Chris Packham, Pete Gamby, Amy-Jane Beer, Simon Tonkin, Chantelle Lindsay, Patrick Galbraith and Marlous Veldt took part in a live discussion, hosted by wildlife writer Lucy McRobert, asking: should we care who makes our binoculars?
Date: Thursday 25th March
People who love to watch wildlife are spoilt for choice when it comes to sports optics, with brands ranging from a few pounds to thousands of pounds worth of high-end equipment. At nature reserves, in magazines, on television, on social media, we are bombarded with advertising from companies wishing to sell their binoculars and telescopes to wildlife-lovers. But who is making these products? Many companies who specialise in the wildlife-watching optics industry also make and market products for hunting. By shopping with these brands, are consumers indirectly supporting the pro-hunting industry? How do wildlife lovers feel about this?
In this live discussion, we will into some of the issues raised in the most recent Ethical Consumer report: Shooting Wildlife III? Who makes your binoculars, cameras and spotting scopes?
- Can and should optics companies use their influence to end bad practice within the hunting industry?
- Should consumers be endorsing companies who support watching wildlife, but also killing it?
- How do we ensure transparent discussion around hunting and conservation, giving consumers correct information?
- What is the role of influencers and status when buying optics, for both wildlife watchers and hunters?
Chris Packham is a naturalist, author, photographer and broadcaster. He is a biophilic and fascinated with living things. Initially trained as a camera person, he followed a path to on screen presenting. Best known for The Really Wild Show and the BBC Watches, he uses his passion for the natural world to try and inspire and inform.
Amy Jane Beer
Dr Amy-Jane Beer is a biologist, naturalist, writer, editor, consultant and campaigner. Her books, feature articles and columns cover a broad range of natural history and conservation topics and she has been involved in a variety of campaigns with emphasis on equality, access to nature, nature friendly farming and rivers.
Patrick Galbraith is a writer and journalist. He has edited Shooting Times, Britain’s best-selling fieldsports magazine, for the past five years. Beyond ST, he’s written on everything from moose hunting in Finland, to naturism in Yorkshire. He reviews nature books for a number of publications and his own book on the battle to save Britain’s birds and the cultural hole they would leave if we lost them will be published by William Collins in spring next year.
Chantelle Lindsay is a wildlife conservationist, currently working at London Wildlife Trust as Great North Wood Project Officer on a woodland restoration and community engagement project in south London. She works closely with ‘Action for Conservation’, an organisation dedicated to empowering young people from diverse backgrounds to protect the natural world, and represents the views of young people on the ‘Heal Rewilding’ Future Advisory Panel. Chantelle believes in making nature accessible and inclusive to all and aspires to make positive change within the environmental sector and beyond.
Pete is a senior manager at one the leading suppliers of binoculars in the UK and has excellent knowledge and experience of sales, product management and marketing. Since December 2008, Pete has been sales and marketing manager for sport optics supplier Opticron, a UK-based, family-owned company supplying a network of dealers and distributors world-wide. The company supplies a range of high quality optics to birdwatchers and wildlife & conservation enthusiasts. He is particularly aware of the need to communicate with, educate and nurture “the next generation” of wildlife watchers as well ensuring that the company is responding to and acting positively upon the ever-growing and increasingly urgent need for proactive conservation action.
Simon Tonkin is co-owner and partner in Inglorious Bustards Birding, Conservation and Wildlife Tours, a nature tourism company based in the epicentre of avian migration at The Straits of Gibraltar, southern Spain. The company provides award-winning sustainable eco-tours, with a strong emphasis on conservation across the East Atlantic Flyway migratory route. Simon has lectured in ornithology, specialising in bird ethology, migration and bird populations and conducted research on Corn Bunting nest site selection and seed palatability of farmland granivores.