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Packham has found himself in hot water with large swathes of the farming community recently as a result of his campaigning against bloodsports. Most recently, a campaign Packham was involved in to have general shooting licenses for so-called ‘pest birds’ revoked was successful.
Packham worked with the group Wild Justice on the campaign. Under general licenses, farmers could kill the birds including pigeons and crows on their land without seeking permission. Now individuals must apply for permission.
Conservationists were pleased by the move, with Chris Corrigan, Director for England for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, saying: “This is a positive step in the right direction. We need an open and transparent system of licensing that everyone can be confident in, and is being used appropriately.
“It is important that licenses are only issued when there is no other option, and when non-lethal alternatives have been exhausted. Any new system that Natural England now develops should be based on this principle.”
‘Sack Chris Packham’
But those with an interest in killing wild animals were angered. One farmer launched a petition calling for Packham to be fired by the BBC following Natural England’s decision.
It says: “As an employee of the BBC, Chris Packham should remain impartial and keep his views and beliefs to himself. However, he is the face of many anti-hunting campaigns and uses his celeb status as a platform to push his anti-hunting agenda, he has made his goal to ban all kinds of hunting, and country sports and pursuits and I feel he is no longer fit to work for the BBC.”
At the time of writing, the petition has more than 103,00 signatures. A counter petition set up asking the BBC not to fire Packham has accrued around the same number of signatures at the time of writing.
Dead crows on gate
In addition to the petition, the day after Natural England revoked general licenses, Packham found two dead crows hung from his fence by the neck – an act of vandalism some suspect was perpetrated by pro-blood sports activists.
He told the Daily Mirror: “I got up this morning and left the house at about six and got to the bottom of the lane. It’s about half a mile from the house so our CCTV doesn’t reach that far. And I saw the birds hanging on there and the lock to the gate had been filled with glue so I couldn’t get out.
“But I will never let these people get to me. They will never ever stop me in my pursuit of trying to make the countryside a better place for wildlife, it doesn’t matter what they do.
“Ultimately, if you’ve got enemies it’s because you stood up to someone and I will continue to do that. I’ll never give in to that intimidation. All it does is make me think I will just try harder.”