Forestry Commission Chair on hunt sabs and transparency (FOI request)

Jack Riggall, an independent hunt monitor and anti-hunting campaigner, is writing a series of posts for us on fox hunts and Forestry England, and we were intrigued to be forwarded a letter this week obtained under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Defra which at the very least suggests that Sir William Worsley, the newly-appointed Chair of the Forestry Commission (Forestry England is an Executive Agency of the Forestry Commission), is not well inclined towards Hunt Saboteurs (who work in the field to protect wild animals from illegal hunting of course) or ‘animal rights and environmental activists’.

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Hen Harrier ‘disappears’ in the Yorkshire Dales

Another day and yet another appeal for information after yet another Hen Harrier disappears in the raptor sinkhole that is the Yorkshire Dales while shooting lobbyists issue yet another piece of classic obfuscation: “Just because yet another Hen Harrier disappears somewhere on a glorious grouse moor in the glorious Yorkshire Dales doesn’t mean we had anything to do with it. Anyway, it could still be alive – there was that one time, you know, when that one bird wasn’t dead, I’m sure I read about that in a memo once…” Etc etc etc…Grouse shooting. It’s nothing but the ritual massacre of wild birds, the slaughter of countless hares, foxes, corvid, mustelids, and an industry’s absolute unwillingness to sort out the infection of criminality that ensure this disgusting hobby is and always will be first in the frame when Hen Harriers ‘disappear’ on a moor in one of the worst places in the country for illegal raptor persecution.

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The Law and using decoys to shoot birds (applies even in the Yorkshire Dales)

Brazen. Some criminals just don’t care who sees them. That’s perhaps hardly surprising given how incredibly difficult it is to get a conviction in court. But in yet another tale of everyday wildlife criminals working in one of our so-called ‘national parks’ (many of which are actually essentially privately-owned grouse shooting moors, you know those things you can visit under a generous ‘exemption’ the government gave to its donors) a ‘man’ was filmed using a tethered bird as a decoy which is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act Section 5 (d) – despite what some people would like to claim on social media. Well, we’re always pleased to help, so in case this issue crops up again, here’s what the law says (and we’ve even bolded the relevant text for people who are just too busy killing foxes, weasels, or birds of prey to read the whole page).

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Government response to “Stop Forestry England granting licenses for Fox & Hare hunts”

Jack Riggall, an independent hunt monitor and anti-hunting campaigner, is writing a series of posts for us on fox hunts and Forestry England (FE), the government department responsible for managing and promoting the nation’s forests (search Jack Riggall). He also launched an e-petition asking FE to stop giving fox and hare hunts licences to ‘trail hunt’ on their (our) land: last year FE doled out 34 licences, with minimal supervision of the hunts concerned. The petition gained more than 10,000 signatures, triggering a government response which we’ve copied – and of course commented on.

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Why does shooting believe in its own exceptionalism?

While we are now legally obliged not to meet in groups of more than six – for good reasons: there’s a pandemic out there that kills vulnerable people – people who want to go out and shoot wildlife have been exempted both here in England and in Scotland. Got a hankering to kill something? No problem. Itchy trigger finger bothering you? Go scratch. As Mark Avery put it yesterday, ” A day at the races? No. An afternoon at the football? No. Jogging with six friends? Of course not. A day on a grouse moor? Of course old boy…” The shooting industry is treated as exceptional and given special treatment. Why? We’ll explain further down in this post what we think the reasons are, but there was actually an awful inevitability about these announcements.

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Petition: Hunts and shoots should not be exempt from 6 person rule + Covid-19 restrictions

“Today it was announced that hunts and shoots will be exempt from the new 6 person rule. It still remains unclear whether this also means ‘trail hunts’ (fox hunts) are also exempt. ‘Trail hunting’ (fox hunting) is not on the approved list of ‘team sports’ and the restrictions on the outdoor activity of horse riding are very clear, any hunt that takes place with more than six people will be against the law. However, it would seem that hunts up and down the country will not allow the new law to prevent them from continuing ‘Autumn hunting’. According to a statement released by the Hunting Office, it is claimed that ‘Autumn Hunting is an organised outdoor activity and Hunts are operating within Covid-secure Guidelines.” Petition ‘Hunts and shoots should not be exempt from 6 person rule + Covid-19 restrictions’

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