Chris Packham’s passionate political views surrounding animal welfare have reportedly made him the victim of countless attacks, including a devastating firebombing of a Land Rover at his home – and now, a charity has announced to Express.co.uk that it has parted ways with him. Raptor Rescue, which rehabilitates birds of prey, had been working with Chris for 29 years – but his profile has recently been removed from the brand’s website.
There were reportedly fears that his strong support for the likes of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil could be “divisive” and “alienating”, according to Tim Bonne of the Countryside Alliance, after he seemingly endorsed breaking the law to raise awareness of climate change. In the Channel 4 documentary Is It Time To Break The Law?, Chris had questioned whether peaceful protest was “enough”, while he also warned: “If it isn’t a disruptive protest it doesn’t get news.”
“How disruptive do we have to be? Are we looking at… generating… mass public protest, or do we have to go even further and direct violence at property, fossil fuel infrastructure?” he asked. A representative for Raptor Rescue told Express.co.uk that Chris had been “removed as patron” after he started becoming increasingly involved in “the political arena”, as well as not having “done anything for the charity” for a long time.
Meanwhile, chairman Malcom Robbins also reportedly told The Telegraph: “He has now even started talking about breaking the law. Irrespective of our personal feelings, as a charity there is no way we could support that.”
It was claimed that Chris’ strong views were “beginning to split the membership”, as typical members are merely bird lovers who don’t want to get involved with the “political side” of the debate. Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Chris for comment.
Recently Chris penned an open letter to I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! hosts Ant [McPartlin] and Dec [Donnelly] accusing them of participating in cruelty to wildlife by using animals and insects for “entertainment”. Autumnwatch star Chris stated that the RSPCA had received 17,000 complaints last year about the show’s “wilful abuse of animals”, as he urged the duo to become ambassadors for wildlife charities to undo some of the alleged damage.
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However, now it looks as if one of Chris’ own charity affiliations has been severed.
He remains the vice-president of the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Butterfly Conservation, but is no longer featured in publicity material on the website of Raptor Rescue.
It comes after Chris praised two Just Stop Oil protesters who were jailed after they scaled the Dartford Crossing Bridge in Kent, causing a gridlock and disrupting thousands of journeys.
According to him, it was an “enormous act of bravery” and commendable that the pair had been “sacrificing their freedom” to raise awareness.
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He also announced plans to sue Conservative PM Rishi Sunak in the High Court if he does not reverse his decision to delay the phasing out of petrol cars.
Earlier in the year, after complaints were made to the BBC about the intensity of Chris’ ongoing political campaigning, it was drawn into question whether he had breached company policy by not being impartial.
However, the BBC maintained at the time that, as a freelancer, who is not involved in presenting news or current affairs, those particular codes of conduct do not apply to him.
Football pundit Gary Lineker had also run into issues months earlier after causing a stir when he compared Britain’s immigration policy to ‘1930s Germany’.
Chris’ political activity shows no signs of halting, as he urges the world to join him in combatting wildlife cruelty and climate change.
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