In a week in which Chris Packham has once again called into question the viability of his role with the BBC, the Springwatch presenter attacked the Countryside Alliance and the role the organisation plays in defending shooting.
In an outburst that typifies the behaviour that makes his position as a BBC presenter untenable, Packham told the Huffington Post that he would continue his anti-shooting campaigning, saying: “All they (the Countryside Alliance) do is make me try harder. I will be awake when they’re asleep, I will be standing when they’re sitting and I will be running when they’re walking.” He declared that questioning whether a campaigner should be allowed to use a publicly-funded broadcaster to promote their personal agenda was “a dirty trick”.
Packham infamously uses his social media accounts, which are well-followed due to his work for the BBC, to promote campaigns and petitions. Following his interview in the Huffington Post Packham took to Twitter to call for support for a ban on glyphosate, a common herbicide. In responding to the many farmers who pointed out to evidence that glyphosate is both safe and essential for British farming, Packham linked to an article that dubbed the National Farmers Union, the largest farmers’ organisation in England and Wales, an “anti-environmental lobby group”.
Liam Stokes, Head of Shooting at the Countryside Alliance said:
“Mr Packham is clearly rattled by the Countryside Alliance’s efforts to make the BBC take their own impartiality rules seriously. He is quite right that we will continue to pursue this case with vigour, because we think it is important that no one be allowed to abuse our publicly-funded broadcaster to promote their own agenda, particularly when that agenda is so harmful to our members and to the cause of collaborative conservation. The BBC has to realise that by not standing up to their presenter when he attacked shooting, they have given him free-rein to attack farmers. No one is saying Mr Packham can’t freely express these views, we just don’t think he should do so using credibility and platform provided by the BBC license fee-payers, many of whom support the hard working farmers and gamekeepers he is attacking.”