Yesterday was a dreadful day on which to try and make a mark on anything! Well, thankfully, a particular "mark ( Mark Avery) did just that despite the conditions, ably assisted by Chris Packham, on a day that did its best to put a damper on things. What am I referring to? Well, the Hen Harrier Action Days of course.
I have to say that I spent a frustrating day wondering how things were progressing and feeling a bit of a fraud at not being able to be there ( however, I have to say the outcome of the personal medical appointment which prevented that on Friday came out good !! ). For once the weather on Islay was wet, but not that bad, and I kept hoping that conditions elsewhere were similar. They weren't , they were awful apparently, but not sufficiently bad enough to put people off. Around 570 attended the event in Derwentdale in the Peak District and 100 in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire ( I haven't figures for the Northumberland event organized by Alan Tilmouth ). Good news too that the E-petition raised by Mark Avery calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting has now received over 13,000 signatures.
Most remarkable of all was to know that the "Thunderclap" message many of us subscribed to went out across the world on time and reached an estimated 2.3 million people. Unbelievable!! And there I was, crouched over the computer from ten o'clock onwards like some kid, waiting for the confirmation to come through !!!
Various commentators, Bloggers and others have mentioned recently that the mood has changed and that more and more people are calling for the shooting industry, and grouse shooting in particular, to be better regulated. Given that Barry Gardiner MP , Shadow Environment Minister was at the Derwent event yesterday ( good for him ! ) the central message will most certainly get back to Parliament.
The need for that central message to be kept alive and circulated further is now essential. I'm sure it will as more and more people are becoming aware of the circumstances that have caused our harrier population in the UK to be decimated.
WELL DONE TO EVERYONE WHO PLAYED A PART, PARTICULARLY TO MARK AVERY, CHRIS PACKHAM AND TO ALAN TILMOUTH ( who conceived of the idea originally to have a Harrier Day ! ).