Moorland Association response to armed man with decoy hen harrier on a grouse moor

The Moorland Association (A sad morons coalition for you anagram fans) has issued a statement in response to yesterday’s video of an armed man, on a grouse moor, with a decoy hen harrier.

Fake Hen Harrier (1) - Copy

Statement from Amanda Anderson, Director:

The Moorland Association condemns all acts of wildlife crime and supports the prosecution of those who break the law.

We were not aware of the events leading to the release of this video clip but understand it is alleged to have been filmed in February. We learnt yesterday that since then the police have conducted their enquries and have decided to take no further action. We were not contacted as part of that investigation. From the clip, it is very difficult to make out any detail at all, either of a person or a decoy.

The identity of any person allegedly filmed is unknown, as is the location. No crime has been committed as far as we can see. Making judgements based on assumptions of the content of this clip, or indeed the intentions of those who have produced it, would be pure supposition and not something we are going to enter into“.

So there we have it. A predictable, complete and utter denial from the organisation representing grouse moor owners.

According to Amanda, she found it difficult to see the armed man or the decoy hen harrier. Perhaps she had a bit of medicated grit in her eye, and its toxic properties have corroded her retinal cells, because everyone else who’s seen the footage (or at least those who don’t have a vested interest in protecting the grossly damaging activities of the grouse-shooting industry) has been able to see an armed man sitting on a grouse moor, close to a decoy hen harrier.

Sure, the image quality is poor, but then it was filmed from a distance of 1km so all things considered, it’s actually pretty good. And it was good enough for the police to launch an investigation, it was good enough for the National Trust to launch an investigation, and it was good enough for the Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority to tweet yesterday: “This video is alarming and suspicious“.

Perhaps we can all have a whip round to help pay for some urgent corrective eye-surgery for Amanda?

Actually, that would be pointless. No amount of surgery can help someone with wilful blindness, for that is what she, and the rest of the grouse-shooting industry, is suffering. This contrived ignorance is as deliberate as it is predictable.

We asked yesterday whether the Moorland Association’s claims about operating a zero tolerance policy towards hen harrier persecution were sincere or fake. The answer is evident.

All negotiations with this outfit should cease immediately. There’s no compromise to be had here, their intentions are clear. The Raptor Groups and the RSPB should pull out of the failed Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative charade and stop pretending that there’s any hope of effective partnership-working with these people. There isn’t.

There is hope for change though. And that comes in the form of getting a political debate on the future of driven grouse shooting. 100,000 signatures are needed to bring about that debate; we’re almost one third of the way there already. Make your voice heard, sign this petition and ask others to sign too (HERE).

Let’s show these charlatans we mean business.

25 Responses to “Moorland Association response to armed man with decoy hen harrier on a grouse moor”

  1. 1 JW4926
    April 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    So ……. if no crime was being committed and no crime was being contemplated, the person in camo gear won’t mind coming forward then and explaining his/her actions then, will they …………. (I won’t, under advice, hold my breath) …….

    • April 27, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      ‘So ……. if no crime was being committed and no crime was being contemplated, the person in camo gear won’t mind coming forward then and explaining his/her actions then, will they …………. ‘


  2. 3 Neil
    April 27, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Amanda should have gone to spec savers !

  3. 4 Alex Milne
    April 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    A good assessment of the response, which was totally predictable, unfortunately. It’s a pity the NGOs can’t see it.

  4. 5 Doug Malpus
    April 27, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Blind men and women wielding guns………. Perhaps we should keep away from the moors?

    Not likely, they have hidden in remoteness for too long. It is time to show them we are breathing down their necks.

    I do not want to see the extinction of our raptors to satisfy the greed and blood lust of these killers.

    Perhaps they need a good poke in the eye.

  5. 6 Chris Toop
    April 27, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Well, let’s see, she has a point, it’s grainy footage, it’s insufficient evidence for the police to act on, no crime is committed (merely the act of preparing or attempting to commit one) and I don’t know who filmed it, but just possibly it was someone trying to smear the hard working, conservation-minded Peak District gamekeeping industry.
    Even if this was the case surely the Moorland Ass, instead of insinuating the filmers had nefarious intent, could have used a line such as: if this video does show an attempt to persecute a protected species (as widely interpreted) we would wholeheartedly condemn it and take action against any of our members involved.?
    That would have demonstrated a willingness to address raptor persecution in line with the aims of the Hen Harrier Action Plan. This drivel shows the same contemptuous attitude they’ve always held and shows why they cannot be trusted by RSPB et al to properly implement the Action Plan, or sit on any raptor forum.

    • April 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      Chris..I note you say “merely” the act of preparing or attempting to commit a crime….you were probably being ironic…but Id like to emphasise the fact that a large number of successful prosecutions under the 1981 Act and its successors, have been on “attempts”. Its a robust and well used piece of law…which could perhaps have been applied here…if additional evidence had been gathered.

    • 9 Andrew
      April 27, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      “possibly it was someone trying to smear the hard working, conservation-minded Peak District gamekeeping industry” (I know you don’t believe that)

      You have to be pretty gullible to fall for that one (like the police and the judiciary?). However if that was the case you would do a better job.
      On the other hand they are doing a good job themselves if only the media and authorities would do there jobs properly and expose it.

  6. April 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    It may be grainy but I bet he and his mates can recognise the individual without a problem.

  7. April 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Looks like Amanda likes to look at the pictures and ignores the words….. As reported in the blog, the events were witnessed by two credible witnesses. The video clip was taken to back up what they had seen. She has shown all the sincerity of a South Yorkshire chief of police.

    Would the Moorland Association consider the use of Harrier decoys as acceptable practice???

  8. 12 Steve Plant
    April 27, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    The fact the good guys can get footage like this is precisely why the current government is so keen to do away with the right to roam and deny us plebs access to such moorland, we are such damn nuisances when we see immoral and illegal acts. I noticed in the governments recent reply on the subject the figures for income and jobs generated all came from the shooting lobby – so we can believe those figures, yeah right!

  9. 13 Anon
    April 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    As Amanda “can’t see it therefore it doesn’t exist” maybe Amanda Oxygen Anderson would be more appropriate?

  10. April 27, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I would like to share some e-mail exchanges with Andrew Gilruth after writing to him (please RPS don’t ask me to write to him again) but at least i got a laugh which you might be interested in.
    He wrote (and on here too)
    ‘note that the trend in reported incidents of wildlife crime’
    I replied
    ‘Yes i did note it and it went up last year.
    Reported crimes are not an indication of actual crimes. The criminals could just as easily be getting more careful.
    Raptor numbers are a real indicator and as you well know they are in dire straits on intensively driven grouse moors i.e. all of managed grouse moors. I don’t need to cite all the scientific papers, you know them, just get paid to deny.’
    He replied
    ‘Raptor numbers may not be the best indicator of crime levels – the fall in hen harrier numbers on the Isle of Mull was not attributed to crime.’ I told him raptors on Mull were high and he comes back with
    ‘Indeed but not always been so. See sheep grazing pressure (Haworth & Fielding 2002)’
    I don’t have that paper but Fielding & Haworth et al. 2001 refer to that paper and summarise
    ‘On Mull, it has been shown that harriers avoided managed grassland with heavy sheep grazing that the removal of sheep stock was followed by the occupation of several new sites (Haworth & Fielding 2002)’
    When i criticise him he replies
    ‘this fact was not offered as a defence – it is to put it in perspective’

    ‘Perspective’. Very funny.
    So a few more Hen Harriers being able to breed on Mull if grazing was less is compared with criminal acts which result in:
    1% of threatened bird of prey species breeding successfully on grouse moors
    55-74 female Hen Harriers being killed EACH YEAR in Scotland (that is only the adult females).
    no breeding Hen Harriers on the Angus Glens grouse moors since 2006
    the catastrophic decline of breeding Hen Harriers on grouse moors in NE Scotland
    and that is just Hen Harriers.

    They really are desperate.

