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Off the Leash

A weekly podcast from environmental and animal welfare campaigners Dominic Dyer and Charlie Moores

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Tom Langton | Next Steps Policy (07:13)

 ‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!"It's such a sad indictment of the current way in which science is conducted and vested interests have infected our society." Ecologist Tom Langton has been looking at the scientific and legal aspects of the dreaded badger culls since 2016, and this summer represents his fifth year working on what is being described as the worst miscarriage of UK biological science for fifty years.Tomorrow (the 22nd of July) Tom is off to London for a High Court challenge of Secretary of State George Eustice over the “Next Steps” policy, which was published in March 2020 and revealed the way in which badgers may be legally shot in huge numbers over the next five years and beyond - all the way up to 2038.For this shortcast we asked Tom to explain a bit about the new 2020 policy and what exactly was being challenged – a challenge which, incidentally, has taken over a year of battling to gain permission for. Tom starts off with aspects of the 2020 policy in terms of what we might expect to see under the wording of the controversial new policy and the dilemma (in Tom’s words) that it now offers to those who may be invited for the foreseeable future to vaccinate badgers as long as they stand by while most of them are killed first...The Badger Crowd  Standing up for badgersTom Langton  Twitter feed

7mins

21 Jul 2021

Rank #1

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Interview | Nick Weston League Against Cruel Sports (20:11)

"...to do anything other than get rid of the licences would be bad for animals...which is ultimately why we're doing this, it's for the animals..." Charlie Moores talks with Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, about why the National Trust licencing so-called 'trail hunting' is such an important issue for anyone who cares about wildlife, and what both members and non-members can do to ensure that 'trail hunting' licences that were suspended in November 2020 are banned permanently at the Trust's next AGM in October. League Against Cruel Sports  Hunting, trespass, and the National TrustThe War on Wildlife Project  The National Trust and Trail Hunting 2021

20mins

19 Jul 2021

Rank #2

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Tessa Boase | The Story of the RSPB's Women Founders (12:37)

‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a conservation powerhouse. As the RSPB's homepage proudly states - at the time of publishing this anyway - they are 'Celebrating 100 Years of Saving Birds". So, those grim-faced men holding indistinct placards in the black and white header photograph on the RSPB's website, they would be the charity's founders, would they?Not even close. As author, journalist, and campaigner Tessa Boase explains in this wonderful shortcast, the founders were actually three remarkable women who took on the powerful plumage trade: Emily Williamson, Etta Lemon, and Eliza Phillips.  But as Tessa also reveals, it took determined detective work on her part - and a chance find in the RSPB's own archives - to uncover the truth.  Conservation (and birdwatching especially) has been saying for years that young women have few role models to follow, yet conservation itself appears to have buried a trio of female activists that have literally changed the world for birds and whose stories of determination, commitment, and passion are so wonderfully inspirational. Now, though, thanks to Tessa Boase, those stories are being told and will (hopefully) encourage young conservationists long into the future.Tessa Boase website and Twitter feedTessa's book Etta Lemon The Woman who Saved the BirdsA statue for Emily Williamson  emilywilliamsonstatue.com

12mins

18 Jul 2021

Rank #3

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Bob Elliot (OneKind) | Snares (04:43)

 ‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!Snares. Metal nooses, indiscriminate and cruel. Hundreds of thousands of these primitive devices litter the countryside. Two things about snares: a) most people think they're already banned; b) the only people who support their use are gamekeepers and a few farmers (and lobbyists for the shooting industry of course).Director of the Scottish charity OneKind (and formerly Head of Investigations at the RSPB) Bob Elliot has had more than his fair share of experience of snares. OneKind operates SnareWatch,  an information-sharing and reporting facility about snaring in the UK, and in the following shortcast Bob is unequivocal about his and OneKind's position on snares: "We've got to ban them - they shouldn't be being used in our countryside - they are causing unnecessary and unjustified suffering." OneKind website and Twitter feedSnareWatch Annual Report 2020The War on Wildlife Project  Articles on snares

4mins

15 Jul 2021

Rank #4

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Alex Lockwood | 'Planting Value' Report (06:11)

 ‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!As the Vegan Society says, "our food system is broken".  Food producers are not rewarded for their work, livestock production is cruel to farmed animals, intensive agriculture is causing biodiversity loss,  and what we eat is fuelling an obesity crisis. Is there an alternative?  Published on the 12th July by The Vegan Society, Planting Value in the Food System presents an ambitious but practical vision for a fully plant-based food system with the ability to help achieve climate targets, reduce the impact on our health service, improve the experiences of farmers and farm workers, and ultimately save the lives of thousands of animals. 'Planting Value' was written by Dr Alex Lockwood,  Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland, in consultation with The Vegan Society policy team.  In this shortcast Alex explains the process and thinking behind the report, and the four key elements we should look out for.There is a real opportunity for deep-rooted change in the way we produce, relate to, and consume food, and to quote Alex from this shortcast, "The Vegan Society is working towards a vision for a food system which not only respects the rights of animals but is also economically and socially just".Vegan Society  New Report: Planting Value in the Food SystemDr Alex Lockwood on Twitter

6mins

15 Jul 2021

Rank #5

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Tom Langton | JNCC and QR7 (08:01)

  ‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!Last month we posted a shortcast by ecologist Tom Langton which discussed a call for evidence made by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (the JNCC) which could lead to the removal of legislative protection for many of the UK's amphibians and reptiles, and which – in Tom’s words - could "allow snake-bashing to become lawful again". The following week a short, precise message was sent to the JNCC by a coalition of over 30 non-government organisations (see - Open NGO letter responding to proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)) which specifically referenced the Quinquennial Review – the process by which every five years an inter-agency group makes recommendations to Defra and the devolved administrations in Great Britain on changes to the schedules (or lists) of protected species.The joint message included the demand, “We would like to formally request that the Quinquennial Review Group carry out a public consultation on the decision to change the eligibility criteria before proceeding with the planned timetable. We await your response.”Tom decided to go a bit further and also wrote to the various government bodies concerned to remind them of some of the detail and asking them to be clear about things as soon as possible - by the 26th July to be precise. He also popped in a freedom of information request for the paperwork for good measure.In his letter, Tom suggested that legal issues are at stake here and that repercussions could be huge. What seems strange is the lack of response from those government bodies. You can imagine it might perhaps take a few days to draft a response, but it’s now been more than two weeks since his letter was sent. Maybe they disagree amongst themselves - or simply don’t know what to do about it….In this latest shortcast Tom tells us in more detail what his letter said and the asks that he made in it.Related audio:Tom Langton  On the JNCC Proposals (06:33)Robyn Murphy   Epetition to the JNCC (03:40)

8mins

13 Jul 2021

Rank #6

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Nick Weston (LACS) | National Trust campaign (03:39)

 'Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!For years the National Trust (NT), a charity and one of the country's largest landowners, has allowed so-called 'trail hunting' to take place on its properties. In the lead up to the NT's next AGM in October this year, the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) is urging the Trust's members to vote against licencing 'trail hunting' on National Trust land. In this shortcast Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at LACS, explains the situation and what he and LACS would like us all to do.League Against Cruel Sports  Stop 'trail hunting on National Trust land campaignThe War on Wildlife Project  National Trust and Trail Hunting 101

3mins

9 Jul 2021

Rank #7

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Robyn Murphy | JNCC epetition (03:40)

 ‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!Ecologist Robyn Murphy has set up an epetition to help stop the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) downgrading protection for widespread species of amphibian and reptile by removing them from Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.Changing criteria to protect endangered species only is a move in the wrong direction.  All reptile and amphibian species need more protection from human activity as populations are struggling.We have seen a decline in all species for decades. If these changes go ahead, we could see species getting locally wiped out.  Also a potential disease risk as people could sell and transport species.We don’t want them all to become endangered in the first place. Prevention is the best curePetition:   Keep all of our widespread species of amphibian and reptile from Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Also listen to ecologist and founder of Froglife Tom Langton discussing the JNCC's ludicrous proposals in a previous Guest Off the Leash )

3mins

8 Jul 2021

Rank #8

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Off the Leash Podcast #10 plus Robyn Murphy (48:15)

Our tenth episode opens with a rolling discussion and personal anecdotes that take in unprecedented heat in North America, visiting Exxon-Mobil's HQ in Houston, peak air travel, commuting, the Eye of Fire, and the climate emergency. Charlie takes a chunk out of BBC Bitesize for writing that there were 'benefits' to climate chaos. In Hero and Villian we applaud Emily Williamson (and the Plumage Act) and Greenpeace UK for uncovering Exxon-Mobil's lobbying of the US government, and we take aim at Exxon-Mobil, Phil 'the Gurning Deer Killer' Spencer, and the Common Agricultural Policy for helping destroy Europe's biodiversity.  In 60 Second Sell (or should that be '60 Second Shoutout'?) we hear from ecologist Robyn Murphy about her petition to the JNCC (about their proposal to remove protection from widespread species of reptiles and amphibians) and flag up 10-year-old Bailey Woozeer's petition to introduce a yearly fundraising day for animals in school.Byline Times | Dominic Dyer   The Government Must Face Down Big Business & Put Nature FirstChannel Four   Revealed: ExxonMobil’s lobbying war on climate change legislationCNN Video   See massive 'eye of fire' burn in Gulf of MexicoThe Guardian   BBC removes Bitesize page on climate change ‘benefits’ after backlashBBC News    Emily Williamson: Centenary of victory to be marked with statueEmily Williamson   A statue for Emily Williamson Greenpeace UK newsletter   UnearthedThe Sun   Location, Location, Location viewers switch off as ‘psycho’ trophy hunting vid of host Phil Spencer surfacesBirdLife Europe  EU countries take giant step towards killing natureRobyn Murphy petition  Keep all widespread species of amphibian and reptile in S5 & 8 of the WCA 1981 Bailey Woozeer petition   Introduce a yearly fundraising day for animals in schools

48mins

4 Jul 2021

Rank #9

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Glen Black | The Citro (03:41)

  ‘Guests Off the Leash’ are short standalone audio comments and statements (‘shortcasts’) from conservationists, campaigners, charities, authors and members of our audience. If it needs to be said – say it here!Journalist Glen Black is a freelance writer interested in bloodsports, wildlife defence and land justice. He set up The Citro towards the end of last year. To quote from The Citro's website, "We cover news and issues from those on the frontline of the fights against wildlife persecution. The Citro’s aim is to communicate an authentic and comprehensive voice from hunt saboteurs, anti-bloodsport campaigners and other wildlife advocates. Everyone involved has connections with or direct experience of these struggles. "The Citro website and Twitter feed

3mins

2 Jul 2021

Rank #10