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Chris Packham's stepdaughter Megan McCubbin reveals embarrassing lack of knowledge about grouse

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Since Chris Packham’s step-daughter, Megan McCubbin, first started appearing alongside the BBC presenter during his lockdown show, filmed mostly it seems from the garden of his New Forest mansion, she has successfully positioned herself as a wildlife expert and ‘voice of the youth’.

In addition to becoming an ambassador for the controversial animal rights charity League Against Cruel Sports she is also a regular speaker at youth conferences on the environment around the country.

According to Discover Wildlife, McCubbin gained her passion for wildlife growing up in and around the Isle of Wight zoo, which is owned by Packham’s girlfriend, Charlotte Corney.

McCubbin has caused controversy in the past, with BASC accusing her of using her new found influence to ‘peddle myths and propaganda’ at points in the shooting calendar to serve her own activist agenda.

Healthy debate surrounding grouse moor management is widely encouraged. It has been shown time and time again, both in academic institutions and in parliament, the weight of scientific, economic and social evidence reinforces clearly there is no better alternative use for the uplands than grouse moor management.

Yet that does not stop animal rights activists purporting to be experts from distorting facts and seeking to manipulate public opinion, either on purpose or through sheer ignorance.

In an interview to promote her new book, given to hen harrier action, Megan – who has 86.5k followers on X – displays a complete lack of understanding of the subject matter she is campaigning against, grouse moor management.

She tells the audience: “You know, we’re putting out millions of non-native birds, pheasants and grouse, into our UK Countryside every year and not really having a non-biased review on how that would impact our native wildlife…I mean hello?!”

I mean hello, indeed! It is enough to drive anyone with genuine moorland management experience to despair.

It is shocking that someone with seemingly as much influence as McCubbin can be so ignorant of basic facts.

Firstly, McCubbin claims grouse are ‘non-native’. Red grouse are not just native to the UK but they are not found anywhere else in the world. It is the heather moorlands of the UK that offer these birds the ideal habitat.

Secondly, and even more worryingly, McCubbin seems to think that red grouse are ‘put out’. How can a so called wildlife expert know so little? Red grouse are wild birds. Nothing is ‘put out’. Grouse shooting is the sustainable harvesting of wild birds. McCubbin should know that.

She also claims there has been no ‘non-biased review’ of the impact of pheasant releases into the countryside. Although McCubbin is technically correct in saying that pheasants are ‘non-native’, they were introduced to Europe by the Romans and were thought to have arrived in the UK in the 11th century.

However, more tellingly, McCubbin seems either not to know, or wilfully ignores, the fact that there has been an extensive ‘non-biased review’ into the impact of releasing gamebirds in the countryside carried out last year by Natural England.

Now that’s hardly a pro-shooting organisation, is it? So, she either considers Natural England a biased organisation, or indeed she is unaware of such a report.

Of course, some might think these are small details, but the impact of what McCubbin says we have already established has influence, particularly to youth groups.

Interestingly someone hosting the interview must have realised McCubbin's inaccuracies because the published transcript bears little resemblance to what had actually been said, as our video shows.

If McCubbin is to be a regular fixture on wildlife commentary in the future the least she can do is have enough respect for the subject matter to learn her facts, or indeed admit that she is in fact wholly biased and agenda driven in her approach - in which case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


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