More drivel from Richard Ingrams in a recent column in The Independent. I can't find it online, so here's the text:
"When so many people regard the welfare of wildlife as more important than that of human beings. it isn't surprising that a massive police operation should be mounted following the killing of two hen harriers in Norfolk.
"There is now even a special arm of the police force, the National Wildlife Crime Unit, to crack down on such killings. The cost of maintaining it is enormous and the results in terms of prosecution negligible. In the hen harrier instance, the dead birds have not even been found. The investigation is an expensive charade.
"Behind all this lies the almost fanatical crusade to foster the introduction of birds of prey into the countryside. And it has been a great success. There are now in Scotland growing numbers of huge sea eagles and in England, as I have previously noted, thousands of red kites, not to mention almost equal numbers of buzzards.
"The birds are all protected under EU legislation and have the vociferous support of organisations like the RSPB. There are parallel campaigns in the animal world to introduce wild boars and even wolves into the countryside.
"Gamekeepers are usually blamed for the killing of birds such as hen harriers which prey on grouse and partridges. But farmers have good reason to resent them when they can attack lambs and poultry. (The hen harrier I assume is so called because it harries hens, just as the sparrowhawk preys on sparrows.)
"But to the fanatics of the RSPB such complaints are irrelevant. The welfare of these savage birds, they say, must take precedence over that of farmers and their lambs, not to mention the many smaller birds which constitute their staple diet".
Five minutes of research is enough to show this up for the nonsense it is (I've ranted about this before), but it's still galling to read, knowing that it's not down to ignorance or befuddlement, but pure malice. He doesn't even try to deal in facts - where are the figures for this police investigation, for example. Half his column is baseless assumptions, and the rest is lies.
I'll say it again - introduction of birds of prey into the countryside? Most of the species he mentions are native species, previously reduced to dangerously low numbers by persecution from the likes of this halfwit. As for the "massive police operation" he mentions - well, a few phone calls by Norfolk Police before things are hushed up? Strange definition of "massive".
It's hardly surprising that he feels at liberty to talk such rubbish, though, when this sort of thing is going on. I'd bet my house that the whole thing would have been purused with a great deal more vigour had the shooters been two air rifle-toting hoodies from a housing estate. The RSPB should be ashamed of its passive acceptance of what's happened, too. Why aren't they demanding answers from the estate of their patron?
PS. Of course, you'd be justified in thinking that this is making a lot of fuss about something which, compared to the war in Iraq, for example, is small beer. But the fact that Ingrams has actually used his position to do a lot of good over the years makes his childish attitude on this (and even more questionable stance on things like anti-semitism and homosexuality) all the more reprehensible. He sees himself, I think, as a professional curmudgeon. You can make your own mind up as to whether listening to such a person is entertaining, but you can hear the same in any pub, any night, without paying extra for the privilege.