Call for hon­est, col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach in the at­tempt to end rap­tor per­se­cu­tion

Sporting Shooter - - Shooting News -

BASC chair­man, Peter Glenser, has called for open and hon­est di­a­logue be­tween all sides of the rap­tor de­bate. The long-stand­ing dis­pute reached boil­ing point re­cently fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of the RSPB’s ‘Bird Crime 2016’ re­port, which looked at in­ci­dents of rap­tor per­se­cu­tion and fo­cused much of the blame on the shoot­ing com­mu­nity as a whole, and on those in­volved in up­land game man­age­ment in par­tic­u­lar.

Speak­ing about the im­mense dam­age a small mi­nor­ity are caus­ing our sport, Mr Glenser said: “We make the point that rap­tor per­se­cu­tion could ren­der ter­mi­nal dam­age to the sport we all love and BASC is clear that we must all take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­sur­ing the crim­i­nal mi­nor­ity do not ruin it for the law­ful, eth­i­cal ma­jor­ity.

“This is a stand that BASC is tak­ing not only for to­day, but also for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. We must not lose sight of the im­mense good done by the shoot­ing com­mu­nity, but the crim­i­nal mi­nor­ity could cause dam­age to us all and the shoot­ing com­mu­nity needs to speak as one on this is­sue.

“For worth­while, sus­tain­able change to take place, there needs to be clear di­a­logue among all those who have a pas­sion for shoot­ing and those ru­ral or­gan­i­sa­tions with shoot­ing at their heart.

“We must also talk plainly and openly with those who may not im­me­di­ately be con­sid­ered friends of shoot­ing. There is a need for hon­esty from all sides – only then will con­struc­tive progress be made.”

It is a sen­ti­ment echoed by other shoot­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions, with the Na­tional Game­keep­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGO) publishing a re­sponse to the Bird Crime re­port which in­cluded the fol­low­ing: “The NGO is an ac­tive mem­ber of the Part­ner­ship for Ac­tion Against Wildlife Crime, and it is well known that the NGO be­lieves in cul­ti­vat­ing di­a­logue among stake­hold­ers in­volved in ru­ral is­sues.

“We sin­cerely wish there­fore that the RSPB would take a leaf out of our book in work­ing to pro­mote con­sen­sus and, rather than seek­ing to de­monise the many in game man­age­ment that up­hold the law, join with us in work­ing to alien­ate the very few that op­er­ate out­side it.” The Coun­try­side Al­liance also con­demned those in the shoot­ing com­mu­nity that give am­mu­ni­tion to those cam­paign­ing against the in­dus­try, and high­lighted the fall­ing trend in rap­tor per­se­cu­tion com­pared to that of a few decades ago. Chief ex­ec­u­tive, Tim Bon­ner, wrote: “The re­al­ity is that, for those who are mo­ti­vated to cam­paign against shoot­ing, any il­le­gal rap­tor killing is a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and those within the shoot­ing com­mu­nity who carry out such ac­tiv­ity are not only id­i­otic, but also pro­vide ex­actly the am­mu­ni­tion our op­po­nents need.

“Of course, there are still a few who think… that the killing of pro­tected species is ac­cept­able, but change has hap­pened, and con­tin­ues to hap­pen, be­cause of lead­er­ship shown within our own world.

“For decades… the Al­liance has preached a mes­sage of zero tol­er­ance to il­le­gal killing, and will con­tinue to do so. The [down­ward] trend will con­tinue and we will suc­ceed in mak­ing il­le­gal killing his­tory.”

The Moor­land As­so­ci­a­tion also be­lieves a col­lec­tive di­a­logue is the so­lu­tion: “Of course more can be done, par­tic­u­larly in the restora­tion of the hen harrier pop­u­la­tion, and the best way to achieve progress is for peo­ple across the sec­tor, in­clud­ing the RSPB, to con­tinue to work to­gether con­struc­tively.”

The UK ben­e­fits from a range of ru­ral or­gan­i­sa­tions pur­su­ing var­i­ous agen­das – but can we af­ford to not work to­gether?

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