Back in June, we blogged about the Hawk & Owl Trust’s supposed “immoveable provisos and conditions” that had been set, by them, as part of their agreement for taking part in DEFRA’s brood meddling plan (see here).
Here they are, as a reminder:
We were interested to hear whether the setting of three illegal pole traps on the Mossdale Estate grouse moor would cause the Hawk & Owl Trust to pull out of the brood meddling scheme because it seemed that one of their “immoveable provisos and conditions” had been broken. The Hawk & Owl Trust didn’t respond.
But now they have, in a comment written by Philip Merricks (Hawk & Owl Trust Chair) on Mark Avery’s blog today (see here), and the response is astonishing.
According to Philip, those “immovable conditions” only apply “when all actions of the DEFRA Hen Harrier Recovery Plan are underway“. As two elements of the Plan have yet to begin (brood meddling and the southern reintroduction), apparently the “immovable conditions” are not yet applicable.
But that’s not what the Hawk & Owl Trust said in their original statement about those “immoveable conditions“. Have another look at the Hawk & Owl Trust’s original statement (top image above). The first line reads:
‘Before agreeing to talk with DEFRA about the details of a trial, the Trust created three immoveable provisos and conditions for taking part in a brood management scheme trial’.
What a total bloody cop out! Philip has demonstrated that the Hawk & Owl Trust’s intentions are just as disingenuous as those claimed by the grouse-shooting industry at the beginning of the year when they professed tolerance to a limited number of hen harriers on their moors. Philip knows and accepts that since the DEFRA plan was launched in January 2016 (here), illegal hen harrier persecution has taken place – he acknowledged this throughout his presentation in Sheffield at the weekend (see here), and yet here he is, suggesting that this year’s persecution incidents ‘don’t count’ because the full plan has yet to be launched.
This isn’t conflict resolution, this is the Hawk & Owl Trust acting as apologists for an industry which relies upon the illegal killing of birds of prey. It’s shameful.