Moorland communities protest in Harrogate against unjust attacks on their livelihoods
Demonstrators from the Yorkshire Moorland Communities braved the weather to take a message to BBC Presenter Chris Packham as he arrived at the Royal Hall in Harrogate to give a talk this evening (Saturday, 19th October).
That message could not have been clearer: livelihoods and whole communities are under threat by misleading statements and actions by the likes of Chris Packham.
A famously outspoken critic of driven grouse shooting, the presenter, campaigner and author was met outside the theatre by over 100 fed-up members of the moorland communities, who depend on moorland activities for their livelihoods. They held placards reading “Chris Packham – ignoring science since 04.05.1961!” (Packham’s date of birth), and a large banner declared: “Moorlands are our lives, our livelihood and our community. We stand in unity to protect them.”
“Chris Packham and his followers are wilfully misrepresenting facts and distorting clear scientific evidence” said Roy Burrow’s, estate manager at a nearby moorland. “These are large communities who live and work in these uplands, and rely on the moorland for their livelihoods. The simple fact is that stopping grouse shooting, or rewilding the moor, could destroy many local businesses, local livelihoods and the very social fabric that makes the moorlands such a wonderful place to live in and to visit.”
Packham makes no secret of his dislike for grouse shooting, frequently posting about it on social media. He even spoke at last month’s Green Party conference about his campaign to ban driven grouse shooting. However, many argue that the BBC should not allow him to use his platform to promote his personal agenda when there is extensive scientific evidence available to show the environmental and conservational benefits brought from well managed moorlands.
The protestors sang chants including: “From bus drivers to gamekeepers, together we thrive, we need to protect, moorland community lives”.
A spokesperson for The Campaign for the Protection of Moorland Communities, said: “The moorland management system which grouse shooting sustains creates a unique landscape that encourages rare and endangered wildlife, as well as being the foundation of the moorland area’s rural economy. This is reinforced by clear scientific evidence, which is too often wilfully ignored by our opponents. The facts are very clear: without grouse shooting these areas would lose millions of pounds in investment each year causing lives and livelihoods would be destroyed, alongside one of Britain’s most unique habitats. It is disgraceful that a rich celebrity from Hampshire thinks it is okay to dictate to the hard-working people of Yorkshire how we should live our lives. Moorland and other rural communities seem to be the only cultural minority Chris Packham and others think it is okay to abuse. Enough is enough.”