    If anyone has a copy that paper I would be very interested
    HAWORTH, P.F. & FIELDING, A.H. 2002. Analysis of hen harrier habitat and range use on Mull. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage, contract BAT/PA08b/01/02/34

    • April 27, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Its not a report that Alan Fielding quotes as one of his publications…I guess it must have been an internal SNH document? Maybe Paul H could comment?

    • 16 Flash
      April 27, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Phone SNH’s publications people on 01738 458530 or email them at pubs@snh.gov.uk to request a copy.

        • 18 Giraldus Cambrensis
          April 28, 2016 at 10:34 am

          That report might not have been published. I’m not sure that that matters, because the 2011 hen harrier framework report http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/jncc441.pdf : (a) seems to summarise it clearly [harriers don’t like heavily grazed grass moor; take the sheep off and harriers can move in]; (b) compares those findings with Orkney [harriers and heavy sheep grazing don’t mix well]; and (c) notes [p67]:

          “The Western Seaboard [Natural Heritage Zone – basically Mull, Skye & Ardnamurchan] is in a favourable condition, largely because of the large, successful and expanding population on Mull. There is only one recorded persecution incident involving nest disturbance/destruction. There would appear to be some scope for population expansion on Skye. The current population is largely confined to conifer forests but nesting and foraging habitat is likely to improve with a continuing decline in sheep numbers (SAC 2008) and a decrease in associated burning. Productivity on Skye, but not Mull, may be reduced by fox predation but further detailed monitoring is required to investigate this.”

          The real “perspective” is that hen harriers are able to respond well to reduced sheep numbers on Mull because [bad] people aren’t killing them there.

          • April 28, 2016 at 10:50 am

            Gilruth won’t go away.
            He claims his mention of sheep on Mull was to ‘to highlight the limitations of using population levels as a proxy for actual crime.’
            Actually he is making my point even stronger that the ‘proxy’ is the catastrophic numbers of birds of prey on driven grouse moors..
            By his logic there should be more Hen Harriers on grouse moors when as the links above show there are almost none.
            The man is an idiot.

            • April 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm

              I went back to some of the other ‘there’s a squirrel’ statements from Gilruth.
              We should keep a database of Gilruthisms and Hoggisms etc.
              This one would have been expected from the game-keeping industry who don’t appear to be highly educated but Gilruth is representing what used to be considered a scientific body and even has the word Wildlife, Conservation and Trust in its name.
              In direct response to my attack on the GWCT’s loss of credibility with it’s close relationship with Botham and chums, particularly when the Bowland males disappeared last year he denied any links and answered
              ‘removing eggs saved the Welsh red kite population – we would have more hen harriers in our skies – if some of the eggs had been removed’
              I can find no papers making such a prophecy and i am very suspicious that it comes straight from the Botham book of bullshit.

              Gilruth is making another ridiculous comparison and remember this is an official response to the Peak District dummy incident. A threatened species protected by international protocol with low numbers due to historic persecution is compared with a species which is doing very well except on driven grouse moors due to illegal acts by the next generations of these same criminals.

              To split hairs, i’ve never heard that the Welsh Red Kites were ‘saved’. I’m sure someone will correct me if i’m wrong. The population was hazardously low and i know artifical incubating eggs did occur and i presume was very beneficial but i imagine by now that the Welsh population numbers must have been or will be soon augmented by the other UK populations even if no eggs had been incubated artificially. So ‘saved’ is i think an exaggeration.

              • April 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

                Gilruth is definitely the gift that keeps on giving.
                I wrote ‘Notice you have avoided the fact that wildlife crime rose in last PAW report. Any more Gilruthisms to share?’
                To which he replied verbatim and in total
                ‘Recovering the British population from about 25 breeding pairs works for me.’
                So it is official the spokesperson for GWCT is happy with 26 pairs of Hen Harriers in the UK.
                Sorry RPUK i will try to stop.

                P.S. Times change but i miss RPS

      • April 28, 2016 at 2:44 pm

        Apparently SNH don’t have a hard or e-copy!
        Gilruth probably has the only one in existence, better not tell him he will claim sheep eat Hen Harrier chicks.
        I might write to Paul Howarth although i don’t think it will say anything more than given in A Conservation Framework for Hen Harriers in the United Kingdom.

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