Shooting News A Political, Political Ambush

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A political, Political Ambush By Arnold Chapkis

4th December 2015

Briefing notes in light of: the Natural England and DEFRA contempt of Law and fairness, revealed in the ‘Buzzard’ Judicial Review by Mr Justice Ouseley, published 13/11/2015 – the publication of the ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead and other matters – a Judicial Review over ‘Lead’ in the making.


No UK based, (site-specific) independent, professional, empirical, science has ever been conducted in the UK or in England, to date. No adverse effect upon waterfowl or wildlife populations has been detected that can be linked to spent Lead Shot in the UK or England in particular. There are no records of spent Lead shot impacting in any adverse way upon the human food chain. The matter of spent Lead shot is an ideological and obsessive campaign driven by the RSPB and the WWT and their fellow travellers.


First, create the enemy (English shooting, for example). Then found a representative body for the enemy, and Infiltrate it; the BASC was created in 1981, (John Swift was present at its birth). It provided a number of useful services for its members. It also provided’ collaborative’ cover for the WWT and the RSPB, to embark upon a clandestine anti-lead ammunition campaign in partnership with John Swift’s BASC.

It lobbied for a ban on all Lead ammunition below its members radar, for decades. The deception was ultimately revealed (ironically) by the debacle of the Lead Ammunition Group. The troika had overplayed its hand. It also revealed the complicity of the DEFRA Wild Bird Policy Unit in the matter of lead Ammunition. The political partnership between government and the troika flourished under 13 glorious years of a field sports hating Labour government. The end of Labour was and is a serious blow to an overweening and now, almost fascist, birding lobby.

John Swift left the BASC in 2013 whilst remaining Chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group. The BASC has struggled ever since to repair the damage to its credibility. Because of the betrayal over Lead ammunition, English Shooting must now consider Judicial Review territory in the event DEFRA continues to treat with the RSPB and the WWT on the same terms as the past.

The Meretriciously named Oxford’ Symposium on Lead is a textbook example of the combining of political agenda driven science with the smooth deceptions of branding. It is a creature of the ideological campaign, driven by the RSPB, the WWT, and their followers. It is a marketing technique that in this context, circumnavigates consumer law. 

The correct taxonomy of the ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead is, The ‘Edward Grey Institute’ Symposium on Lead. The Edward Grey Institute a small department (some say club) specialising in ornithology. It is housed within the Department of Zoology, which in turn is a small department at Oxford University.

  • Part of the branding process is; get a ‘name’ (preferably a blast from the past) to provide a testimonial. A high priest of political science *Lord Krebbs stepped up to provided a ‘Forward’ to the Symposium. 
  • Professor Chris Perrins, ‘Warden of the Swans’, heads up Edward Grey. He hosted, and ‘Introduced’ the Symposium.
  • Generate a good strapline e.g., “50,000-100,000 wildfowl die each winter as a direct result of lead poisoning” (The ‘Oxford Symposium on Lead & the BBC). It is noted that even Lord Krebbs had difficulty swallowing that figure.
  • That is how to bake government policy – just add Ministers.

The Oxford Symposium on Lead in December 2014 anticipated the failure of the lead Ammunition Group that was inspired and launched in 2010 by Mr John Swift, the RSPB, and the WWT. The Symposium has now released its documentation in an attempt to rescue their anti-Lead campaign.

They wish to lobby DEFRA, and Natural England, at the Gerald Jones MP Westminster Hall debate on Lead ammunition on Tuesday 8th (4.30-5.30), and to exert pressure on an imminent Government statement that is due, regarding the successful Petition in defence of Lead Ammunition. .


*Lord Krebbs, none more political than he. Lobby fodder and political networker supreme – Badgers, Climate Change, Smoking, and Ornithology. He played the role of ‘science’ on the Blairite Labour party policy stage. His political involvement made his reputation, ultimately awarding him a seat in the House of Lords. His familiarity withthe government grant (funding) systems gained him the academic world’s adulation and respect. He is an ornithologist, who else therefore would the RSPB and the WWT turn to for the endorsement of their ideological bid against Lead ammunition, and how could he turn down the offer to be back in the limelight, since being sidelined by  the eclipse of Blairisam.


