The Activist Advent Calendar Launch
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
This year, in addition to the already desperate environment caused by Covid-19, many of those living and working within our upland communities are living under a constant threat of intimidation, harassment and for the future of their livelihoods.
This is as a direct result of a sustained campaign by opponents of traditional moorland management and grouse shooting. In a recent poll it was shown that over 60% of all gamekeepers deal with instances of harassment on a daily basis.
Balanced, reasonable and honest debate is of course welcomed and encouraged, however a constant barrage of bias, perpetual online attacks and the deliberately inaccurate accusations by activists and extremist are not.
We have seen recently the RSPB's high profile emotive absurd campaign against 'burning peat' (as opposed to controlled heather burning), the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's describing common rabbits as rare mountain hares and the BBC's Chris Packham constant barrage of duplicitousness and dishonesty to name but a few incidents. We have seen Luke Steele's moorland monitors regular call out the emergency services on wasted calls against gamekeepers.
These people may think their actions have no consequences other than to attack rich toffs in tweed. The truth is anything but. It is the local communities who depend on the moors for their livelihoods and social well-being who are suffering because of this. Whether they realise it or not, one misleading statement by the RSPB or others can indirectly lead to thousands of pounds of legal equipment being vandalised, gamekeeper's children being harrassed on their way to school, and local businesses going bust. Their actions have consequences. For too long these activists have operated with pious-anonymity.
Rather than a normal festive advent calendar this year we thought we would take the opportunity to tell you a little more about the individuals causing this harm so the next time a gamekeeper is harassed just trying to do their job or the overburdened emergency services are called out again unnecessarily or a huge wildfire breaks out killing wildlife (and potentially humans) and releasing vast amounts on carbon into the atmosphere, people know why this is happening and where it is being driven from.
3 Dec - Pat Thompson, RSPB Senior Uplands Policy Officer