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Alliance criticises Chris Packham’s ignorant remarks about grouse moor management

The Countryside Alliance has criticised Chris Packham’s ignorant remarks about grouse moor management, following a recent interview in The Herald newspaper.

The former presenter of BBC AutumnWatch said:

“I love Scotland. It's the wildlife capital of the UK with so many beautiful, sexy species.

“But we're killing eagles, burning moorlands and damaging that rich environment. Large parts have been trashed by the country set.

“Those grouse moors are not serving Scotland well. They do massive reputational damage.”

Packham’s comments erroneously blame gamekeepers for illegally killing birds of prey.

In a statement carried by The Daily Mail, Independent and Telegraph, Jake Swindells, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, said:

“Nearly all species of raptor are at historic population highs, and the Countryside Alliance and partners have zero tolerance of persecution. This is a good news story, but Chris Packham, sadly, holds deeply prejudiced views about shooting and the rural community. His rhetoric is increasingly more divisive as he seeks stay in the public eye”.   

Packham also blamed country organisations, including the Countryside Alliance and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, for the erosion of Glen Coe’s moorland, despite much of it not being managed for shooting.

In his senseless attack, Packham not only spreads misinformation but obscures the considerable conservation work involved in managing moorland for shooting. Grouse moor management has played a key role in creating and maintaining our upland landscape, preserving and improving heather habitat and peatland, sustaining some of our rarest plants and wildlife, and promoting biodiversity.

Packham is clearly unaware that integrated moorland management is a complex issue with numerous strands. If one strand is taken away, such as driven grouse shooting, the environmental, social, and economic implications would be considerable. It is easy for those without an understanding of the many aspects of that management to be misled, whether intentionally or otherwise, but it is clear from all the evidence that grouse moor management provides the greatest benefits.

If Packham truly ‘loves Scotland’, he would do well to research and understand the important work that Scottish gamekeepers and landowners do, rather than antagonise them.

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