August 7th, 2010
Though I’m aware that taking pot shots at birds of prey is generally considered unsporting, there are so many in the part of mid-Wales I’m staying right now that I think they almost qualify as a pest. Plus, of course, it would really, really, REALLY annoy the RSPB. And annoying the RSPB, to my mind, is such a noble and worthwhile task it’s kind of the modern equivalent of being a medieval peasant and doing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella or dying of dysentry on the Crusades: it earns you a top tier seat in the kingdom of heaven because, you know what? Even GOD hates the RSPB, that’s how awful it is.
Why does God hate the RSPB so much? Well, obviously I can’t presume to enter the brain of the Almighty, but I suspect that in general terms He loathes the organisation’s cant and hypocrisy and weaselly leftishness (God, of course, being a true Tory) and that what really got His goat specifically this week was the story about the declining kestrel population.
The RSPB, with wearisome inevitability, blamed it on “intensive farming.” Does the kestrel’s decline really have anything to do with intensive farming? Of course not. As the Country Landowners Association pointed out in response some 70 per cent of all farmland in England is now covered by agri-environment schemes: there has certainly been no increase in intensive farming in the last five years.
No, there are two far more likely culprits – as several sensible letters in the Telegraph pointed out his week – and both, funnily enough, are heartily endorsed by the RSPB. The first is wind farms, which have been implicated in any number of raptor deaths, yet to which the RSPB remains ideologically committed.
And the second is other, larger, birds of prey – such as the once rare but now absurdly overabundant red kite and the sea eagle, another voracious predator species which the raptor-obsessed RSPB is so keen to re-establish in Britain regardless of the environmental consequences.
“We speak out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way,” declares the RSPB on its website’s home page
But in fact this is at best partially true. For one thing, if the RSPB really cared about the “environment” and keeping nature “amazing”, the last thing it would be doing would be lending its considerable muscle to supporting the wholesale destruction of the British countryside with wind farms. For another, the RSPB seems to have an exceedingly feeble understanding of what it is that makes our natural world amazing.
A survey a few years ago showed that biodiversity on an RSPB managed sanctuary in Wales wasn’t nearly as great on that of private, gamekeeper-run grouse estates. How so? Well, because proper country people – as opposed to the right-on eco types who tend to be attracted to a heavily politicised activist body like the RSPB – understand that the apparent naturalness of the British countryside is in fact the result of generations of management by humans. Predator species are kept in check (usually by the destruction of their eggs; or in the case of foxes, by hunting or shooting) so that as many species as possible are able to live together in balance. Hunting, shooting and fishing folk are generally far better conservationists than bien-pensant RSPB/RSPCA/WWF bunny huggers, because they don’t sentimentalise nature.
Some of you may be disappointed to find me blogging about kestrels and the RSPB instead of “global warming.” You shouldn’t be, though, because it all connects. If you want to understand why it all connects, I heartily recommend Melanie Phillips’s superb new book The World Upside Down: The Global Battle Over Truth, God and Power, which she summarises in this Standpoint article.
Mel rightly sees a connection between the death of Judaeo-Christian values and the growth such modern secular religions as environmentalism. These new secular religions claim to revere reason and evidence and “science” but they are in fact every bit as dogmatic and averse to contradiction as any of those old religions they have displaced.
Just like their medieval forbears, these modern millennarians persecute dissenters from the faith. Academics teaching evidentiary problems with evolutionary theory are fired. Scientists expressing scepticism of man-made global warming theory find they cannot get grant funding. Scientific research journals are closed to them and they are subjected to vicious ad hominem attacks, with some Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists bullied into telling lies about the science.
Defenders of national identity and traditional morality are vilified as racists, homophobes, Islamophobes or xenophobes. Jews expressing outrage at the lies and libels being used to delegitimise Israel are denounced for “dual loyalty”, demonised as part of a global conspiracy to harm the world and ostracised socially and professionally.
How does this apply to the RSPB and kestrels? Well, like so many environmental NGOs, the RSPB is prey to certain over-riding religious tenets which trump all reason. For example, it believes that man is the problem not the solution (ergo it cannot bring itself to support proper, intelligent, old-school country estate management, never mind how effective it is); and it is ideologically committed to the concept of Anthropogenic Global Warming (ergo it feels it has to campaign for “renewable energy” such as wind farms, even though these are proven to destroy the very creatures the RSPB is supposed to be saving).
(to read more, click here)
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