BirdLife webinar | Bird trade in Asia

Has the way we all do business changed as a response to Covid-19? Take BirdLife International’s webinar for example. Sure, webinars have been around for a while now, but the audio and video quality has come on leaps and bounds. They are more interactive. And for those more e-weary members of the potential audience, the carbon savings of not flying around the world to a meeting is well worth the additional screentime a webinar might involve. Webinars sound so obvious now: but if you began taking an interest in these issues when dial-up modems seemed revolutionary, this still feels like a huge advance.

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RSPB | Catalogue of bird crimes in Peak District NP

The RSPB have published a well-timed article (as in, it’s near the start of the grouse massacre ‘season’ and a wandering immature Bearded Bulture has drawn huge numbers of birders to the area) looking at what they are describing, without exaggeration, as a ‘catalogue of bird crimes in the Peak District National Park. That raptor persecution is rife won’t come as a surprise to many people though. In 2017 a survey published by the Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative showed that Peregrines had failed to breed in the Dark Peak for the first time since they recolonised in 1984 and stated that “It is widely agreed that in terms of increased raptor populations in the Dark Peak, the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative 2012-2015 failed to meet its targets”…

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Calderdale Council votes to support ban on moor burning

It’s been a disastrous year already for an industry that has long been associated with wildlife crime, environmental damage, and ad hominem attacks on ‘animal rights extremists’ (or as we know them, ‘people who care about wildlife’). And it has been entirely of their own making. Recent developments in Yorkshire certainly won’t have helped the mood. On July 16th it was announced that Wakefield Council had banned moor burning, and today, according to a press-release from the grassroots organisation Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, they’ve been joined by Calderdale Council. Interestingly, Calderdale covers the notorious Walshaw Estate…

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Three gamekeepers ‘suspended’ over killing of goshawk

The media stories triggered by the filming of a ‘masked man’ killing a Goshawk, one of the UK’s rarest and most persecuted birds of prey, continue to build. Today the Yorkshire Post is reporting that three gamekeepers have been suspended (note ‘suspended’, we discuss this in the full post). Firstly though, Goshawks are routinely killed on shooting estates, so why has this bird made the headlines?
Four elements stand out that have probably helped this particular case gain traction…

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Goshawk ‘killing’ was filmed on one of Queen’s grouse moors

A couple of days ago news broke that a ‘masked man’ had been filmed killing a Goshawk on an estate in North Yorkshire. At the time the name of the estate was being withheld as a story was being prepared for a major newspaper. That voluntary embargo has now been lifted. An article with an accompanying video was published just after midnight this morning in The Times which was headlined “‘Killing’ of rare bird of prey filmed on one of Queen’s grouse moors in North Yorkshire”. The incident took place at “Goathland Moor in North Yorkshire, part of the Duchy of Lancaster”.

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The Independent | Boris Johnson said he ‘loved’ fox hunting

The Independent newspaper has just run a story that – on the face of it perhaps – seems curiously timed. The article reproduces a much-quoted opinion piece that current UK prime-minister Boris Johnson published in right-leaning The Spectator magazine back in 2005, not long after the Hunting Act came into force. So why now? Is this a rather clever pre-emptive strike on fox hunting and its allegedly ‘sexually inadequate’ supporters…

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Hen Harrier Day Wales 2020

Today (July 18 2020) sees the first Hen Harrier Day ever hosted in Wales. Which does seem strange given that uber-Welsh conservationist and broadcaster Iolo Williams has been a vocal and passionate supporter of Hen Harrier Day since the first HHD in the Peak District on 10 August 2014, but that makes it all the more welcome as the once-small protest movement against the persecution of birds of prey on grouse moors continues to gather pace. Today’s event is also the first to be held online, as organisers have had to bow the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic and bring the Day inside. There will still be a great cast of speakers though – and the line-up is exactly who you’d want to hear from if you want to learn the truth about raptor persecution, wildlife crime, and the driven grouse shooting industry.

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Wakefield Council backs a ban on grouse moor burning

According to a very welcome press-release from Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors (BBYM) Wakefield Council has joined the battle to save the county’s peat moors from being damaged for grouse shooting. There are numerous ways to achieve the end of grouse shooting. Changing public acceptance of the mass slaughter of wildlife by shooters is one. Calling out the seemingly endless wildlife crime that underpins grouse shooting is another. And denying the shooters the land or the ‘right’ habitat to practice their sordid hobby is another…

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