Tag: language matters

Language Matters | Birders and ‘gamebirds’

Anyone who launches a campaign (any campaign) can be fairly certain that a) not everyone will agree with the campaign’s aims, and b) will tell you that ‘insert whatever it is you’re campaigning about’ is a waste of time. Sure, not everyone cares about (in this case) our wildlife, preferring to shoot it or ignore it rather than protect it. They’re almost bound not to agree. But ‘a waste of time’? Trying to change something you fundamentally disagree with is never a waste of time. Besides, it gives me a chance to explain in 1000+ words exactly why I think that raising a debate about the use of ‘gamebird’ is not a waste of time at all. I will say it again, in this birder’s opinion the term ‘gamebird’ has absolutely no place in birding, or in birding magazines, or in identification books. We’ll need to campaign more directly to get it confined to the waiting dustbin of history, but in the meantime fellow birders, fellow writers, and fellow activists let’s just please pledge not to use it anymore.

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Language Matters | Guest post: Bob Berzins

“One definition of vermin is people perceived as despicable and as causing problems for the rest of society and another definition is wild animals that are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals or game or which carry disease. So vermin people and vermin animals really couldn’t be any worse. And no wonder our relationship with animals and birds follows much the same pattern I’ve described above, we split them into good and bad, with corvids in particular firmly in the “bad” camp. No matter what we do to corvids their numbers keep increasing, giving us permission to kill even more, because if we don’t they will cause us untold harm. In contrast, Ed Douglas’s Country Diaries in The Guardian are vivid experiences of wit and the joy of experiencing our natural world free from the prejudice of terms like vermin.” Guest post by Bob Berzins in support of our ‘Language Matters’ campaign.

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Language Matters | Guest post: Bo Beolens (Fatbirder)

“Shakespeare said ‘that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet’. Maybe so, but call it, ‘Manure flower’ and I bet half the people sniffing it would pull back in horror at the stench. We are, by nature, suggestible. Snake oil salesmen have been selling us crap at luxury prices for ever, because part of the way we believe is direct experience and part received wisdom. You can’t judge a book by its cover! But we do. Language is important, terms become reified, so tackling terms is an important step in removing connotations we don’t want. Every single thing we say or write carries sub-cultural capital.” Guest post by Bo Beolens in support of our ‘Language Matters’ campaign.

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Language Matters | A War on Wildlife Project campaign

Back in February this year we wrote a post titled ‘Language Matters: ‘gamebird’, game bird, gamebird?’ It was a response to the use of the term ‘gamebird’ in the judicial review Wild Justice and their legal team were seeking. Now of course Wild Justice has won a fantastic victory in the courts. We applaud the court decision of course, but we have been rankled by the constant use of the term ‘gamebird’ in media reporting. So rankled that we’re launching a campaign about the use by the shooting and hunting industries of terms like ‘gamebird’, ‘pest’, ‘vermin’, and ‘cull’ callled ‘Language Matters’. There will be a number of asks and a number of different elements which we’ll be detailing throughout the next few weeks. Ultimately though we would like to see the legal status of the horribly divisive term ‘gamebird’ removed because as we explain #languagematters…

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Language Matters | ‘gamebird’, game bird, gamebird?

Language encodes and externalises our thoughts. The way we use it, writes Charlie Moores, expresses externally what we think about the person, animal or object we are describing. Sometimes we use language too casually, without questioning, and sometimes outside influences affect the words we use. Over many years, for example, we have been persuaded by agricultural and hunting/shooting interests. So should we use ‘gamebird’ at all?

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