Two-thirds of gamekeepers across the UK have received abuse and threats because of their job. That’s the shock finding of a survey by BASC, Countryside Alliance, Game Farmers Association and National Gamekeepers Organisation.
More than 1,000 people responded to the survey held at the end of 2020. Abuse on social media is rising, according to 56% of respondents. Physical and verbal abuse were up by 32% and 37%. Some gamekeepers also reported pressure from abuse led directly to the breakdown of personal relationships.
Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and gundogs, said the survey “reinforces what we have been seeing and hearing in the last couple of years”
“Much of this aggressive behaviour on the ground is a product of targeted campaigns by those against shooting. While debate and a difference of opinion is welcome, shooting organisations are calling on those against shooting to consider the consequences of their publicity stunts and social media campaigns.”
DEFRA minister George Eustice insisted anyone responsible “should feel the full force of the law”.
Helen Benson of the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust has seen a steady increase in the number of gamekeepers seeking help.
“Living in fear of attack and abuse is an issue that we see on a regular occurrence,” she says. “An isolated living and working environment present a number of challenges for gamekeepers, this level of abuse and threatening behaviour cannot be allowed to continue.”
You can find out more about the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust here