100+ reasons to sign the two petitions to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting
and Licence Driven Grouse Shooting
101. Because ‘Conflict Resolution’ is filibustering under another name.
Framing the crime of illegal killing of raptors by game-keepers and their employers as a Conflict which can be Resolved by anything other than legal means is an error in itself.
Conflict Resolution is needed when there is no law, it is an admission that the law has failed. Conflict Resolution gives a false assumption of respectability to the criminals who are by default equated with the raptors themselves and those who demand that the law be upheld. It give a false notion of equal weight between criminals and law-abiding citizens. Resolution depends on mutual honesty, there has to be a real genuine commitment to stop the killing. Without it, it would have been like giving concessions to the paramilitaries in Northern Ireland whilst the killing continues. It wasn’t me that brought up the Northern Ireland comparison it was Philip Merricks of the Hawk and Owl Trust (HOT). I can’t see any similarities at all. When I look up Conflict Resolution in Wikipedia it is about political not legal conflict. Hen Harrier persecution is more similar to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission but without the Truth and without a cessation of atrocities and with one side withdrawing from the process (the RSPB).
Even so the Hen Harrier Action Plan (HHAP) was considered as a last resort by the RSPB after years of talk; after all this was an actual plan for actual action. This approach meant there had to be some compromise. I don’t agree with this and neither did many conservationists and I’m sure the RSPB were very hesitant but still they bent over backwards to make the massive compromise that there could be a removal of Hen Harriers from grouse moors above a certain density.
This was the deal, the killers would stop the killing if they could move the Hen Harriers instead.
You might see why some people had an objection to that.
The problem was, that the wording of the plan was incredibly vague and ambiguous, both on broad and fine detail. I know from e-mails to the RSPB that they didn’t understand the wording either. I blogged about it here and it seems my fear was entirely justified. This is the vague phrase which to my mind contradicted itself
‘A trial scheme … would be open to driven grouse moors that had brood numbers in excess of the modelled densities …. An agreed threshold, based on independently derived, objective criteria, and agreed by main stakeholders, would be set for contiguous groups of estates. When harrier numbers within estates increased above the density determined by Elston et al, their eggs or broods could be moved to a rearing facility away from managed moorland‘
RPUK understood it to mean that there had to be a certain overall population of English Hen Harriers and an overall figures of 40 pairs was hinted at.
RSPB signed up for it based on reciprocal honesty and depended on the cessation of the killing. Stopping the killing was the act of faith which the RSPB were relying on. They were giving and expected to get something back. This trust and reciprocation didn’t happen. The RSPB pulled out of the plan when the details were revealed. There was going to be no density requirement at all, all that was needed for the removal of a nest was for there to be another nest within 10km. One of the nests didn’t even have to be on a grouse moor. If the RSPB had harriers breeding on their land, an adjacent grouse moor could remove a nest if it was closer than 10km away. So there was not going to be an act of good faith at all. The grouse lobby couldn’t even adhere to the wording of the plan let alone stopping the killing long enough to let the population recover.
So now the HHAP has no one from the pro-raptor groups who is willing to take part in this so called Resolution. The HOT stayed even when goalposts moved and continuing illegality was proven so they can not be trusted (see 104).
102. It is very odd. Where else are the opponents of illegal activity described as ‘entrenched’? Where else is the same false equivalence given to criminals as those trying to oppose them. The false ‘balance’ which sells stories in the media and to which many politicians are happy to buy into.
103. Thought experiment.
1. If grouse moors obey the law as they promise then there should be hundreds of Hen Harriers within 10 years.
2. if there aren’t then illegal killing is continuing
3. What happens next in case of 1. Will driven grouse moors then want to kill them legally above a certain threshold. is that what the lowland scheme is about; a place to relocate them to?
