More crayons than credibility at GWCT HQ

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has responded to the publication of the RSPB’s 2016 Birdcrime report with an extraordinary blog, attributed to Director of Communications, Andrew Gilruth.

Read it here.

Someone’s been busy with the crayons, creating a bizarre graph showing the number of incidents reported to the RSPB, but totally ignoring the main graph in the Birdcrime report which shows an increasing long-term trend in the number of confirmed raptor persecution incidents.

GWCT graph:

Actual graph from RSPB’s Birdcrime report:

And clearly, Andrew was so busy with his colouring crayons that he lost concentration for a while and mis-read the number of confirmed incidents of bird of prey persecution in 2016 (which was 81) and instead wrote, “The RSPB report reveals that there were 46 confirmed incidents involving birds of prey & owls last year“.

He then goes on to misrepresent the objectives of the Langholm Project (and is taken to task by the RSPB’s Duncan Orr-Ewing in the comments section below the blog) and then talks about how GWCT is working to understand “what management approaches, including additional licensed management, would lead to less crime“. What he means by ‘additional licensed management’ probably isn’t the introduction of a regulatory system to licence game shoots; he’s probably talking about getting licences that would allow gamekeepers to kill raptors, which has been a long-held ambition of the GWCT (e.g. see here)

We shouldn’t really be surprised by the GWCT’s response to the Birdcrime report; GWCT has, in our opinion, moved so far away from being a recognisably credible and respected scientific organisation that we don’t expect anything but spin these days. However, this latest response just serves to isolate the GWCT even further, especially with the recent outpouring of condemnation of illegal raptor persecution from authorities like the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (here), Nidderdale AONB (here), Peak District National Park Authority (here) and the Forest of Bowland AONB (here). Even the British Association of Shooting & Conservation (BASC) has acknowledged that raptor persecution is game-shooting industry-driven problem (here), which leaves GWCT lagging well behind.

Still, credit where it’s due, the GWCT is helping the economy by maintaining jobs in the crayon manufactoring industry.

17 Responses to “More crayons than credibility at GWCT HQ”

  1. 1 Gerard
    November 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Perhaps the “stakeholders” should kick GWCT out of HH recovery plan. GWCT do state that brood meddling should proceed before illegal persecution stops, which illustrates well their attitude to killing raptors.

  2. 2 Les Wallace
    November 11, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Good god Duncan let Gilruth get it with two barrels didn’t he? Nothing Duncan said was untoward or unprofessional given the disingenuous crap Gilruth served up. Comparing moving Montagu Harrier broods that are threatened by farm machinery with artificially suppressing the numbers of Hen Harriers in an area so that a ludicrously inflated number of something else can be shot for fun was really scraping the bottom of the barrel even for the GWCT. Cheers Duncan!

  3. 3 Simon Tucker
    November 11, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    The “scientific” arm of the war on wildlife shows it is as out of touch and corrupt as the industry it represents.

  4. 4 Steve macsweeney
    November 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    An excellent point made by a colleague was—
    Following some wholesale slaughter in recent years, numbers are likely to be fewer now, until they recover.
    Can’t kill birds that are not there……..

  5. November 11, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    To paraphrase Duncan tells Gilruth to ‘”haud yer wheesht ye sooth-moothed eejit, ye dinnae know what yer havering aboot.’

  6. November 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    It is always amusing when an organisation such as GWCT hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that they are backing a loser !
    Continuing to support the driven grouse shooting industry & all its criminality is very unwise.

    Any shred of credibility is soon lost.

    Reminds me of the days when the Forestry Commission continued to support the endless planting of new exotic conifer plantations in the uplands, long past the time when they should have realised that the game was up !

    Keep up the pressure !

