The latest BBC outrage.

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Sorry, but was Packham actually involved in the interview with Ian Botham? The article you link to on Facebook suggests he was. However, Chris Packham is not a BBC presenter - i.e. He does not present programmes on a retainer. Aside from Springwatch etc, he is not a regular presenter on the channel and makes programmes for other channels too.
 

ponyparty

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I heard a disgracefully unbalanced "debate" about hunting on Boxing Day on 5 Live. Didn't hear the one in the article, Alec, but sounds about right for them. I have nothing but contempt for the BBC over this sort of thing - and as for Packham... He needs to get in the bin!

I'm afraid at the moment I am full of despair for the future of country pursuits and the rural way of life. Everything seems to be under attack all at once - not just sports but farming - for example, militant vegans spreading bilious nonsense about the dairy industry, or awful gory videos of slaughter with no context, just shocking images, with no information on where they originate from. Most of my Facebook "friends" are from the city, live highly urban lives and have no experience of, or wish to understand, the countryside. They are sharing this sort of rubbish and believing it, perpetuating the lies further. I feel like a one man army trying to reason with them and educate but there are so many of them, and none seem to want to listen.
 

ester

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While I am not CPs biggest fan... but entirely respect his right to hold his own opinions on matters and use his 'celebrity' if he so wishes, like so many others do too to rally support for his views.

The CA seem to be trying rather too hard to make a link between him and a radio 5 interview there!

'There is a clue to be found in the line of questioning put to Sir Ian. Every issue raised was unrelated to the work of the Country Food Trust but was directly related to the very public animal rights campaigning of Burden’s fellow BBC presenter Chris Packham.'

I mean how fellow are they? Do they just wander round the same building sometimes?
 
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I heard a disgracefully unbalanced "debate" about hunting on Boxing Day on 5 Live. Didn't hear the one in the article, Alec, but sounds about right for them. I have nothing but contempt for the BBC over this sort of thing - and as for Packham... He needs to get in the bin!

I'm afraid at the moment I am full of despair for the future of country pursuits and the rural way of life. Everything seems to be under attack all at once - not just sports but farming - for example, militant vegans spreading bilious nonsense about the dairy industry, or awful gory videos of slaughter with no context, just shocking images, with no information on where they originate from. Most of my Facebook "friends" are from the city, live highly urban lives and have no experience of, or wish to understand, the countryside. They are sharing this sort of rubbish and believing it, perpetuating the lies further. I feel like a one man army trying to reason with them and educate but there are so many of them, and none seem to want to listen.
^^^^ A good post and I agree with you.

It's a sad but undeniable fact that the media, both social and otherwise, only ever seem to focus on those with the belief that those of us who live a rural existence need to somehow see that for centuries we've been wrong, ignoring the blindingly obvious fact that our countryside has evolved and would continue to do so, were it not for the ignorant and misleading drivel which they invariably trot out.

Packham, May and Gervaise contribute nothing of any value to our rural existence but seem to attract media attention whereas those who truly promote our existence seem to be the subject of derision. Ignorance it seems, will always hold sway.

Alec.
 

ester

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Why is it ignorance to have a different opinion? Plenty of people manage to have different views with knowledge of the same set of 'facts'.

I guess they aren't really looking to contribute any value to 'our'/humans rural existence are they?

What do you mean by evolve and how have they stopped it? Arguably the 'countryside' would do so a lot quicker with us out of the way, of course that isn't likely to happen.
 

ester

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Could you give examples please?

And what do you mean by evolve and how they have stopped it?

I am still struggling to see why an interview with Ian Botham has anything to do with Chris Packham?
 
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……..

What do you mean by evolve and how have they stopped it? …….. .
Whilst living as we do, a rural existence, over time the countryside has evolved and continues to do so. There's little in our world which is perfect and our rural existence is no exception. The problem, as I see it and others too, is that airtime and credence are given to the media seeking who would have us change things and without thought to the general overall effect. They haven't yet affected a 'Stop', but given their way, they would.

Alec.
 

ester

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I only ask because evolve really is a very specific term, frequently used outwith that so it is worth checking what people mean. In the true sense the countryside would likely evolve a damn site quicker without us.

I find the concept of managed countryside an interesting one just from a philosophical point of view really, and why people consider the alternatives (ie what would be natural succession to terminal point) such a bad thing (outwith food production obviously) - that added to the fact that a lot of people don't realise what would be natural without such management.
 
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Could you give examples please?

……..

I am still struggling to see why an interview with Ian Botham has anything to do with Chris Packham?
The interviewer works closely with Packham and was simply promoting the ideals which he sponsors; hence the connection.

Examples? Brian May leads a campaign to, as he and his followers see it, 'save' the badger. Where badgers are in unacceptable numbers, they are the principle carriers of BTb. The argument proffered by the protectionists is that 'we' who disagree with them want to see badgers eradicated. 'We', those who would see the numbers managed and controlled and at sensible levels, would be horrified at the thought of extinction. Common sense and pragmatism would have the badger maintained and the numbers ket within reasonable bounds. Wildlife, considering man's influence and often not for the good, needs focused management.

