Archive for April, 2019


Chris Packham receives chilling death threats

The manufactured hate campaign against Chris Packham, long generated and encouraged by certain organisations in the shooting lobby and their friends in the Government and media, has recently escalated following Wild Justice’s successful legal challenge last week and has now resulted in chilling death threats towards Chris.

The dead crows hanging off his gate didn’t phase him, and his reaction to a penis drawn on a block of wood that was sent to him was genius – auctioning it on Ebay to raise funds for Wild Justice’s next legal challenge (this has currently raised £2,350.00 with six days left to bid)

However, in an exclusive interview in today’s Mirror, Chris talks about his fears for his family after receiving a number of ‘suspicious packages’, later opened by the Police and found to contain human excrement (see here for interview).

Then this morning, during an interview on Good Morning Britain where Chris was explaining the rationale behind Wild Justice’s legal challenge and calling out the fake news on it, he revealed that he’d received death threats last night. (Interview available on ITV catchup here for next seven days: starts at 53.07 mins).

The police are investigating.

Having seen the death threats, they are credible, disturbing and chilling.

Whatever your view on Chris, his campaigning, his ethics, his TV presenting, this level of abuse and threat is intolerable. The shooting organisations (and one in particular) busily whipping up the hate frenzy against Chris should be demonstrating some leadership and taking immediate steps to calm down their members and behave with civil discourse.


SNH reluctant to discuss licensed raven cull in Strathbraan this year

As many of you will know, last year SNH authorised a mass raven cull on the grouse moors of Strathbraan in Highland Perthshire, just ‘to see what happens’.

The Scottish Raptor Study Group took on a legal challenge against SNH and the cull was eventually halted.

[Young ravens in a nest in Stirlingshire, photographed last week under licence by Dave Taylor]

SNH’s Scientific Advisory Committee comprehensively demolished the so-called science behind the cull (study apparently designed by GWCT) with comments such as it’s ‘completely inadequate’, ‘will fail to provide any meaningful scientific evidence’, ‘the methodology cited has not been followed’ and ‘seriously flawed’.

However, the threat of a potential new raven cull licence application has never gone away and for this reason we’ve been keeping tabs on SNH and the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders (also known as gamekeepers).

Incredibly, it seems SNH has learned nothing from last year’s fiasco and still isn’t being transparent about what’s going on, even though this statutory nature advisory agency still claims to becommitted to openness and transparency“.

Here’s SNH’s response to one of our recent Freedom of Information requests asking about whether a licence application has been submitted this year and if so, whether SNH has granted another licence to permit the killing of ravens:

Hmm. The potential for SNH to delay responding in full to this FoI request until 28 May was highly unsatisfactory, especially if a licence to kill ravens has already been issued to the gamekeepers. It would mean we wouldn’t find out about that licence until 28 May, and thus any potential legal challenge wouldn’t be lodged until sometime in June, by which time most of the ravens would already have been killed so the legal challenge would become ‘academic’ and could potentially be thrown out of court.

With this in mind, the following email was sent to SNH on 25 April:


Thank you for your response.

Whilst I accept that SNH needs to ensure personal data are redacted, I don’t accept that it should take a further 20 working days to provide the information requested for issues that do not involve redacting personal data.

Namely, questions 2, 4 and 5.

I would be grateful if SNH could respond these by tomorrow’s 20 day deadline please.

For clarity, here are those questions again:

2. Has SNH received a licence application to cull ravens in Strathbraan in 2019? If yes, on what date was the application received?

4. If a licence application for 2019 has been received, has SNH made a decision on the application and if so, what is that decision?

5. If SNH has not yet made a decision on a 2019 licence application, when does SNH anticipate the decision will be made?

Thank you.


SNH responded the following day (26 April) with this:


Thank you for getting in touch.  Although the EIR legislation permits an additional 20 working days extension to the deadline for responding to an information request, in this case we are confident that it won’t take us that long to complete our response to your request.  Your request is a priority, and we are working to get the whole response to you as soon as we can.

I will contact you again next week to give you an update on progress and an indication of when we expect to send the response to you.

Kind regards,


Not good enough. A further email was sent to SNH on 26 April:

Thank you for your email.
I still don’t accept that the answers to questions 2, 4 and 5 cannot be answered today. Please can you send the answers?
SNH hasn’t responded.
Watch this space.
UPDATE 2 May 2019: SNH rejects 2019 licence application for Strathbraan raven cull (here)

Chris Packham auctions his ‘penis hate mail’ to support next Wild Justice legal challenge

Over the weekend, Chris Packham received some hate mail as a response to last week’s news that General Licences are to be revised to make them lawful.

In his own inimitable style, Chris shared some of this hate mail in a video he posted on Twitter yesterday:

A day later, this video has received over half a million views, and counting.

It also resulted in this amazing headline (if you’d asked anyone at the start of the year to predict some of the year’s headlines, this one would never have made the list!) –

And here’s an excerpt from this article, reporting the transcript from Chris’s video:

Now, in a once in a lifetime opportunity, you have a chance to win this amazing piece of art/conservation history as Chris is auctioning it to raise funds for Wild Justice. As a special tribute to the penis artist, all proceeds will be used to help fund the group’s next legal challenge, because that’s what Chris thinks the artist would have wanted. A kind of poetic justice (thanks to @CharlieMoores for that one!).

