The above petition is now close to reaching 80,000 signatures, a tremendous achievement. So the next obvious point to make ( of course ! ), is that , if you haven't signed , do so now !.
I'm on holiday at Spurn at present and so have lots of opportunity to consider, again and again, the overall situation as I wander around or complete a slow paced sea watch! Cutting to the chase, the immediate , most important aspect to address and gain improvement against , is the continuing persecution of raptors. Many of those affected are iconic members of our wildlife heritage. If there were to be any kind of similar assault on, say, our artistic heritage, there would be an outcry. As yet that hasn't occurred to the same potential extent, but will if the arrogance and self interests of the shooting fraternity continues even given its Establishment associations.
I've little doubt that any call for an outright ban would take some time to bring into being. However, a debate wherein the persecution issue was properly laid bare and the consequences of no improvement arising made apparent could help tremendously. This is where I believe the RSPB could help by encouraging support from its members. My RSPB Campaign Newsletter arrived this week ,urging people to assist in calling for sustainable farming policies and in resisting any extension of the large power station complex south of the important Minsmere Reserve. Laudable both , but some mention of the continuing plight of raptors wouldn't have gone amiss. To avoid doing so starts to accept the incidents are part of a developing permanent culture and I simply refuse to accept that position.
A recent Blog from the RSPB set out the need for a review of the grouse shooting industry, something I couldn't agree with more. But not all the membership reads such Blogs , a fact I'm reminded of given a series of recent conversations with people at the BirdFair and elsewhere. The question , in one form or another, seems an inevitable component of any conversation........ " What's the RSPB doing about all this raptor persecution?". Now I realise that such a demand is simplistic and with no simple answer, but it prompts me to consider whether the RSPB might be a little out of touch with the expectations of its membership ( straight forward demands in some instances). There's an immensely loyal bunch of people out there with concerns about "its Society " as well as issues like raptor persecution. It seems to me there is an all out need to set out , even repeatedly, the extent of the Society's involvement at any one time and to try and involve the membership wherever possible and curb their frustration. Incidentally , the one comment that comes through , time and again, is support for the magnificent work of the Investigations Team ( I couldn't agree more ). What does seem to go unappreciated are the position statements and summaries of what should be without any accompaniment of action points .
I'd be the first to recognize this is a difficult problem, but let's never accept it as an impossible one, which brings us full circle to the beginning. The need to precipitate action. ACTION THIS DAY, NOT TOMORROW OR THE WEEKEND.......NOW!!