Letter (and book) to Michael Gove MP – ‘In hope’

Killing by Proxy: wildlife crime in the UK today. Alan Stewart

One of the first people to buy my new book offered to buy another if I sent it to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment in the Westminster Parliament. This suggestion was also made independently by my daughters.

I have taken up the gauntlet, signed a book ‘In Hope’, and this will be in the post on Monday morning. It will be accompanied by the following letter, which I will also email in advance.

If it makes a difference then most of us will be pleased.


Michael Gove MP                                                                            House of  Commons                                                                                                                                             London     SW1A 0AA

15 January 2018


New Publication – Killing by Proxy: wildlife crime in the UK today

Dear Mr Gove

As a countryman, former shooting person, retired police officer, wildlife crime officer and intelligence officer I have been bitterly disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm from the Westminster Government to enact meaningful legislation that has a chance of curbing the volume of crime committed against our wildlife. This is particularly so against protected species on driven grouse moors.

As an author, in my ‘retirement,’ of books on wildlife crime I am posting off my latest book to you – Killing by Proxy: wildlife crime in the UK today. If you can make time to read the book it gives a snapshot of some of the worst of our wildlife crime taking place in ‘civilised’ UK over the past three or four years. If you can even scan through the book could I draw your attention to the following:

Pages 23 – 25: The disgrace of fox cubs being kept in captivity for fox hunting and in one case believed to be have been fed live to hounds

Pages 114 – 117: Introduction to the principal chapter, Driven Grouse Shooting, ‘a business underpinned by criminality’

Pages 137 – 139: ‘Vaporised’ golden eagles. Though this is a Scottish issue it demonstrates a much more determined approach by your counterpart in Scotland to deal with this type of crime.

Pages 150 – 151: Five missing hen harriers

Pages 159 – 169 – Missing hen harriers and abandoned raptor persecution cases. Though these incidents took pace in Scotland there is similar reluctance by prosecutors and courts in England to accept covert video evidence

Pages 172 – 177: A further demonstration of the difficulties with covert video evidence, this time in England.

Pages 189 – 192: My written evidence to the Westminster Enquiry on driven grouse shooting

Pages 195 – 197: The oral evidence to the Westminster Enquiry. This was a disgraceful sham and most certainly did not reflect democratic process nor take account of the views of the 123,000 signatories to Dr Mark Avery’s petition.

Pages 210 – 2014: ‘Pest control’ practices filmed in the Peak District National Park, during which a man, probably a gamekeeper, fired several shots from a shotgun right beside a snared badger’s ear in a botched attempt to cut the snare.

Page 219 onwards: The last chapter, The Future, with suggestions for both the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government to make a difference through meaningful legislation.

Though I have had little faith in the Westminster Government up until now, can I congratulate you on the promising start you have made with environmental matters since you joined the Cabinet. Can you please now do the same to tackle crimes committed against our wildlife.

Yours sincerely

Alan Stewart


Signed copies of my books are available by emailing me at the email address on my blog at https://wildlifedetective.wordpress.com/books/

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4 Responses to Letter (and book) to Michael Gove MP – ‘In hope’

  1. Al Woodcock says:

    What an excellent idea, Alan. It may be an idea to inform Raptor Persecution UK, too? They could do a blog about it.

  2. Kelvin Thomson says:

    Did you get a response form Michael Gove to your letter?

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