Please give generously – we wouldn’t want the penis artist to think his/her (probably his) efforts were insignificant. Think of the pleasure he’ll get when he sees how much has been raised, all thanks to his sophisticated creativity!


Includes photos, description, dimensions and free delivery!

Bidding closes 6 May 2019 at 18.57hrs

UPDATE 1 May 2019: Yesterday, Ebay accidentally deleted this item from its site (top bid had reached £2,550). Today, Ebay has apologised and reinstated the item. Bidding has restarted (here).

UPDATE 13 May 2019: Chris Packham’s ‘penis hate mail’ raises £2,550.00 for Wild Justice! (here)


Strong support for grouse moor reform at SNP spring conference

The Scottish National Party held its spring conference in Edinburgh over the weekend.

Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, took the opportunity to have a stand in the exhibitors’ hall on both days which attracted a large number of MSPs and delegates who signed up to support the campaign.

[Revive coalition members Ruth Tingay (RPUK), Max Wiszniewski (Revive Campaign Manager & mastermind of Revive’s involvement at conference) and Robbie Marsland (League Against Cruel Sports Scotland)]

Revive also hosted a Fringe event at the conference on Saturday afternoon, which took the form of a panel discussion hosted and chaired by Ruth Maguire MSP:

The number of delegates wanting to attend this event was overwhelming. The audience was above capacity and the doors had to be closed to stop others coming in.

And what an audience it was! Some were already very well informed about the need for grouse moor reform, and others were clearly new to the debate but their eyes were soon opened.

The audience heard from Max, who introduced the background to Revive’s campaign and showed Revive’s video outlining the case for grouse moor reform.

Then there was a presentation from RPUK on the illegal killing of golden eagles (and other raptors) on many Scottish grouse moors and how the criminals have been able to get away with it for so long.

Next up was Robin McAlpine from Common Weal who brilliantly asked the audience to play at Dragon’s Den and pretend they were listening to a pitch to set up driven grouse shooting as an ethical, environmentally-friendly and sustainable business proposition. Their laughter would have been heard in the main conference hall.

Questions and answers followed, ably chaired by Ruth Maguire MSP and by the end of this hour-long event the mood in the room was palpable. This was an audience agitating for change.

Let’s hope the message reaches the Government as we prepare to find out the recommendations of Prof Werritty’s grouse moor management review in the coming months.


Police investigate shooting of two goshawks in Scottish Borders

From Peeblesshire News, 26/4/19:


Police are appealing for information after the illegal shooting of rare birds of prey in the Borders.

On February 14, a member of the public discovered a dead goshawk on land near Abbey Saint Bathens, Duns, and reported the matter to the RSPB.

Forensic analysis of the bird was undertaken, and it was established that it had been shot.

Police were then contacted on Thursday, April 25.

The news comes after the shooting of another goshawk in the Peebles area on March 2.

Inquiries into both shootings are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to come forward.

[Goshawk by Mike Lane]

Wildlife Crime Co-Ordinator, Constable Steven Irvine, said: “Inquiry was already underway into the shooting of the goshawk in March and we are now conducting inquiries into the earlier shooting of the bird in February. These birds are a protected species and unlawfully killing them is a very serious offence. Anyone who can assist with these investigations should contact police immediately.”

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations said “Goshawks are one of Scotland’s rarest breeding raptors, with only about 150 breeding pairs. Despite the fact that most of their diet consists of crows, woodpigeons and rabbits, species that are perceived as pests by some farmers and gamekeepers, cases of illegal persecution against this species are not uncommon, depriving people of the opportunity to see this charismatic and spectacular bird of prey.

We join with the police in asking that if anyone has information about this crime, or other raptor persecution incidents, they contact Police Scotland.”


Well, well, well. More illegal raptor persecution in the Scottish Borders.

You know the place – it’s where SNH have been “able to reassure ourselves persecution is not an issue” (see here).

UPDATE 17.15hrs: This story is now on the BBC news website and provides further information about the second shot goshawk, saying it was found dead by a dog walker near Eddleston Quarry on 2 March.


Alleged poison offence added to case against Scottish gamekeeper

A couple of weeks ago we blogged about the prosecution of Scottish gamekeeper Alan Wilson who is charged with allegedly committing 12 wildlife crimes at Longformacus in the Scottish Borders between March 2016 and May 2017 (see here).

Mr Wilson, 60, has pleaded not guilty and a trial is due to start at Jedburgh Sheriff Court in June 2019.

Further to the 12 alleged wildlife crimes, which are reported to include the shooting of two goshawks, four buzzards, a peregrine falcon, three badgers and an otter, we now understand that a further charge includes the alleged possession of the banned pesticide Carbofuran.

Please note: we will not be accepting comments on this news item until legal proceedings have concluded. Thanks.


Chris Packham targeted

A police investigation is underway.

Legal advice is also being taken for potential action against a number of individuals using social media to incite harassment, intimidation and violence.

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