Packam wants to see and campaigns to have Grouse shooting banned. The very environment in which grouse live supports a myriad of other wildlife and forms an ecology which is quite unique. Should he and his cronies succeed then our heather covered moors will become barren wastes within 10 years.

Gervaise is a comedian which is evident by his foul mouthed rants directed at those who he neither understands nor cares about.

Grant, led the rspca in to politically motivated attacks which have brought that august body in to disrepute, their attacks upon those who would defend the rspca victims in Court have been quite shameful and if we ever needed an RSPCA today which is fit for purpose, it's today.

I feel strongly on the subject, you may understand! :D

Alec.
 

planete

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While I broadly agree with you Alec I think your statement on grouse moors needs to be qualified. There are other ways to manage moors for optimum biodiversity as is done in the New Forest where I live for instance.
 

ycbm

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I only ask because evolve really is a very specific term, frequently used outwith that so it is worth checking what people mean. In the true sense the countryside would likely evolve a damn site quicker without us.

I find the concept of managed countryside an interesting one just from a philosophical point of view really, and why people consider the alternatives (ie what would be natural succession to terminal point) such a bad thing (outwith food production obviously) - that added to the fact that a lot of people don't realise what would be natural without such management.
This.

Unmanaged heather moorland will not become a 'barren waste' as Alec suggests, it will simply return to what nature intended. I have both near me. One looks like a old industrial site with rectangles cut all over the hills to manage the birds to be shot. The other flowers every year in a continuous purple mat followed by beautiful cotton grass.

It makes me smile when people write things which suggest that somehow the countryside can't manage without man's intervention.
 
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While I broadly agree with you Alec I think your statement on grouse moors needs to be qualified. There are other ways to manage moors for optimum biodiversity as is done in the New Forest where I live for instance.
The New Forest is managed, and very well too. It's an entirely different environment and altitude. The Newy is also wooded, sparsely in places I agree, but it maintains and supports a totally different ecology. Would you want to see our grouse moors inhabited by deer, ponies and rabbits and to the exclusion of what's already there and prospering?

I'd also suggest that were the NF an area where game shooting was practised as a form of land management, then it would come in for the same criticism and from the same level of bigotry. [Edit] 'Bigotry' not aimed at you!

Alec.
 
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ester

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That is the complication isn't it, succession usually reduces or at least changes biodiversity. But that it is what would naturally happen. I certainly struggle to see it as 'wrong' in it's entirety and management for managements sake compared to management for food production doesn't sit too well with me.

FWIW I think the badger situation is very complicated, even those with a lot of knowledge can't/don't really agree if TB management is the aim for everyone. I was involved in vaccine trials (in badgers) some 10+ years ago and home is a TB hotspot.
 
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…….. . One looks like a old industrial site with rectangles cut all over the hills to manage the birds to be shot. …….. .
And therein, in part, lays the problem I'd suggest. Were the ground not shot over, would you accept that a rotational practice which encourages fresh heather growth and for the benefit of all wildlife was a positive?

Alec.
 
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……..

FWIW I think the badger situation is very complicated, even those with a lot of knowledge can't/don't really agree if TB management is the aim for everyone. I was involved in vaccine trials (in badgers) some 10+ years ago and home is a TB hotspot.
I'm not fully conversant with the system employed in Ireland, but I understand that there's been something of a dual approach to the problem, and with some considerable success. Would you be aware of the details?

Alec.
 

ycbm

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And therein, in part, lays the problem I'd suggest. Were the ground not shot over, would you accept that a rotational practice which encourages fresh heather growth and for the benefit of all wildlife was a positive?

Alec.
Why would I think I know better than nature how to manage itself?
 
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Why would I think I know better than nature how to manage itself?
If you honestly believe that in this tiny and overcrowded island, that wildlife can manage itself, then I wonder if you've really thought your argument through. One case in point is that of our badger population, they've been granted protection where it wasn't needed and the rapidly expanding population, particularly in the West Country has them dying in droves on the public highway, it has their own Tb infection rate at an all time high, and a worsening situation with BTb. That's just one example of leaving nature to manage itself.

Alec.
 

ester

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And therein, in part, lays the problem I'd suggest. Were the ground not shot over, would you accept that a rotational practice which encourages fresh heather growth and for the benefit of all wildlife was a positive?

Alec.
I wouldn't necessarily consider it a positive either as said earlier re. reducing biodiversity etc. I struggle a bit with the phrase 'benefit of all wildlife'. Whether we can manage to have many/any truely unmanaged areas is another question.

