INSPIRED, DETERMINED, ANGRY...
...These three words describe how I felt after attending my first Hen Harrier Day last weekend.
I attended one of 12 events being held over 'Hen Harrier weekend', this one being at RSPB Rainham Marshes (a super reserve by the way). It was great to see such a high turnout (around 300 people) and we were all treated to some incredibly inspiring talks by Charlie Moores (BAWC), Mike Clarke (RSPB) and Chris Packham about Hen Harriers; what they symbolise, what it means to conserve them and why we should not be belittled, but instead feel proud to call ourselves conservationists, "greenies" or "eco-warriors" and to feel even more determined to end the illegal and systematic persecution of our birds of prey.
|A portion of the attendees at Hen Harrier Day Rainham Marshes August 2016|
The talks kicked off at 11am with a short introduction to the day by Mark Avery, who then introduced Charlie Moores of Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC). Charlie's speech was incredibly passionate and moving but also angry. Angry at the fact that these people are taking away our Hen Harriers for their own selfish reasons - "It doesn't matter where you live, how old or young you are, whether you can even identify a Hen Harrier, our views count".
Next up was Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the RSPB, who spoke about how the solutions will involve the land managers, but "do not include inappropriate burning, do not include putting damaging tracks up moorland, do not include taking out vast numbers of Mountain Hares, of course, the solution has to start with upholding the law". Mike emphasised the fact that "it's about targeting illegal activity, responsible management and driving up environmental standards" and that "the start point has to be if people don't obey the law, they don't have a licence to operate".
After Mike came Chris Packham. As expected he made a hard case for saving the Hen Harriers, for continuing the battle, for not giving in to the name-callers and criminals and to stand up for what we believe is right, no matter what. "It's not about politics at all, it's about birds, plain and simple". He also emphasised the point that the continued persecution of our birds of prey by trapping and poisoning is not in any way 'controversial' as the shooting fraternity is trying to make out, it is illegal through and through, and should be dealt with as such. Chris rounded off his speech with a poignant Ghandi quote: "When you are fighting a campaign, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win".
We are now at the stage where they are fighting us through their snide comments, Twitter trolls and vicious articles, but they will not win; with over 85,000 signatures on Mark Avery's petition to 'Ban Driven Grouse Shooting', they are not laughing now.
As the conservationists we are, and are proud to be, now, more than ever, we need to stand up for what we believe and protect our birds of prey on the moors for today, tomorrow, and always.
Tomorrow marks the 'Glorious 12th', the beginning of the British Game shooting season. The day that all the hard work gamekeepers have put in to burning the uplands and ruthlessly kill mountain hares and birds of prey, pays off...the day where more people than ever need to realise the true cost of driven grouse shooting.
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION AND SHARE WITH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE:
WE WILL WIN!
|Credit to http://henharrierday.org/index.html for this banner|