What wonderful speakers there were at Hen Harrier Day! We don’t have images of them all, but here are some. If you have images of any of the missing ones (!) we’d love to be able to use them and credit them to you.
Thanks Iolo for coming over from Wales – and we know you’ve got a very busy life (and car problems to cope with). You are a star and we really appreciated you being with us all.
Hardyal Dhindsa – the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire – the only man in a suit and tie and another person with a busy life. Thank you Hardyal for coming, and thank you for making wildlife crime a priority for the police in Derbyshire. And it is worth saying that it was great to have the Derbyshire Police Rural Crime Unit with us, talking to the public, all through the event.
Gill travelled a long way to be at Hen Harrier Day 2019 – her first HHDay! Gill’s books Sky Dancer and Eagle Warrior are doing a lot to spread the word about raptor persecution to younger people. She’s a great supporter.
Tim is a great campaigner and conservationist. He’s only missed one Hen Harrier Day and that was because he was recovering from heart surgery – which is a pretty convincing reason. Great, as always, to have Tim’s passion on stage (and we’ve already thanked the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for their support in many ways).
Ruth opened the second session of talks and, after making sure that her mum could have a selfie with Chris Packham, she talked about the wilful blindness of politicians in Westminster and Holyrood over the subject of wildlife crime. Politicians – the #slightlysoggy1500+ expect you to do more.
Dan Rouse from Wales was a new face to many attendees – a Welsh language TV presenter and conservationist, it was great to have both her and Iolo’s accents and knowledge on stage.
Cathleen Thomas from the RSPB Hen Harrier Life project has been immersed in this subject for several years. She spoke with great authority as well as passion about her work with Hen Harriers and how they must have a better future in our uplands.
Ian Thomson brought a Scottish accent and decades of experience from investigating wildlife crime in Scotland to the stage. He was the token man in this session but he did OK! Thanks Ian – you are a star!
Superintendent Nick Lyall is the chair of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group and is a breath of fresh air to the scene. His presence, and his words, showed that the future of the uplands and the part that wildlife crime plays in their present, are not just subjects for raptor enthusiasts, or even for environmentalists, but for senior and serious police officers. Killing Hen Harriers or other protected wildlife is a crime – it’s a crime that is common – it must end, and if the shooting industry can’t end it themselves then it is a job for law enforcement agencies. Nick showed that he was very determined to end wildlife crime.
Tessa Gregory‘s name would not have been familiar to many in the 1500+ crowd of attendees and so they weren’t prepared for such a brilliant speech. Wild Justice has worked with Tessa since before we were Wild Justice so we know what a star she is – and now a lot more people do. She talked very clearly about how how difficult the approach which Wild Justice is taking in legal cases really is – we can’t expect to win that many of them because we are shining a light on the murky areas of law in order to clarify and change what is happening. And Tessa made it quite clear why Mark Avery had had legal advice that brood-meddling of Hen Harriers was unlawful and why the team still believes that, and is seeking to appeal that case. And the presence of Tessa, Hardyal and Nick made it abundantly clear that what the Hen Harrier is facing is a crime wave on the grouse moors. The absence of Hen Harriers from much of our uplands isn’t an accident – it is due to serious, organised crime and the killing must stop!
We had been promised thunder and lightning on the day but they arrived in the form of Dominic Dyer whose voice reverberated across the grass. I noticed a couple of people step back from the speakers! Lots of passion about Hen Harriers, a bit about badgers and a lot about the need for change. Thanks Dom!
Natalie Bennett has become a regular speaker at Hen Harrier Day events and it’s not that easy to find a politician that cares – but we’d be hard-pressed to find one better than Natalie anyway. Although, it is worth recording that the Westminster Hen Harrier Champion, Angela Smith MP, from nearby Penistone and Stocksbridge had been hoping to attend but was, in the end, unable – but we know that she would have said ‘The killing has to stop’ because she always does and it really, really should stop. But Natalie speaks to the issues that concern most HHDay attendees as well as the issue of wildlife crime – carbon emissions, flood risk, water quality – the wider unsustainability of grouse moor management. We need more politicians like Natalie and perhaps we are seeing more emerge.
Chris Packham arrived back in the country on Sunday morning without much sleep, with a bad back and feeling ill – but no-one can do it better than he. He produced a great finale to the event and sent people home with hope in their hearts and determination in their heads.
We’ll be posting links to moving images on this blog later this week. If you want to use any images from this blog post (all by Guy Shorrock/RSPB) then please email us and we will put you in touch with Guy about any fees and details of crediting them.
But here are a few more images for now. We’ll be posting a few more blogs on #HHDay2019 today and tomorrow.