On Sunday 1st September the popular Hampshire Country Sports Day returned to the new location of...Read more
Over 1,500 people have already written to Patagonia calling on it to cut ties with an animal rights group.
The lobby comes after it emerged the clothing company had provided a group that routinely promotes the harassment of game keepers, with cash and use of its own website.
Although Patagonia claims to have a 'long history of building products for field sports activities, such as fly fishing', and is 'not opposed to any field sports activity that is carried out legally', the company has repeatedly refused to act on growing concern from rural groups over its relationship with 'Moorland Monitors'.
A basic search of Moorland Monitors' social media output alone reveals that they are not an environmental or conservation group; they are a group of people fuelled exclusively by a hatred of the field sports community.
The term 'monitors' is a self-appointed title used by many saboteur groups to mask their dubious activity. 'Sabbing' involves organising, promoting and carrying out direct action to prevent legal field sports from being carried out. Saboteurs routinely harass law abiding people, including game keepers, and they frequently wear masks and balaclavas to conceal their identities.
As part of the arrangement between Patagonia and Moorland Monitors, the group have received a financial grant as well as two years' access to the Patagonia Action Works platform which gives them social amplification tools for campaigns and further donations.
In defence of their decision, Patagonia claim their support is to help the group 'survey' wildlife habitats on the Moorlands. In a letter to the Countryside Alliance, Beth Thoren, Patagonia's Environmental Action & Initiatives Director said: 'they [ the Moorland Monitors] were funded for a specific plan to engage specialists to survey territories of badgers and mountain hares, plus monitoring and public awareness raising. This is aligned with our company objective to protect wild places.'
The Countryside Alliance does not accept this response, highlighting that the Moorland Monitors' website contains no contact details or any information as to who they are. They are nameless, have no official standing, and they are therefore unaccountable. Their social media platforms show that they regularly engage in, and promote, 'sabbing' of legal field sports, including publicising the names of shoots taking place on moorland.
No credible campaigning or environmental organisation would operate in such a manner and it is extremely unlikely that any landowner would give such a group permission to carry out surveying on their land.
After sending Patagonia evidence of the group's dubious social media content, which contained a series of tweets and Facebook posts publicising the names of shoots as well as links to other extremist saboteur groups, Patagonia's representative refused to acknowledge that such a position contradicted the company's own stated position on field sports.
In response, the Countryside Alliance has launched an elobby to Patagonia's CEO, Ryan Gellert, calling on the company to 'immediately end both its promotion of, and working relationship with, Moorland Monitors'.
The online lobby, states: 'Moorland Monitors claims its purpose is to educate and mobilise the public to challenge the persecution of wildlife and ecological destruction of the UK's uplands. If this was the case then that would be one thing, as we also want to see an end to all wildlife crime, and do not condone any incidents of environmental damage. But as it happens, they do nothing to protect our countryside and biodiversity. Rather, they actively seek to undermine all the hard work being done to protect our moorlands for future generations, and stoke division in rural communities, driven as they are by a warped, political agenda.'
After just 2 days of going live, the petition has been signed by 1,506 people.
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: 'By linking its brand to such extremists, Patagonia is alienating millions of people who shoot, hunt and fish, and who care deeply about the countryside; the company's very own client base. We hope Mr. Gellert listens to the concerns that have been raised, and immediately cuts Patagonias' ties to Moorland Monitors'.