RSPB corrects misleading commentary from shooting industry

A couple of weeks ago the RSPB announced it was going to conduct a review of its policy on game bird shooting (see here). That’s all it was – a statement of intent to review a policy, nothing more, nothing less.

However, this statement elicited a surprisingly strong reaction from the game shooting organisations who mostly appeared to be terrified at the prospect of such a review and responded by hurling characteristic abuse at the RSPB. For example, Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance was quoted in the press as follows:

Disappointingly this seems to be the final step in the RSPB’s long journey to becoming an anti-shooting organisation. 

It displays the organisation’s bizarrely warped priorities in the face of so many other pressing concerns that face the countryside we know and love“.

This morning the RSPB’s Martin Harper has responded to the media frenzy with a measured blog setting out the facts and dismissing the hysteria – well worth a read (here).

There’s another example of the RSPB hitting back this week….

In the Oct 9th edition of Shooting Times there was a spectacularly crap article based on a claimed conversation between an unknown gamekeeper and the article’s author, Jamie Blackett, claiming that two people who said they were from the RSPB were ‘inspecting‘ the property of the unnamed keeper and in doing so, according to Blackett, were ‘likely to be acting unlawfully‘, acting ‘contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights‘, ‘were probably trespassing‘, and ‘acting as if they were the police force’.

There was also some very strange and embarrassing drivel about allegations that another [unnamed] organisation had been removing eagles from nests without licences to fit trackers which “would probably be a criminal activity“. Er, yes it would be ‘a criminal activity‘ if the people removing eagles from nests to fit trackers weren’t licensed to do so – if Mr Blackett has any evidence of this we’d urge him to report it to Police Scotland without delay.

The text of this article appears to be based entirely on unsubstantiated claims and innuendo but also looks to have been carefully ‘lawyered up’, peppered with language that would prevent any accusations of libel from sticking. It says a lot about Shooting Times that it would publish this dross.

The RSPB wrote a letter of complaint to Shooting Times the following week and the letter has finally been published this week, as follows:

We note, with considerable disappointment, the recent article by Jamie Blackett (Country Diary, 9 October), which contains many false and totally unsubstantiated allegations about the RSPB.

It appears that this article seeks solely to damage the RSPB’s reputation and create suspicion and distrust in the minds of your readers. Its publication does nothing to encourage constructive discussion between the shooting industry and nature conservation NGOs, and is all the more disappointing in the light of recent discussions and meetings between RSPB staff and Shooting Times, where we are trying to build bridges between our sectors.

There is no evidence whatsoever to support the apparent source of this story’s assertion that the two individuals he claimed to encounter were from the RSPB, other than his claim that they told him this. The falsities are compounded by the fact that no attempt was made either by the author or your editorial team to put them to us for comment.

RSPB staff have no powers or right to ‘inspect vehicles’ – the only time we would be involved in carrying out any search would be when we are specifically requested by the police to assist them under their instruction and immediate close supervision. Similarly, the further accusations that RSPB staff were ‘trespassing’ or are vigilantes do not stand up to scrutiny.

The final paragraph of the article suggests that the RSPB may have brought the law into disrepute by acting dishonestly. Again, we repudiate this baseless accusation.

This article is constructed entirely on false accusation and allegation and on unevidenced opinion. For clarity, we refute the allegations completely and request that you publish this letter and provide us with an apology‘.

Allie McGregor, Communications Officer, RSPB


The Shooting Times editor chose not to publish an apology.

The article’s author, landowner Jamie Blackett, is not new to this game. George Monbiot called him out earlier this year (see here), arguing that an article in the Telegraph that had been written by Blackett was likely to encourage further harassment of Chris Packham at a time when Chris had been receiving death threats.

And according to Blackett, sacking Chris Packham would ‘save our songbirds’. Ahem.


16 Responses to “RSPB corrects misleading commentary from shooting industry”

  1. 1 Andy Mitchell
    November 7, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    They are a bit naughty, aren’t they? What utter drivel to be sucked up and repeated by their readers. I notice that the gamekeeper said “They didn’t find anything” rather than “There wasn’t anything”.

  2. 2 WTF
    November 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    They’re worried – simple as that! It’s got them rattled. Excellent.

  3. 3 Paul V Irving
    November 7, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    This utter rubbish from those tossers in the shooting lobby who try to cover the major failings in their own cabal by criticising RSPB or Chris Packham or whichever other conservation target they choose. RSPB are right to demand their letter be published pointing out the baseless nature of the article but without that apology should they really be trying to reach any sort of understanding with the ST? I would suggest not, long past time that RSPB and indeed other conservationists treated this scurrilous mouthpiece of the shooting interest cabal with the complete contempt it deserves.