What are the actual logistics of the legal persecution scheme ‘brood management. If the grousers are to believed they are going to stop killing Hen Harriers (that is the HOT immovable condition) the supposed basis of the scheme. If this really happened the numbers of Hen Harriers would increase extremely quickly like a pyramid scheme, slow at first and then a rapid population explosion. The fact that the chicks are removed shouldn’t make a any difference, in fact there could be a higher survival rate in captivity. Within a short time (10 years?) there should be a hundred plus pairs in England. What happens to these Hen Harriers when they reach 300 pairs or more are they going to be killed? If so how can we be introducing in the lowlands and killing them in the upland. If the modelled predicted figures are not reached the HOT should condemn the whole scheme and call for an immediate ban of driven grouse shooting. Are they likely to do that?
Thought streams like these seem absurd although they should make common sense. The reason they are absurd is because no one, the grousers, HOT, NE, DEFRA, politicians, no one believes for one minute that they will actually stop the killing. The whole scheme is based on a lie. This is the basic fact that creeps into every aspect of the raptor killing problem but gets covered up with the false narrative that those responsible for the killing are going to fix it in some way other than just stopping the actual killing.
It is Alice and Wonderland stuff. The scheme depends on us pretending that crime isn’t a crime.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
104. Because of the Twin Peaks logic of the Hen Harrier Action Plan.
The Hawk and Owl Trust have made it an immovable condition (which they have already moved on) that if any of the grouse lobby involved with the plan e.g. the Moorland Association are found to be breaking the law on grouse moors they will withdraw from the plan. But this is where it gets into Alice into Wonderland territory again. Organizations like the Moorland Association claim to have nothing to do with raptor crime then how are they going to be able to halt the crime which is a condition on which the scheme relies.
Reminds me of Inspector Montalbano having mysterious chats with the Mafia bosses, all in secret code.
105. Because it is right and enshrined in EU environmental law that polluter pays.
Natural England (NE) were in the process of penalising Walshaw Moor (a driven grouse moor above Hebden Bridge) for environmental damage until Walshaw Moor threatened them with lawsuits. So NE withdrew their complaints and instead gave Walshaw Moor loads of money instead. Then the RSPB stepped in to sue NE. The case is still in the European Courts. Mark Avery blogged about it extensively and I even wrote a bit.
a thousand time over The Times/Spectator/ climate denier Viscount Matt Ridley.
He is supposed to be the dark-sides scientific spokesperson and is either lying or seriously misinformed when he claims that there are no Hen Harriers in Wales. One would think and expert and writer on the subject would know even this basic fact. If not how can anything he writes be trusted? No think I will trusted the innocence of Findlay and Dara. Chris Packham and Dara have Asperger’s and would find lying very difficult especially in public so I think I will trust them rather than a privileged coal-mine owner, climate-change denier and grouse shooter like Viscount Ridley.
Another idiot journalist is Magnus Linklater but there are no shortage of eco-illiterate journalists happy to spread misinformation: Robin Page in The Telegraph; Lord Tebbit in the Telegraph; Charles Moore in The Spectator; Sir Max Hastings in The Financial Times; and even Simon Jenkins in the Guardian although he had the integrity to apologise when his nonsense was pointed out to him. Another person who you would think, would know better is Richard Ingrams in the Observer and Independent who seemed to think Red Kites were the devil’s own spawn although that could be one of the reasons they gave him the boot. A pity because he always had an interesting take on things. Today we have some idiot in the Washington Post.
And of course we have our very own Ian Botham who is in whole class of his own.
We need a scientific fact checker for such news. This has already started with climate change. Sooner or later it will catch on, so news article will come with Google, Facebook or Twitter flags for unreliability. Trump’s fake-news may back-fire. Lying in parliament seems to be the norm but sooner or later technology will catch up with the lies.
I wrote this 5 days ago but can barely keep up with the bullshit. Today there is a Telegraph article up in arms (pun pinched from RPUK) about Findlay and other young naturalists having the nerve to talk to their public servants.
* Just couldn’t resist shoehorning in an obscure reference which makes very little sense. Don’t even try to work it out.