Poachers are not Hunters

BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ

A recent article in The Independent from the animal rights fanatic Jane Dalton shows how a once respected newspaper has declined over the years into an impecunious, partisan and clickbait-driven blog. The article in question can be found here:

This article by Dalton is particularly revolting as it deliberately conflates the despised enemy of country folk – poachers – with trail hunting. It purposefully refers to the poacher menace as ‘hunts’.

So let’s be crystal clear once and for all – some of the people most affected by poachers’ vile activities are gamekeepers and farmers who allow trail hunting on their land. These are the people who wake to find car tracks all over their fields, broken gates and smashed-in fencing along with the carcasses of deer. Gamekeepers often awake to discover pens of catapulted pheasants or find themselves on constant patrol and telephoning the police.

Country folk see poachers on the same level as they see antis – down there with a recent utterance by Angela Rayner. The two groups simply do not mix. Poachers are the outsiders – they were never part of the hunts.

The Independent simply fires up the public and plays into the hand of the antis. The antis take such messages and spread them around Twitter, blaming the “hunting community”. A typical example of catapulted pheasants from Twitter can be seen here:  

Poaching in the UK is a major problem. Keepers on poacher patrol have to be permanently circumspect. Note the dates in the tweets below. All within 5 days of each other:

Poachers have changed over the years. As one of the Independent’s former quality journalists – Andy McSmith – noted a few years back:

“Once, the poacher was a man with big pockets in his raincoat sneaking on to an aristocrat’s land to steal game for his family pot. Now he is likely to be part of a gang from town, in it for hard cash, rampaging through the countryside with guns, crossbows or snares.

Police in rural areas across Britain are reporting a dramatic increase in poaching, as the rise in food prices and the reality of recession increases the temptation to deal in stolen venison, salmon, or rarer meat and fish.

Organised and sometimes armed gangs of poachers are accused of behaving dangerously, intimidating residents, causing damage to crops or to gates and fences. Squads have also been out in the countryside “lamping”, poachers using lights to transfix animals.”

Rather than going after clickbait, why doesn’t The Independent ask its former journalists what truth is?

Do McSmith’s descriptions of townie gangs have anything in common with the Countryside Barbour brigade?

Nowt.

The Independent now faces an uncertain future. Clickbait is not a financial model that can be depended upon. You end up relying on student journalists and social media amplification which those with brains identify as fake news from miles away.