RSPB accused of distorting moorland data

grouseThe Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has come under fire for allegedly misrepresenting data on moorland management to further an anti-grouse shooting agenda.

In a damning review of the RSPB’s interpretation of scientific research the report says: “It would be preferable if ecological knowledge were allowed to determine attitudes rather than vice versa.”

The report, conducted by respected scientists, is due to be published in full in May and has concluded that the RSPB misrepresented data regarding moorland management practices in official press releases. The report was carried out by members of the Royal Society, a fellowship of eminent scientists across the globe.

Last year the RSPB criticised the burning of heather moorland and cited a research paper co-authored by one of its own scientists. However, the report by the Royal Society has found assertions made by the RSPB regarding these scientific findings to be misleading and misrepresentative, bearing “only passing resemblance to key findings of the paper.”

The report also observes that certain conservationists are unable to present biased views on moorland burning and unwilling to recognise important research showing the positive impact of such practices.

The organisation You Forgot the Birds, which scrutinises the RSPB’s methods and agendas, said: “The Royal Society paper is an indication of how serious the problems are at the RSPB. The charity’s hatred of grouse shooting has become an obsession.”

However, the RSPB has defended its research, with conservation director Martin Harper saying: “Our science is respected, peer-reviewed, widely accepted by statutory bodies and we fully stand by it.”

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