countryside Alliance) and perhaps statements from Dorset Police and the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick.

I’m hoping they asked Chris Loder MP what he thought David Sidwick meant when he told Loder: ‘You and I need to get our ducks in the row on this one‘ while discussing the murky police investigation into the poisoned eagle in Dorset.

I’ve no idea how the final edit will be presented, this is the BBC after all and they’ll want to be seen as being scrupulously impartial, which is fair enough.

I’m just delighted that they’ve chosen to feature the raptor persecution issue at all, and that six million viewers will learn that even though this is the 21st Century, eagles and many other raptor species are still being deliberately poisoned/trapped/shot in this country, predominantly by members of the game-shooting industry. No matter which part of the interviews the editors choose to show in the final cut, that is the message that the viewers will remember and it’s the most important message of all.

Countryfile airs on Sunday 12th June 2022 on BBC 1 at 7pm and will be available on iPlayer for 12 months.

9 thoughts on “BBC’s Countryfile to feature #EagleGate”

  1. BBC impartiality is a complete and utter sham in my opinion. They allow debate within a very narrow window and get to define the limits of what various opinions are acceptable. However, it is good that they cover such stories, but I would be surprised if they allow anything to be broadcast which rocks the boat.
    In fact I cancelled my TV licence in 2017 because of complete loss of faith in BBC news and to be honest, not watching live telly anymore is the best thing I have ever done.

  2. Good news. Publicity like this will help build public opinion to eventually lead to the closing down of the grouse shooting industry

  3. ….great that Countryfile have chosen to run this case in my opinion!
    It cannot do any harm at all giving the message out and trying to dig a little deeper into the murky arrangements of some shooting estates..their MP associates….and the law enforcement agencies (that are meant to be totally impartial) in the full investigation of serious cases like this!!
    Well done to all involved…..for the continued work on this!!!

  4. However the BBC opts to present the debate, they are starting from the premise that the birds were poisoned which is a big breakthrough.

  5. This will certainly, and hopefully, arise more awareness, although where have people been if they haven’t read or heard about it, so well done Countryfile for raising this important issue.
    But Like many others, I am not convinced by the BBC’s impartiality and they will most likely want to try and stay dead centre and the most important questions won’t get asked; or if they are, they will be edited out.

  6. Well done Countryfile and the BBC -yes in it’s drive to be mega politically correct and “impartial”, my worry is that the BBC won’tt get the message across-the message being the overwhelming evidence of illegal raptor persecution on or near shooting estates including pheasant and grouse shoots-and the blatant denial by the shooting industry that their industry is full of bad apples and by definition-blatant criminality. Hopefully they can extend the discussion, time allowing of course to include the fact that successful prosecutions against the perpetrators of raptor crimes are rare and that the sentences are derisory in most cases and that the Government are doing nothing about it

  7. I’ve just watched it and was very pleased plus it was nice to see Ruth get some ‘air time’ after the other WJ directors Chris and Mark have done so although she should have been on a good bit longer. Chris Loder and the Dorset Police didn’t look good, plus Tim Bonner seemed rather crest fallen, timorous and certainly not smug and bombastic as he has on the telly before. It would have been nice if he’d been asked if he thought the general slaughter of our predators and putting out thousands of tons of cereal to supplement the diet of pheasant and red legged partridge might have something to do with the problematic rat population, but hey ho.

    One general point, I know a lot of us have been very pissed off with the BBC’s slanted reporting of ‘rural’ issues in particular (although the Field Sports lobby was never happy either), but if you take a look at the utter war some on the political right have declared on the BBC it may well be time to cut them some slack as they say in America. There are some very disingenuous characters podcasting in this country who are doing their very best to stick a hatchet in the BBC’s back, calling not for reform, but its outright ending, why? Anything less than full on flag waving against ‘wokeness’ is determined as being biased, they won’t be happy until everyone is watching the UK equivalent of Fox News and god help us GB News is bad enough. We need to be careful that we’re not running the BBC down further when in fact it needs and actually deserves a bit of support, these days where else would we see any, far less good, reporting about bird of prey poisoning in a ‘magazine’ program like Countryfile? Channel 4 might be a good answer, but they’re trying to sell that off aren’t they?

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