Tag: shooting

Lockdown: birding vs shooting?

An interesting debate is taking place on Twitter right now, discussing why it is that shooters are able to go out and kill birds during lockdown while birders (of all sorts from ‘I like to look at birds while I walk’ to ‘I want that Northen Mockingbird on my list and I want it now’) aren’t allowed to just go and look at them. We 100% agree that travelling hundreds of miles during lockdown to congregate somewhere just to see a rare bird is an undeniably stupid thing to do. We are birders ourselves (and used to twitch regularly) but there’s no excuse for breaking the law and risking spreading a dangerous virus like Covid-19 under any circumstances. But this isn’t about a handful of birders behaving irresponsibly. The larger and more pertinent question is surely this: why is there a seeming disparity between the way birders and shooters are treated? How do shooters (and fox hunters before them – they managed to circumvent the ‘Rule of Six’ back in the autumn remember) seem to usually get what they want (which with the best will in the world is simply to be allowed to kill even more wild animals)?

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No, Woodcock and Snipe are NOT the same species

An odd thread appeared on Twitter over the weekend, which was started by Scottish campaigner Andy Paton but soon derailed by – well, it was hard to tell really…Andy had quite rightly pointed out that shooters were being asked not to go out killing endangered hard-weather movement birds like Woodcock and Common Snipe, because of – er, the hard-weather. Which makes huge sense if you’re actually interested in the conservation and protection of wild birds, but of course not so much if you’re a shooter and all that matters is the opportunity to blast a few half-starving birds out of the sky that have had the misfortune to arrive in the UK from regions to the north and to the east where the ground has frozen over meaning they can’t feed. The ‘odd’ part of the thread was the ‘contribution’ (which is being kind) from Phil ‘Beware the Woke’ Woods, who rashly decided he was the right person to teach Andy a lesson in ornithology, declaring in sneering terms that “Woodcock and snipe are the same bird and it is not endangered”. They’re not, and they are…Anyone can make a mistake, but why leap in like this…?

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A quick note to Alexander Armstrong

Now, we’re always aware at The War on Wildlife Project that we don’t have the authority to speak for any particular pro-wildlife side or group other than our own (though we have been around a lot of pro-wildlife folks for a very long time), but, ‘Xander’, you’re really missing the point. In our eyes, so-called ‘country sports’ is nothing more than killing birds and mammals that a great many of us cherish and love, and there is no difference at all between so-called ‘country sports’ and the ‘sportsmen’ who take part in it. You don’t get one without the other, do you? There is no separation here, ‘Xander’, so-called ‘country sports’ IS the people who shoot and hunt and maim and harm and kill. You are one and the same. We don’t know you, ‘Xander’, but you identify yourself as a shooter and we have seen statements like yours a thousand times, been ‘huntsplained’ to a thousand times, given that peculiarly patronising, supercilious down-the-nose look that says ‘Oh, poor you, you’ve never been shooting, have you’ a thousand times. We know what’s behind your question, ‘Xander’, and you don’t get to imply that we’re dishonest or insincere when we have been nothing but honest and sincere about our love of wildlife…

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Royal Patronages: Fit for the 21st Century?

A few days ago the National Anti Snaring Campaign released news of a Little Owl found dead in a fenn trap on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. The trap had of course been laid by a gamekeeper to ‘protect’ pheasants – ‘protected’ until a royal shooting party wandered up and killed them of course. Much criticism was directed towards the Royals themselves. They have repeatedly been called out as hypocrites, purporting to be pro-conservation while being renowned for the huge number of birds of mammals they have shot or hunted on their various estates – Boxing Day still sees gatherings of royals of all sorts and all ages blowing birds out of the December skies – and on overseas trips. Prince Charles, president of the National Trust, notoriously called fox hunting ‘romantic’ in 2002 and was reportedly furious with Tony Blair for the Hunting Act. This isn’t an ‘anti-Royal’ rant incidentally (though it will be characterised as such): it’s much more a questioning of the ethical principles of charities that align with individuals connected so closely with – and so supportive of – shooting and hunting, royal or otherwise.

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Wildlife Slaughter | Lebanon/UK – any difference?

A team working for the Berlin-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have just uploaded a series of images from Lebanon. They show the massacre of migrating birds. Slaughter on a scale that few of us get to see firsthand. The reaction on social media is a mix of bewilderment, rage, frustration, shock…How can this be happening? How can men (it’s almost always young men) line up to blow these beautiful, evocative birds out of the sky like this? How can they show such indifference to the suffering and death? Why aren’t the authorities doing anything to stop it? Meanwhile, here in the UK…

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Shooter is new patron of British Trust for Ornithology

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) recently announced that Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, a well-known shooter, would become its Patron (taking over from his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh, a man who’s total kill or ‘bag’ was described in The Indpendent as long ago as 1996 as “stretching over continents” and running into “mind-boggling numbers”). It seems an odd match. On the one hand we have the BTO, a transparent “organisation founded in 1932 for the study of birds in the British Isles”.On the other we have the opaque shooting industry which badmouths birdwatchers as ‘animal extremists’ and exists to turn a profit from killing wildlife.

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Natural England protects shoot from ‘disturbance’

A tweet showing a Natural England sign which restricts access to land to ‘avoid disturbance to game and disruption to shooting’ has (rightly) gone viral (kudos @KeggieC). What on earth is Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. “We help to protect and restore our natural world” – doing? A quick internet search leads us to a Notice of Relevant Authority Decision following review of Direction restricting CROW Access rights, and that’s when things really start to stink…It turns out the public is shut out of open access land because there may be disturbance to non-native birds ‘pre-season’, during the season, and possible disruption to the shoot on shoot days! Shut out BY NATURAL ENGLAND. Because of DISTURBANCE to a bloody shoot. Astounding…

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RSPB to drop ‘neutrality’ on gamebird shooting? It seems unlikely…

There’s been no official announcement, but according to an article in today’s Times titled “Game shooters fear for their sport as RSPB chiefs take aim”, the RSPB is apparently preparing “to end its neutrality on the sport by demanding reforms to protect native wildlife”. We think that’s unlikely (and explain why), so what is The Times up to with this article? They may have inside knowledge, but that’s doubtful. Perhaps it’s really intended to inflame the passions of its pro-shoot readership ahead of the RSPB’s Online AGM which ‘coincidentally’ takes place today and has as its second Agenda item “Matters arising from the minutes – Review of game bird shooting and associated land management”?

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