Author: Charlie Moores

Peterborough protest over city hunting festival

Hello Peterborough Council, this is the 21st Century calling…demanding to know what the actual f are you doing supporting a grubby lobby group like the Countryside Alliance and violent hunt thugs by hosting a so-called Festival of Hunting this month? Fox hunting was banned by the Hunting Act, everyone and their dog knows that ‘trail hunting’ is a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting, that hunts break the law every day they go out, This is a world of harassment and intimidation, of threats and aggression, a disgusting throwback to a time when ecology was poorly understood and wild animals were thought to be little more than furry (or feathered) machines acting on instinct and incapable of fear or affection. Get your act together and get this celebration of cruelty and lawbreaking banned – as your taxpayers and residents want you to.

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Equipment Fund – one month in…

So how – and what – have we been doing in the past month? As we wrote in the original post we are particularly respectful of confidentiality so won’t be saying which groups we’ve supported, but we can say that we have sent out kit to sixteen applicants so far, and that in terms of geographic spread that kit has gone to Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, the Peak District, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, Cumbria, and southern Scotland. Thanks to our donors we have been able to provide six Guardian Body Cameras, two Badger Cages, several multi-packs of walkie-talkies, night vision monoculars, a Batbox Duet, and three Browning Trail Cams – as well as SD cards and batteries. The good news is that there is still money left to distribute, and we are still aiming to make everything as easy as possible for groups to access it.

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‘Undercover Trophy Hunter’ | Trophy Hunters lose the public vote – again

Putting my cards on the table, I have tried on many occasions to weigh up the ‘alternative’ viewpoint of trophy hunting as ‘conservation’. I can’t quite pull that off.. Yes, there is no doubt that Africa is a vast, vast continent. Many African countries do indeed have huge populations under the age of twenty. Clearly pressure on land – and wildlife – is intense. Some areas set aside for hunting undoubtedly also protect local biodiversity. And it is surely true that eco-tourism will never bring in enough revenue to support estates that in many cases are not set up for the demands of tourists or so far off the ‘beaten track’ that they will never have more than a handful of ‘bed stays’ a year. But whatever the ‘valid’ arguments, it is impossible to get past the fact that trophy hunters themselves are a disgusting bunch. They are a self-obsessed subset and palpably have zero interest in conservation beyond having more animals to kill. Permanently willy-waving, taking smug selfies to prove how ‘influential’ they are in the world of killing wildlife and determined never to be inconvenienced by the realities of public opinion, they swagger around the planet, drinking beer, and chucking the cans and blood and the guts our way whether we like it or not.

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Govt responds to snares petition

We’ve written about snares many times on this site (see – Hunt Investigation Team #SnareAware) and our opinion can be summed up fairly succinctly – get rid of them: they’re a weapon of the shooting industry, cruel, misused, and indiscriminate. The Codes of Practice governing snare use are often ignored. Which is not how the shooting lobby sees them or their use, of course. And while the government may be making many of the ‘right’ noises when it comes to animal welfare – banning live animal exports, looking hard at the fur industry, banning keeping primates – it has an absolute blind spot when it comes to killing wildlife for fun. Still, we campaigners don’t appear to be particularly concerned by the subject anyway. The petition – ‘Make the use of free-running snares illegal for trapping wildlife’ set up by Simon Wild of the National Anti-snaring Campaign – has attracted just over 14000 signatures as of today, a figure that is hardly likely to make Defra think again or worry the shooting industry in any way. But there is still time to move the petition along. It doesn’t close until November, so please have a look!

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BrewDog | Gamekeepers no longer needed at Kinrara

Shooting’s lobbyists have turned their fire on BrewDog via an article in The Times. The craft beer company bought a climate-unfriendly grouse moor near Aviemore, Kinrara, earlier this year and instead of shooting wildlife is planning to grow a forest on it to offset the carbon produced at its brewery in Ellon. This means that BrewDog no longer needs the six gamekeepers that were employed to kill wildlife on the estate. No one should take any pleasure in stories of redundancy. Jobs across many sectors (especially post-lockdown) are hard to get hold of and even harder to keep. But things change. Can gamekeeping? The old-fashioned raptor-hating keeper needs to be pensioned off and disappear, but there are expert wildlife trackers and knowledgeable, potential wildlife guides in their number. They could surely be re-employed in eco-tourism or helping with rewilding initiatives. Working in hospitality may not be as adrenalised as putting holes in foxes, but there is no point whatsoever in demanding society stands still. Far better for all concerned to adapt and retrain instead surely?

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Spain’s hunters agree to temporarily stop killing endangered bird

And the emphasis is on ‘temporarily’ – for just one year. Just one year for Turtle Doves to slightly recover enough to ensure that Europe’s notoriously ignorant and utterly selfish poachers have more Turtle Doves to kill in 2022…because you can be 100% certain that they will be back out after showing ‘restraint’ for one miserable season before they blast as many Turtle Doves out of the sky as they can. And it’s for this that conservationists are saying, “The engagement of the Spanish hunting community will make a significant contribution to help save this Globally Threatened species”? The putting down of the guns and not slaughtering a massively declining species ever again would be true engagement, but when conservation’s victories are so small I guess we have to take them where we can…

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Peregrine chicks taken in Peak District nest raid

Another godawful headline (this time from the Derby Telegraph) for the ‘authorities’ that supposedly run the Peak District National Park – a supposedly protected landscape blasted by grouse shooting and a bottomless pit for wildlife crime and raptor persecution. No, there is nothing in the newspaper report that specifically points to grouse shooting for the removal of yet more Peregrines – it could have been Mark Avery’s fabled ‘nurses on a day out’ enjoying a spot of falcon theft what done it – and it could have been linked to pigeon flyers or wealthy falconers – but the fact is that the ‘dark peak’ area of this blighted part of the countryside is notorious for its gamekeepers and their tight hold over everything that comes in or out of the grouse moors, and (as Bob Berzins memorably put it in a stinging post on Mountain Hare persecution in the very same ‘national park’ just yesterday), “There is no video footage of gamekeepers shooting mountain hares but then again there’s no footage of them shooting raptors either. So we’re left to explain the gaps in our skies, our missing birds and mammals…Spend time in the uplands and it’s obvious what’s happening”.

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Guest Post | Mountain Hares – Can they survive alongside Driven Grouse Shooting?

“The fate of mountain hares is subject to the same spin, falsehoods and lies we hear regularly from those champions of conservation: the grouse shooting Industry. Just as every gamekeeper is supposedly a friend of raptors, we also hear they’re the friends of hares. A propaganda video from the Gift Of Grouse has a caption of “There’s no shortage of mountain hare on land managed for grouse shooting due to predator control and healthy moorland” – all in an area with a well-documented history of large scale mountain hare killing. Some of the online moderators at Hare Preservation Trust thought the video showed hares being rounded up for slaughter and wanted the video to be deleted. Instead it was the moderators who were removed from their posts. The list of species which gamekeepers leave alone is a short one indeed: waders of course, but not much else. For raptors, statistics are selectively used: for a bird like peregrine, they’d happily quote the thriving populations in the White Peak, not the lack of birds in the grouse shooting Dark Peak. Merlin are generally left alone – sometimes weighing as little as 160g they’re not seen as a threat to grouse..” Guest post by Bob Berzins

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