    • 8 Pip
      November 11, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      And what precisely do you think the function of the F.C. is (or was)? It isn’t a wholly conservationist body, though they also do some particularly good work in that field anyway – try the Woodland Trust for a more conservation minded approach to deciduous plantings. The F.C. plantings reduce our reliance on imported timber, and the carbon footprint is also subsequently reduced as well as providing work in rural areas. Pshaw! Pip

  7. 9 Anon
    November 11, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Makes you wonder whether, in these times of changing policy positions from shooting organisations and key landowners on wildlife crime, Andrew Gilruth has the backing of his CEO and trustees in saying this stuff or is just continuing his personal crusade of this cleverly crafted but shameful misinformation. Trustees shouldn’t meddle in matters of non-governance unless there’s reputational issues at stake. I wonder whether GWCT trustees think there are…?

  8. 11 lothianrecorder
    November 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I’m not going to even read the latest nonsense he has written – having wasted a bit of time on this man in the last couple of years, e.g. when GWCT chose Corsehope for their auction prize this year https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/gwcts-2017-scottish-auction-catalogue/ his stated response was “we have nothing to hide” https://twitter.com/AndrewGilruth/status/852045958829363200 Absolutely right, he does not feel it necessary to hide his automatic support for anyone xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx see all recent blogs on “Interesting Bedfellows” – they seek out whoever is xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx and offer unquestioning support. Another example of that here, quickly posting a press release including cleverly manipulated words about whether police had “found evidence” https://twitter.com/Gameandwildlife/status/756500350618726401

    Anyone who cares about conservation and the law and plays a leading role in a “conservation charity” would be posting press releases that shine a spotlight on the persecutors, rather than seeking always to defend them. His agenda is absolutely clear to anyone with eyes, blatant support for xxxxx xxxxx, and dangerous individual given his high authority in GWCT, but don’t waste time trying to enter into rational conversation with him…

    [Ed: you’ll understand why some of this had to be edited!]

  9. November 11, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    They are just a bunch of paid lobbyists…we shouldn’t be surprised when they spout unsubstantiated spin. It is a sign of desperation.

  10. 13 Paul V Irving
    November 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    One wonders if Gilruth himself believes this conflation of spin, misrepresentation and fiction. It goes to show that despite recent statements from some game lobby organisations that we should really be wary of their motives. Certainly Mr Gilruth has not had a “road to Damascus” moment and Duncan has the right of it.
    We need to be vigilant about being drawn in by apparent changes of heart, welcome though they may be, remember it is action we need from these people and a seismic shift in it too!

  11. 14 Dylanben
    November 11, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Superb responses from Duncan. Going off at a tangent, I noted a link on the GCWT blog stating that Defra is to announce a consultation on trapping:
    The item refers to the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) which sets out international standards on humaneness and trap-testing procedures. We are told that the stoat is the only AIHTS species which is regularly trapped in the UK. Whereas there are traps in existence for trapping stoats which are AIHTS compliant, the GWCT tells us that that those used in run-through tunnel-traps are not. So how long has it been known that tunnel-traps have been killing or maiming target and non-target species by inhumane methods and how come this has been allowed to persist?

  12. 15 Henry MacHarrier
    November 12, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I have today attended a talk by a member of GWCT research staff who stated that fewer gamekeepers were a limiting factor in the populations of grey partridge. Really? So is that the same for other farmland birds too then? Not something you hear linked to the decline in skylarks for example. Spin again.

    • 16 AlanTwo
      November 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      It would be a minor ecological miracle if the decline in greys was not linked to the release of huge numbers of non-native red-legs and pheasants every year.
      It’s only in the looking-glass world of game shooting that no-one even considers that releases on such a scale might have consequences.

  13. November 13, 2017 at 11:45 am

    It is quite funny to know that Gilruth spends so much time and effort underlining (with a red crayon?) quotes collected for his wee red book of cherries by taking out of context anything he can find. Cherry picking to avoid even the most basic facts. The book is very small more like a page or two but this recent cover-up gives us some more red nuggets.
    I love the way he repeatedly takes Mark out of context; when he pops his cherries he thinks he has somehow scored a point like it is a game of fencing, ‘touché’, when actually he just looks ridiculous.
    If ever there was a candidate for the ‘nature conservation life time achievement Dunning–Kruger award’ we already have a winner no need to look further. He plays to his own audience and presumably is paid well for it.

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