Lord Krebbs exhortations against Lead ammunition are selective. He quotes from the 1983 Royal Commission on Lead “efforts should be made to develop alternatives to lead shot”. He seems to have overlooked this bit of the Commission’s report:

6.42. “The effects of spent lead shot on water birds and lead fishing weights on swans have been described in paragraphs 3.16 and 3.17.  We know of little evidence of harmful effects of such lead on man, though the habit of some anglers, including young boys, of closing split shot weights between the teeth could add marginally to the intake of lead.”

3.16 “A report to the British Association for Shooting and conservation, the Royal Society for the protection of Birds and the wildfowl Trust on the poisoning of wildfowl in Great Britain by spent gun shot estimated that about 8,000 mallard each year die of poisoning from this source of lead, although this figure is a very small proportion of the overwintering mallard population and small compared with the direct losses from wildfowling”

Anyone reading the Royal Commission’s report will seen that all of the references to Lead shot and birds are provided exclusively by the RSPB, the WWT, and BASC. This is back in 1981/3. Two people, namely Ruth Cromie, and Deborah Pain, (WWT) have been in pole position on this subject ever since. Their names appear on the main documents of the ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead. They are both employed by the WWT. They were instrumental in the setting up of the Lead ammunition Group in 2010. Cromie was responsible for the libellous and flawed 2010 WWT/BASC Report to DEFRA concerning ‘compliance’ with the English regulation on the use of Lead ammunition.

The WWT and the RSPB’s are politically engaged in a mendacious crusade against shooting in general, and Lead ammunition in particular. They are desperate to make their fallacious anti-Lead allegations stick. However this political juggernaut of a campaign is dressed up, or whose right-on testimonial they elicit, their failure to provide valid, repeatable, empirical science, shines out. The ‘Oxford’ Symposium on Lead blatantly resorts to the toxic political gambit of evoking public fear and alarm over eating game. They wish to bounce Government Ministers into reacting to ‘public perception’ rather than the facts.

Their unwarranted influence upon DEFRA and National England is clearly revealed in the recent judgement by MR JUSTICE OUSELEY in Case No: CO/4133/2014 – 13/11/2015. We have seen their influence incite

DEFRA’S complicit actions when setting up of the Lead Ammunition Group, and we saw it in the blatantly dishonest 2010 WWT/BASC report on ‘Compliance’. See: –


One of the key characteristics of the ornithologist is an inexorable obsession for birds. The ‘Birders’ and ‘twitches’ world is most often one of compulsion. Not unlike the compulsive hand washer, their mindset is of clinical interest; and treatable to a degree. Beware, however deserving of sympathy, obsessive’s can be dangerous.


**Charles Nodder says (shooting times 2 Dec – see attached) that the illegal behaviour of DEFRA and Natural England, condemned in the recent the National Gamekeepers organisation victorious judicial review (see Link) “to react reasonably to the judgement”, and “Continued talk of victory is unhelpful”. He implies a threat, “we all depend

on it (Natural England) for decisions that affect many aspects of our sport, not least General Licences”. To paraphrase; don’t get cocky; if you do, DEFRA will revert to being as awkward as they were before, remember ‘shoo before you shoot’? 

Chares Nodder, who he? He is a worthy member of the shooting public, a PR Consultant, and a Shooting ‘media hack’. He is also a ‘political’ consultant to the National Gamekeepers Organisation. He provides a sort of ‘Pay and Display’ service to shooting media and organisations. Often used to send ‘smoke signals’, when the sender wishes to remain cloaked. Is Natural England/DEFRA launching a veiled threat? Ask Charles Nodder, DEFRA may be one of his clients. It is also possible that the Shooting Times gave him space in good faith to voice his personal heart felt view, we do not know.


A political, Political Ambush


Arnold Chapkis

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