BBC presenter Chris Packham has called in the police after protesters hung dead crows on his garden fence in response to the broadcaster calling for a ban on the shooting of the ‘pest birds’.
It comes as nearly 80,000 people have signed a petition demanding the BBC sack the 57-year-old off the back of his successful campaign.
He also said lawyers have been informed and called on BASC, the UK’s largest shooting association, The National Farmers Union, Countryside Alliance and other bodies opposed to his law change to state whether they condone the behaviour that led to him calling the police.
The backlash grew today after dead crows have been left hanging outside his home. He posted a picture of the incident on Twitter and said he has contacted police
He said in a tweet: ‘This was my gate this morning (it was vandalised) @HantsPolice & lawyers have been informed.
‘So @BASCnews @NFUtweets @CAupdates @FarmersWeekly @Gameandwildlife @NaturalEngland can I ask you to comment on whether you condone this . Serious request – replies expected . Please RT’
BASC replied two hours later saying that they condemned the act but asked Mr Packham in response to condemn ‘the illegal behaviour of people who target legitimate rural businesses, such as those who release pheasants from game farms.’
The Springwatch host sparked outcry by backing a legal challenge that led to a ban on farmers and landowners shooting birds like wood pigeons and crows.
The Springwatch host, pictured at last week’s climate change protests that caused mayhem in London) sparked outcry by backing a legal challenge that led to a ban on farmers and landowners shooting birds like wood pigeons and crows
He set up a company called Wild Justice which fought to change the laws, and conservation watchdog Natural England has now revoked the licences.
Farmers have been left furious saying it is the worst time for licenses to be revoked because they can’t stop birds from destroying newly-sprouting crops.
Thousands have signed the petition, set up on Change.org, saying that he should ‘keep his views and beliefs to himself’ because he has such a prominent and lucrative role on the BBC.
Others suggested he may be breaking BBC presenter guidelines on impartiality, and some threatened to stop paying the licence fee if Packham was not dismissed from his role.
A Farmer’s Weekly poll asking if Mr Packham should be sacked has also been launched.
However, another petition on 38degrees asking the BBC not to sack Packham has been signed by a similar number – 75,000 by 1pm this afternoon.
The backlash grew today after dead crows were left hanging outside the presenter’s home. He posted a picture of the incident on Twitter and said he has contacted police.
The Change.org petition set up this week demanding Packham is sacked from his job at the BBC
Andrew Hayes, who set up the petition demanding Packham is sacked, wrote: ‘As an employee of the BBC, Chris Packham should remain impartial and keep his views and beliefs to himself.
‘However, he is the face of many anti-hunting campaigns and uses his celeb status as a platform to push his anti-hunting agenda, he has made his goal to ban all kinds of hunting, and country sports and pursuits and I feel he is no longer fit to work for the BBC.’
One who signed the petition wrote: ‘I feel he abuses his position within the BBC to get his own way.
Another wrote: ‘I firmly believe in the BBC being publicly funded, impartial and balanced.
‘Unfortunately Mr Packham does not uphold these values.’
There could be as many as 20 million pigeons in Britain. They can spread disease, destroy crops, cause pollution and, worse still, their population is on the rise
Previously, the government issued a list of 16 birds it was lawful to kill under general license if they were causing damage to property or crops, or posing a health and safety issue.
Under the old laws, they did not have to ask permission to kill the animals or record their deaths or the reason for shooting them.
‘The 16 ‘pest’ birds farmers can no longer kill after the licences were revoked
Lesser black-backed gull
Indian House Crow
Natural England has now withdrawn all general licenses and if people want to shoot these ‘pest’ birds they must apply for an individual license.
The ban has been criticised by members of the British Game Alliance and many farmers, who say that pigeons need to be controlled in order to protect crops.
Tom Adams, the managing director of the British Game Alliance, said: ‘The pigeon sector is relied on by game processing businesses to keep them going through the ‘closed season’ of the spring and summer when no game birds like grouse and pheasant can be shot.
‘Hundreds of jobs are at severe risk if a solution isn’t found.’
Wild Justice, argued that because landowners did not have to apply to the government for a license before killing birds, there was no way of telling if there was a humane alternative to shooting or if it was done for good reason, which meant the licensing was unlawful.
After the ruling it said in a statement: ‘We are delighted to have won this legal case.
‘What sort of world is it where the statutory body with responsibility for wildlife protection is operating a bird-killing licensing scheme that is unlawful?
‘Millions of birds are killed each year under the terms of the General Licences and many of these deaths will not be justified.
‘We are grateful to over 1100 individuals who funded this legal challenge and allowed us to take it with the means to progress it through the courts.’
Packham (pictured) successfully lobbied Natural England to revoke the general license. This makes any farmer who shoots wood pigeons to protect his crops without an individual licence a law-breaker
A Natural England spokesman said that the body would look to bring in ‘alternative measures’ over the coming weeks to allow the lawful control of the shooting of the bird species to continue.
It said that, until then, those looking to kill the birds where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will have to apply for an individual licence.
A fiercely outspoken campaigner on behalf of wildlife and the environment, Packham is no stranger to controversy.
In 2017, he encouraged people to write to MPs and take action on issues such as glyphosate and animal rights.
The same year, he was made to apologise after he posted a tweet suggesting lapwings were being shot by farmers.
He also appeared at the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests last month and said: ‘If they don’t listen next week they’ll listen next time, because we are not going away, this movement is here to stay.’
MailOnline has contacted the BBC for a response.