The Countryside Alliance has written to the BBC due to concerns over Chris Packham’s animal rights campaigning.

Today (12th August) Chris Packham led a protest march on Downing Street, calling for the banning of legal grouse shooting and legal hunting and an end to the Government’s badger cull policy. Whilst promoting this protest march Mr Packham called game shooters “psychopaths” in a quote given to the Badger Trust website.

In September 2016, in their response to a previous Countryside Alliance complaint, the BBC Trust recommended the BBC undertake regular, formal assessments of Mr Packham’s campaigning to ensure it does not undermine the BBC’s impartiality. This recommendation was issued on the basis of Mr Packham referring to game shooters as “the nasty brigade”. Considering the severe escalation of Mr Packham’s language, the Alliance wrote a letter asking the BBC to undertake the formal assessment of his campaigning work recommended by the Trust. The Alliance pointed out that Mr Packham’s campaigning had intensified and his language become more offensive, clearly indicating a failure to manage the potential conflict of interest as the BBC continues to commission Mr Packham to present its flagship wildlife programming.

The Alliance specifically asked that Mr Packham be asked not lead the protest march on 12 August if the BBC wish to continue commissioning him as a presenter. It is now clear that the BBC did not take this action.

Liam Stokes, Head of Shooting, Countryside Alliance said:

We are disappointed that the BBC has chosen not to act on our letter and seems to have no intention of enforcing the findings of last year’s BBC Trust report. We will not let this matter rest, and will be formally following up our concerns.”

 Notes to editor: