First wave of the RSPB review unveiled

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The first stage of the RSPB’s review into game shooting has finished. It’s a shame to read their initial findings have concluded in such a way. The study size is too small and the questions too vague. While we can appreciate these are difficult questions to ask, that’s the point of a scientific study. When it comes to fieldsports we need policy based on science, not opinion. While the study from the RSPB has value, there needs to be clarity in its purpose.

The statistics of the respondents was always going to show the results they were looking for. With 62% of them residing in urban environments it seems redundant to validate those opinions. It would be the same as asking Rural communities to comment on Urban bike lanes or fast fast fashion.

5% were landowners and 1% had shot game. The RSPB only used 5265 completed surveys to create the basis of their conclusion. I would argue that this isn’t enough people to make legal change and if it is then I can point to plenty of surveys that would argue the counterpoint. The RSPB only asked 62 members of the shooting community their perspective.

RSPB Infographic

Review

This is an extract from an RSPB PDF info graphic on what the survey found. It’s quite interesting to see how this data has been laid out as from a shooting perspective much of this is mutually agreeable. While, How to achieve these objectives will always be the problem it shouldn’t mean we can’t work in unison. As a result, we need to follow up on these questions to find a middle ground for both parties.

The second chart from the left is possibly the most striking. Even the RSPB research has proven that managed grouse moors are better environments for bio diversity. The statement that moors are barren doesn’t hold water as each study prooves. As a result, each study comes back proving the opposite with better ratios of endangered birds to predators.

Moorland grouse

Even if we take the argument on protected birds, more are hatched on managed moors than RSPB moors. Even under lockdown, Mark Avery has hailed the hatch of Peregrine chicks while leaving out this took place on managed moors. Anti shooting bodies are never going to take these figures into account. Curlew numbers are up 250% on managed moors with no results reported on RSPB sites with the project starting in 2016. This makes the comparison on managed vs unmanaged moors are pretty stark.

Conclusion

In reality, there are a lot of objectives that can be achieved together while accepting unmanaged moorlands clearly doesn’t work. Regardless of whether this is a hard pill to swallow or not the benefit of endangered animals depends on it. Banning shooting will only serve to allow the spread of invasive species. Only then will we understand what a barren wilderness looks like.

Gamekeeper putting out fire

You can read the full RSPB review Here.

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