The UK’s first-ever conference to tackle countryside crime was hosted in Buxton last weekend.
Around 120 delegates, representing all major wildlife conservation bodies and societies, convened in the town to show a united front against the growing problem of wildlife persecution and crime on farms and countryside across the country.
Springwatch presenter and conservation activist, Chris Packham, gave the keynote speech, in which he called for united action to stand up against the growing losses of the UK’s natural world.
He told the Advertiser: “When something as remarkable as this conference occurs, when a lot of angry, motivated and determined people come from all parts of the country, then it is the start of something.”
Addressing the conference at the Lee Wood Hotel on Saturday, he said: “We are the people who know what’s happening, many in the wider society don’t. Let’s empower them to be our eyes and ears.
“We know the enormity of the destruction that happens every day. Let’s help them believe they can do something, they can tell us about it when they see it happening, they can come and join us out in the fields.”
To illustrate his point, the TV presenter destroyed an oil painting of John Constable’s ‘The Haywain’.
He commented: “If this were actually taking place to one of our nation’s national treasures there would be a widespread outcry, I’d be arrested, but when our wild creatures are abused, killed, trapped or their habitat destroyed as happens everyday, there is hardly a word said or reported.”
Derbyshire Police Crime Commissioner Alan Charles addressed the conference and reassured delegates that wildlife crime was high on his agenda.
Among the many local and national groups represented on the day were The Badger Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA.
When something as remarkable as this conference occurs, when a lot of angry, motivated and determined people come from all parts of the country, then it is the start of something.Chris Packham