  4. 4 Douglas Malpus
    November 7, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    They are all in the same denying mindset.

    I’ve always thought Clarkson to be an idiot, inciter to raise hatred and trouble maker (probably responsible for many road problems too). He gives evidence of the mentality behind the killing game.

    Crops to hide the birds until one day a marauding crowd of hooligans charge through, trampling everything, making lots of noise and a spectacle of themselves. All crops mentioned are short-lived, like the birds they kill.

    The psychotic nature of the killers is so well shown when they are cornered by facts about what they do to raise more gun fodder.


  5. 5 TaddyOfKentoo
    November 7, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    The Mooron’s need to be worried..Days are numbered! Onekind, Revive Coalition, Wild Justice,Mammal Persecution ..Keep up the good work!

  6. 6 George Murdo
    November 7, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    The RSPB are not anti-shooting .. (and more;s the pity imo) … they are anti-crime and the continuing crime wave on driven grouse moors, largely ignore by those associated with them, is pushing them into the understanding that the only way it can be stopped is to close these charnal houses.

  7. 7 heclasu
    November 8, 2019 at 1:31 am

    75 year old Keeper? Yep, I bet! Should’ve gone to Specsavers!

  8. 8 Philip Stubington
    November 8, 2019 at 7:45 am

    They seem to be annoyed that an organisation dedicated to protecting birds just might be against people blowing birds out of the sky for fun. I say just might, since like many readers I’ll believe the RSPB is actually pivoting on this when I see the new policy announced rather than just a review.

  9. 9 michael gill
    November 8, 2019 at 8:26 am

    What’s an “amateur gamekeeper”? Seriously? Is it someone who likes to try to do all the things that professional game keepers do, killing stoats and foxes and hedgehogs etc. but just for fun? Because it’s not actually their job, and they’re not getting paid to do it?

    • November 8, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      Yes, with no direct link to landowner or manager. Exactly the issue when illegal snares are set – At the very least every snare should be tagged to show the owner and or the individual responsible for setting it, and the land it’s licensed to be used on. All responsible landowners should be comfortable to comply with that.

    • 11 Jim Bamford
      November 10, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Pretty common in Ireland. We have a predominantly gun club system here rather than shooting estates, so very little shooting is done as a business. Clubs and individuals rear pheasants and do all the same things a pro gamekeeper would but at their own expense, rather than getting paid for it.

  10. 12 workshy333
    November 8, 2019 at 9:35 am

    ‘The pained tone of a downtrodden citizen…!’ I mean, FFS! Didnt this traumatised individual ask for some ID, tell them to FO, or something equally permissive unless they were in police uniform. Another of those fairy stories at Xmas; is the Shooting Time’s (Up) so short of stories, articles, romantic pix of pheasants hanging from the jaws of cuddly gundogs, that they need to fill pages with this stuff. How often have I read off followers of this blog being intimidated by ‘guardians of our countryside ‘ on estates, and other area of public access.

  11. 13 Paul V Irving
    November 8, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Having today stood in the aisle of the local supermarket and read the editorial comment under the published RSPB letter it is quite clear that the ST believes the ” fairy stories” about RSPB employees wishing to search vehicles and premises. So not only no apology but an endorsement, I can smell the effluent from here!
    Interestingly many years ago I was with a colleague on an East Nidderdale Moor green road very early in the morning and we were approached by a keeper in a vehicle who wished to search our vehicle, claiming this right under the ” game laws”. When asked if he could produce a warrant card or similar photo ID, he could not so he was told that without that he had no rights whatsoever and to go forth and multiply as they say. I was later told by a local cop that keepers have no such right of search and should they attempt to physically search you or your vehicle it is an offence, presumably the same applies to these mythic RSPB staff.

  12. 14 Merlin
    November 8, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    according to the press Gazette Shooting times is losing 10% of readers year on year, many years ago you could get some interesting articles in there by people who did know something about the countryside, however it lost its way some time ago and despite having more editors than a football team has managers readers have voted with their wallet by refusing to pay to read the drivel printed

  13. 15 William Fenn
    November 9, 2019 at 6:42 am

    If anyone can publish drivel its you lot!

    • 16 Coop
      November 9, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      The lies from Bonner and Blackett are there in black and white for all to see. Are you really that stupid to deny what’s right in front of you? Or, are you just another cynical bullshit merchant like them?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Stats

  • 6,005,994 hits


Our recent blog visitors