hen_harrierBASC has called on the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) to apologise for misleading the public with their latest attack on grouse shooting.

In a media release dated August 9, which also quotes TV presenter Chris Packham, LACS chief executive Eduardo Goncalves states there are only three breeding pairs of hen harriers in the whole of the UK and says shooting is pushing the species to the brink of extinction.

The RSPB estimate there are 617 breeding pairs in the UK. A survey currently being conducted by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is expected to show overall hen harrier population levels are likely to increase.

In the same media release, LACS trade on the celebrity of TV presenter Packham by using him to repeat his recent attacks on the ‘toxic’ grouse shot on moors.

Packham is currently under investigation by the BBC Trust for breaching the broadcaster’s rules on impartiality with inflammatory comments on shooting. He is also under fire for suggesting money should be diverted from cancer research and into wildlife initiatives.

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s acting chief executive, said: “The lengths to which LACS will distort the truth could not be more obvious. They should apologise to the public for issuing seriously misleading information.

“Considering his precarious position with the BBC at the moment, Packham needs to be more careful who his friends are. LACS willfully fabricate figures to support their anti-shooting agenda. He is in bed with extremists and that must be addressed by the BBC.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “To suggest there are only three pairs of breeding hen harriers in the UK is utter nonsense. It is a dangerous misrepresentation of reality that diverts attention from serious, evidence-based debate about hen harriers.

“And Chris Packham appears not to be learning his lesson. Grouse is a healthy, delicious food. The only thing toxic about grouse is the myths and propaganda spouted by extremists such as LACS and Packham.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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