Category: Blog Posts

BBC News | Old sett blockers taught new tricks

A BBC News report this evening is headlined “Men deny interfering with active badger setts in Devon”. On the surface it’s a rather typical tale of ‘terrier men’ (who stand out even amongst a group of thuggish lawbreakers as one of the nastier forms of illegal fox hunters) blocking the entrances to badger setts. Now, badgers are protected by law of course. That has never stopped terrier men, who (allegedly, m’lud) routinely block badger setts to stop foxes disappearing underground (where they will be flushed out by the terriers who are also routinely scarred for life in fights with badgers) or to net emerging badgers for illegal badger baiting. Badger setts are protected by law too. But only if they’re active. This case is still going through the court so we won’t speculate on outcomes (even though the terrier men don’ deny blocking the sett with the hunt paying for lawyers who apparently couldn’t care less about badgers – or why defend these notorious thugs? – it’s likely they’ll get off). Same old, same old frankly. What is perhaps more interesting, though, is the language that the defendants use in court now and that is referenced to in the article from the BBC.

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Jonathon Seed | Police seek CPS advice over aborted PCC election

It’s not been a good few months for ex-foxhunting, red-faced would-be Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Jonathon Seed. Having dodged question after question about his past chasing and killing wildlife, having decided that ‘only ‘trolls’ talk about hunting’, and having merrily told anyone who would listen how he would follow a Countryside Alliance-type line and would crack down on hunt monitors, he was undone by a drink driving charge thirty years old – which ruled him out of even standing for PCC in the first place. The cost of running in an election when he or his team should have known that he was ineligible is now being investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service. To be completely fair to Mr Seed, he has repeatedly insisted he had declared his 30-year-old conviction to the party in his application for the role. But here he is, with the CPS possibly thinking that, “wouldn’t you think that one of the criteria for being a PCC would be having some basic knowledge of the eligibility rules”.

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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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