26
Oct
19

‘Wild Justice speaker talks a lot of common sense’, says Shooting Times columnist

At the beginning of October one of Shooting Times’ regular columnists, David Tomlinson, wrote this:

That was decent of him and shows that the sensible people in the game shooting world can see the writing on the wall and recognise that they need to reform quickly before it all comes crashing down.

But as we all know, not everyone in the game shooting world is sensible.

Fast forward to this week’s Star Letter(!) in Shooting Times, from one J.M. Osborne, Oxfordshire:

It’s a shame Mr Osborne, a well-known sporting agent whose companies include J.M. Osborne & Co. and William Powell Sporting, didn’t declare his potential conflict of interest before he tried to defend large bag sizes.

Mr Osborne has been involved with over 100 sporting estates in the UK (and others abroad), some of which will be familiar names to blog readers (e.g. Glenogil, Leadhills, Raeshaw, Bransdale, Snake & Parkhall Moors, Swinton, Allenheads, Abbeystead, Wemmergill, Snilesworth, Broomhead, Glanusk, Glenlochy).

One of his companies has bragged online about large bag sizes: ‘We have broken the day or season’s record on 12 moors where we have been involved…..’ and you can see from this document that we picked up at this year’s Game Fair that bag sizes of 300 birds are routinely on offer via his other company:

Mr Osborne was no doubt thrilled about Wild Justice’s second successful legal challenge earlier this year when DEFRA finally admitted it had to assess the ecological impacts of releasing tens of millions of non-native gamebirds in to the countryside every year. We await action from DEFRA.

Ps. Wild Justice is celebrating its first birthday today (see here).


22 Responses to “‘Wild Justice speaker talks a lot of common sense’, says Shooting Times columnist”


  1. 1 Gerard
    October 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Jolly good show, hey what, tally ho, the 200plus bag size sporting agent breaks cover.

  2. 2 Guest
    October 26, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    This letter exemplifies the eco illiteracy that is rampant throughout the shooting world. With absolutely no qualification whatsoever, the author (who happens to run large shoots) declares that the various forms of shooting “all have their place in the countryside”. This is an appeal to tradition and selfishness, as it fails to take in to account the detrimental ecological impacts that result from managing the land intensively for larger bags. It’s a wilful denial of reality and scientific evidence. Only this week, there was a fascinating programme on BBC about weasels, showcasing their intelligence and the vital role they play in our ecological web of life. It’s worth emphasising that weasels, along with stoats, are yet another so called ‘vermin’ species to commercial shoots, where they are indiscriminately killed in numbers that would most likely shock ecologists, not to mention the general public.

  3. October 26, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Happy birthday! And many more!

  4. 4 alancranston
    October 26, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Happy birthday Wild Justice. A precocious child indeed.

  5. October 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Osborne deliberately failing to mention that it isn’t the size of the bag that is the most pressing problem, it is all the environmental and criminal aspects which it entails. It sounds like there is a taboo in the shooting lobby against mentioning uncomfortable truths. Unless they start to take responsibility for this failure they are going to go the way of DGS. Good thing because in the lowlands the problems of raptor persecution are being ignored.

    • 6 sog
      October 27, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      I’d be interested to see the Editor’s comment following the letter. It may distance ST somewhat from that letter.

      • October 27, 2019 at 3:03 pm

        Hi sog,

        Much of the editor’s reply was irrelevant waffle. However, the pertinent bit is as follows:

        ‘I can’t speak for Mr Tomlinson on the specifics of big bags but as far as I’m concerned big is not inherently bad and small is not always beautiful. Practices that are sometimes employed, however, such as the over-release of birds in an avaricious effort to make big bags even bigger, are the sort of thing that we should be turning our backs on’.

  6. 8 TOBornotTOB?
    October 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I have lived in Nidderdale for 20 years and often drive up the water authority road from Lofthouse to Scar Reservoir. It is quite usual to see a lot of Pheasant and Partridge on this private road and on either side of it in the fields and moorland, but I used the road on Wednesday and I was astounded by the vast number of birds that were around on that day. I have never seen it as bad before and had the thought that it was such a waste, for a variety of reasons. When you see so many Pheasant and Partridge you just know that there must be a negative ecological impact that will result.

  7. 9 Andy Mitchell
    October 26, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Just one point to make. The reason dogs are not allowed at BirdFair (apart from guide dogs) is that it’s a nature reserve. Actually, a bit more than that; the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Ramsar site and a European Special Protection Area.

  8. 14 Bimbling
    October 26, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    And of pheasants dumped in the ditch there is no mention…

  9. 15 Ernie Scales
    October 26, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Osborne is obviously going to defend big bags when the charge is between £34 and £44 with or without VAT + commission per bird. The bigger the bag the greater the reward and a sure winner for his bank balance. Capitalism at its obscene worst (or no doubt in his view, best).

  10. 17 Puritanically strange
    October 26, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    So, anyone who cares about the mass slaughter of pheasants, which have lived barely long enough to reach maturity, is deemed to have ‘strange puritanical interests’. I have no doubt whatsoever which side of the argument would be considered ‘strange’ if the issue was put to a fair vote. The letter-writer is no doubt accustomed to thinking and acting on a massive scale. Given the number and nature of the many ventures he’s been involved in it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his efforts, directly or indirectly, have resulted in the deaths of more game birds in modern times than those of any other individual. Not something to be proud of in my book – but then, I’m puritanically strange.

  11. 18 Reece Fowler
    October 26, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Regarding the comment by Osborne asking “is the Editor of Shooting Times or David Tomlinson some sort of arbiter?”. I’d ask exactly the same about these intensive estates, their management staff and their keepers who decide to keep cramming ever more and more birds onto their land purely for financial return, without any thought of the potential consequences, and without any real oversight. The arrogance and entitlement really is something.

  12. October 27, 2019 at 11:16 am

    ..and who is the arbiter who has allowed the release of that southern species the red legged partridge, to be realeased into the wild on scottish grouse moors and other upland habitat in recent years?…

  13. 20 Paul V Irving
    October 27, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    This would be the same J. M Osborne who has been associated with a number of estates with very high wildlife crime rates under his tenure as agent/manager, whilst we have seen no proof that he himself has committed any crime some would say this correlation is quite striking.

  14. 22 Roderick Leslie
    October 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    David Tomlinson, along with people like John Swift, represents the thinking responsible end of shooting – they are out there, but they are being shouted down – by people like Osborne. It’s a bit of a race against time – if the Tomlinson’s and Swifts aren’t listened to the prospect not just for Grouse but for shooting generally look poor – but then doesn’t the argument that if you can afford it, what’s the problem ? sum up the disastrous nine years of this liaisse faire, the rich should get richer British Government.


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