James Marchington Editor of Sporting Shooter magazine has posted an unveiled attack on the RSPB on his blog yesterday which can be read here. It is disappointing but perhaps unsurprising that someone in a position to influence opinion should make some of the statements he has.
It is notable that he omits to inform his readers that at the same time as the RSPB 'Vision' was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust published it's own report entitled Hen harriers and red grouse: economic aspects of red grouse shooting and the implications for moorland conservation in the same Journal. Why criticise the RSPB for allegedly "running off to the press shouting your mouth off'" when GWCT have pretty much done the same thing. Simply because the RSPB questions whether a sporting activity that relies on protected birds of prey being disturbed and killed is a sustainable land use is not "misleading & disingenuous" as JM claims. His post provides no details of what irks him about the RSPB report but I fail to see how when the RSPB uplands conservation officer Dr Pat Thompson is quoted as saying "The next step is for grouse moor managers to adopt techniques such as diversionary feeding more widely and demonstrate that driven grouse moor management is compatible with bird of prey conservation." is "sticking the knife in" as James puts it.
What saddens me is the message that he sends to the shooting community when he says " I could help the RSPB get to the bottom of what's going on in that remote spot. Because I know every crag, every clump of heather, every pool of the burn, like no-one else on earth. And I'm not going to. Because I can't trust them not to double cross me and grab another opportunity to shaft shooters. I wonder how many other shooters are in a similar position?" effectively condoning and encouraging the culture of silence that exists amongst the shooting fraternity when it comes to wildlife crime.
In the comments JM responds to me highlighting some of these issues by accusing me of being confrontational and having a 'with us or against us' attitude if by the word 'us' he means those that stay within the law then yes we should confront law-breakers and those that perpetrate wildlife crime whatever their age, race, occupation or political views in that context I'm 'with us and against them', aren't most reasonable, rational and moral people?