I do think it is easy to conflate the 'wildlife needing management' issue with 'wildlife is affecting us in negative ways and needs management issue' so I dont think the BTB situation is a great demonstration of/for the former.
 

ycbm

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If you honestly believe that in this tiny and overcrowded island, that wildlife can manage itself, then I wonder if you've really thought your argument through. One case in point is that of our badger population, they've been granted protection where it wasn't needed and the rapidly expanding population, particularly in the West Country has them dying in droves on the public highway, it has their own Tb infection rate at an all time high, and a worsening situation with BTb. That's just one example of leaving nature to manage itself.

Alec.
I live in a barely populated National Park. There are large parts that manage themselves perfectly well without human intervention. And the shooting moors would too if they were allowed.
 
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……..

I do think it is easy to conflate the 'wildlife needing management' issue with 'wildlife is affecting us in negative ways and needs management issue' …….. .
That has to be strangest remark on this thread and there have been some which raised an eyebrow! When those who are involved in any form of management view duty and commitment as privilege I know of none who would consider their efforts and work from a negative viewpoint, do you? If you do, perhaps you'd like to quote them. The wildlife of today is not ours to do with as we please, we hold it in perpetuity for those who come after …. an often used quote and strangely it's worked, and for centuries, but there are those who would undo all the positive work that's been done! :D

Strangely perhaps, but about 90% of the land in the UK is in private ownership, and as some of the crackpots who would change our world are unable to alter the views of the established masses, so they'd attempt it by the route of legislation and by using the tool of their public notoriety. Let's consider the RSPB; once a worthwhile body of people, but they exist on charitable donations and the best way to gather in funds is to champion a cause (we all support the campaigning underdog, don't we?), even if the 'cause' directly opposes any sensible management schemes.

Alec.
 

millikins

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I don't know the answer to the badger TB issue but I do know CP perpetuates the lie that badgers live on earthworms. If they did they would have starved in their thousands during the recent dry spell. Britain's largest predator was given unnecessary protection, in my area of Surrey, badgers are 2 a penny but there are no hedgehogs, no frogs, no partridges few toads or moles and possibly less roe deer.
 

ester

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I think you have misunderstood my meaning somehow Alec as I don't totally understand your comment. I didn't anywhere suggest that anyone doing management considered it negative I am sure they all do it from the best of intentions, I'm not sure where that has come from so I will try again! You almost hit the point with regards to it isn't ours to do with as we please, in which case why do anything then? An awful lot of the arguments for the management we currently employ with our wildlife and their habitats are based around theories that I don't think are always born out. Partly based on their effects on agriculture, and partly because of what people think the english countryside should look like.

I am meerly stating it is two different things to say that we are 'managing' to maintain biodiversity/habitat/prevent succession as is often the case. Or we are managing because we want to farm the land/the deer are damaging crops/the badgers/deer are transmitting TB.

I'm not totally convinced on either of those reasons for management, I expect you think that weird. But frankly I'm well up for a few non-managed forests, of the sort which we are entirely responsible for removing in the first instance. Maybe we could flood the fens and the levels while we are at it too :D.

your example of the badgers, that are in high numbers and have a probably increasing % TB infection - culling isn't really for their management as a species, it might help the remaining individuals but I'm not sure we'd be having the discussion of 'management' if they weren't transmitting TB to cattle.

I've had some interesting discussions with those that stag hunt and their reasons for it with regards to tree damage etc. From those conversations and others it really surprised me how some of those country people seemed really entrenched in their views mostly because that was how it had always been done and things should be kept the same because that is how they should be.

Meanwhile generally speaking people are only thinking of the big stuff, no one thinks much of the little guys ;), well except the people really into the little guys.
 

Abi90

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The vast majority of moorland in Britain was created by humans in the first place. We chopped down all the trees, there was nothing to hold the nutrients in the soil and so the soil leeched and the plants that survived were the hardier moorland plants. Dartmoor is a perfect example of this.

So managing moorland is managing a manmade environment anyway.
 

ester

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Graciously accepted and less baffled :D.

I guess to summarise my fairly lengthy post I do think most people think they are doing a good thing, I just remain unconvinced on some of the reasoning :D which often seems largely based on relatively recent traditions.
 
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…. which often seems largely based on relatively recent traditions.
'Relatively recent' being the operative words. Has the previous protocol, established over centuries and given to modest tweaks, really been so wrong? It is after all, how we've arrived where we are. Im tempted to suggest that modern think would have us dispensing with the baby, as we do the bath water.

Alec.
 

Black Beastie

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I have to say I have noticed the many attacks on the farm industry of late on social media, some of the nonsense spouted makes my blood boil. I would rather eat farmed meat grown on grass/silage/forage than man made Soya products. Yes meat and dairy are farmed in bulk, along with cereals and other crop however our standards are still way better than most of the world for our farms. You get the ones failing however these seem to be the ones plastered all over the internet. Not this who are out at grass and kept and slaughtered as well as can be.

As for the badger and the wildlife culling that's a whole debate that's chicken and egg to me, same with deer, not easing into that one. :D
 
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