UPDATE: Message from Chris Packham (at the end)
The Countryside Alliance has called on the BBC to dismiss Chris Packham, claiming that he uses his position to push an extreme agenda. Of course, it’s all a question of perspective. Packham’s views on just about every wildlife topic are the polar opposite of the CA’s. There are plenty of folk exasperated that Chris isn’t more outspoken, such as when he deliberately avoided discussing the badger cull, leaving co-presenter Martin Hughes-Games to deliver a blandly “balanced” statement.
An insight into the mindset of the CA can be drawn from their resignation from DEFRA’s Lead Ammunition Group, set up to examine the impact of lead gunshot on both the food chain and the wider environment. This group has just released a preliminary report summarising its work and findings. It is patently clear that the CA jumped ship when it became clear that the LAG would come down unequivocally against lead. The report comes extremely close to saying that the debate is a simple one of money vs scientific fact.
By walking off in a huff, the CA have acted no differently to a school bully taking his ball away. And it seems this attitude is behind the Packham flap as well. The squirearchy don’t like being lectured to or told what they can’t do and they won’t stand for it. Well that’s up to them but perhaps they could finally stop pretending to represent rural people and their concerns. By taking sides against one of the country’s most authoritative and respected nature broadcasters and refusing to take seriously the harmful effects of lead poisoning from shooting, the so-called Countryside Alliance is showing itself to be firmly opposed to public opinion, scientific opinion and, frankly, anybody’s best interests.