The Countryside Alliance says he is an extremist and wants the BBC to fire him. But the conservationist insists he is on farmers’ side, and unafraid to go on opposing foxhunting and badger culling

Related: Countryside Alliance urges BBC to sack Chris Packham in conservation row

Even though it started over a hen harrier – and there will be those of us, shamingly, who don’t know what one of those looks like – there was something quintessential about the row that broke out this week between Chris Packham, hero of Springwatch, and the Countryside Alliance, champions of blood sports. Packham wrote a column in the BBC’s Wildlife magazine in which he criticised wildlife charities for being too meek. Frankly, it could have been said by anybody, of whatever political stamp, about any charity; they’re all way too meek about everything. But he was making a specific point, which he elaborated to me, on his garden bench near Southampton, looking out on to a view so perfect that I had the sense of imminent disaster. “The way the wildlife NGOs evolved is that they were instigated by people who had split interests. They were interested in country pursuits – shooting, hunting, fishing, farming – and also natural history. And they were brilliant natural historians with a genuine desire to protect that legacy. We should no longer be sleeping with these people, but we should be in constructive dialogue with them. We need to move on.”

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Source: Guardian Environment