‘The Selfish Few’ and ‘Not in my Name, Either’, new letters published by the Shooting Times.

We are most grateful to Ronnie Graham from Dumfries and Galloway for providing Raptor Politics his permission to republish this enlightening letter below, thank you Ronnie. We have noted the reply to your comments dated 19/3/2014, also published in the Shooting Times by one of their more enlightened readers, a Mr G.Porter.

We have now received approval from the Shooting Times editorial to publish below Mr Porter’s reply to Ronnie Graham’s letter. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the Shooting Times for making this kind gesture.

Mr Graham’s Letter Begins.

When the media shows shot, poisoned or trapped golden eagles,hen harriers, buzzards or red kites discovered dead on grouse moors, or when they report police raids finding stashes of poison in gamekeepers’ premises, the public are outraged, and quite rightly so. These images are displayed in every media outlet imaginable, the length and breadth of the country, with MPs being petitioned to do something about it.

I find it very hard to support the driven grouse moors. As they become more intensively managed, I feel very aggrieved that these beautiful uplands are where the vast majority of these crimes take place, and some of our celebrated species are being killed so that a handful of Guns can enjoy a few days’ sport at a price very few could afford. The increasing public pressure against this type of upland management will bring further legislation, licensing and perhaps even a ban on driven grouse shooting. The real losers will be these occasional visitors to the grouse moor. It will be the wildfowler, the roughshooter, the pigeon Shot and the syndicate member –  those who enjoy their sport and keep within the law.

To those who are worried about their sport being further regulated, my suggestion is not to look to the RSPB, SSPCA and RSPCA or the more extreme animal rights groups. Look to the heather-clad glens of Angus or the Yorkshire Moors. The people responsible for your sport being banned are there.

R.Graham, Dumfries and Galloway

Mr G.Porter’s reply to Ronnie Graham’s letter begins.

Congratulations to your letter write, Mr Graham. He hit the nail on the head about the rogues in our sport who do their utmost to destroy the reputation and future of our activities through their selfish and mindless actions (The selfish few, 12 March). It is sadly true that every raptor found poisoned or shot brings our sport closer to prohibition.

Sixty years ago this year, the 1954 Protection of 1954 Birds Act was enacted. Thirty-three years ago the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act was enacted. Our rare and cherished birds have enjoyed strict legal protection for longer than all but most aged of gamekeepers’ working lives. How hard is it for some in the shooting world to understand that the law on these matters is actually incredibly straightforward?

As a shooter based in the South I have only been privileged to see  a hen harrier on a couple of occasions (both in Scotland). I took as much delight from those sightings as I do seeing red kites in the skies above my area, lapwings, yellowhammers and, on occasion, grey partridges. Every time I read of another illegal killing, I feel the shame that those who undertake these acts clearly don’t. Similarly, our representative bodies are frequently wheeled out to condemn raptor persecution, but it’s high time those ordinary shooters who enjoy their sport within the law made it quite clear that these arrogant and illegal actions are not taken in our name.

Mr G.Porter

What a fantastic and welcome letter, a breath of fresh air. Everyone must thank the Shooting Times for having the foresight and courage for publishing not only Mr Porter’s letter, but also Ronnie Graham’s letter. Well done Shooting Times. If only other shooters in our country would now voice their support for the wise words contained within both letters.

3 comments to ‘The Selfish Few’ and ‘Not in my Name, Either’, new letters published by the Shooting Times.

  • daniel

    Very true and they will never learn or change. Its exactly the same story for pheasant shooting.
    Same type,same problems!

  • John Rhead

    Its the same old story. Listen to the ‘ordinary’ man and you will get common sense in abundance. Listen to the paid apologists representing conservation and sporting estates and you get nonsense. It pays them to fuel the feuds. They get to keep their cosy little jobs that way.

  • harrier man

    Returned from Gambia today as everyone who has visited this country raptors are a great feature of the country. Had a overwhelming day on friday six eagle species in one area with seven other raptors, with a count of twenty five species noted in the week. The UK is blessed with its own suite of species but the slaughter of our raptors in our uplands destroys what should be a great experience its not the raptors eyes that follow you.