In March we blogged about how Andrew Gilruth of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) had recently written letters to four media outlets (The Field, BBC Wildlife, The Scotsman, The Independent) and in each one he’d included the same quote, attributed to the RSPB, that would suggest to the reader that the RSPB is supportive of grouse moor management techniques:
“The RSPB has been clear that the ‘management of land for grouse shooting has protected upland areas from the worst of over-grazing and blanket conifer plantations, while generating income for upland communities and forming a uniquely British form of cultural land use‘”.
We showed that Andrew Gilruth had cherry-picked that particular quote, out of context, from a 2006 RSPB publication:
We argued that Andrew Gilruth’s cherry-picking activity appeared to be so deliberately deceptive that his motive must have been to mislead the public – a serious accusation for an organisation with charitable status, and especially for one that prides itself on its so-called scientific integrity.
Since March, we’ve complained to the GWCT about this apparent deceptive misrepresentation on three separate occasions; twice to Teresa Dent (Chief Executive) directly and when she didn’t reply we sent a complaint to her via GWCT’s general email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). No response.
We then looked at the GWCT’s complaints policy (here), which opens with ‘We want to find out about things that have gone wrong so we can fix them and prevent things going wrong in the future‘.
However, bizarrely it seems this policy doesn’t apply to criticisms of GWCT’s media statements! Right at the bottom of the GWCT complaints policy it says this: ‘This policy does not cover comments made in the media‘.
We’ll next be making a formal complaint to the Charity Commission to investigate GWCT’s apparent deception and misrepresentation of the facts.