On the 15th of January, The Guardian, hardly noted for being a hotbed of right wing hubris, ran an article about scientists’ concerns that UK celebrity power is undermining global conservation efforts. In the article, reference is made to a meeting in parliament hosted by the Campaign to ban trophy hunting (CBTH) attended by activists, politicians and the media.

The CBTH is not a charity; The Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting Ltd is a private company registered in London. It is a privately owned eco-chugger, raising money “to save animals” but none appear to be saved and its idiotic campaign, although no doubt highly profitable, will do more harm than good. It was set up by one Eduardo Goncalves, who learned to harvest donations some time ago whilst CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), and the CBTH Ltd company registration now shows his wife as its only officer. To all intents and purposes, the person of significant control is clearly still him. LACS, you will recall, was instrumental in getting fox hunting with hounds banned in the UK, a spectacular success that destroyed a five thousand year old tradition but saved not a single fox, 400,000 of whom are now killed every year in this country according to the Burns report.

Eduardo Goncalves

Goncalves reportedly owns a cork forest that he bought in Portugal and thus makes an additional living himself out of harvesting nature. He has recently written three “books”, purporting to be exposés of the trophy hunting industry but they are, in fact, a collection of propagandist trash of such magnificent proportions, they would have made Goebbels orgasmic with delight had they been trendy at the time. All three “books” are published by Green Future Books Ltd that, by some amazing coincidence, has only one registered officer, a certain Mr Goncalves.

These books are, in fact, as truthful to the hunting industry as a vuvuzela is to orchestral music and are blatant advertising tracts for the CBTH Ltd worthy of examination by the Trading Standards Department. They proudly state within their worthless covers that “all profits will be donated to the CBTH”, which, noted above, is also the very same Mr Goncalves. How very cosy and generous. Nobody is suggesting that the CBTH is a scam, but its advertising “books”, slogans and headlines are a tissue of subjectivity, lies and deception, so if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, the question must be asked, what is this odious little chugger, whose Facebook page has Hunt Saboteurs and Keep the Ban among its relatives, doing holding a meeting in our parliament?

It gets worse. Very ominously worse. The Guardian article also reports that a certain Dr Amy Dickman was asked to leave this meeting, a meeting apparently concerned with wild animal conservation. But not so, my gullible friends. You see, Dr Dickman is extremely well qualified to be there; Kaplan Senior Research Fellow in Felid Conservation, Pembroke College, Oxford, one of the UK’s leading big cat conservation experts, and a member of Oxford’s WildCRU (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit) with twenty five years of award-winning, scientifically-based, top-drawer academic and practical conservation work in Africa – the sort of whom we can be very proud of as a nation. Dr Dickman was asked to leave no doubt because she is intelligent, understands the real problems of wildlife management and conservation in Africa and has published in many scientific journals a truth that is carefully concealed and denied by the Fagin-like messiah of the CBTH Ltd.

Most important of all, if a world-class British expert was outrageously asked to leave the meeting in the Mother of Parliaments, where truth and free speech must surely form the bedrock, why didn’t one of the politicians present make any move to support Dr Dickman’s presence? Could it be that they were all too busy scoffing free publicity at Goncalves’ porcine trough?

The CBTH Ltd lists a formidable array of supporters, including zoo operator Chris Packham, the celebrity truth bender, and also one Peter Egan. According to the Guardian article, Mr Egan has referred to Dr Dickman as “a very limited scientist”. Quite apart from being another outrageous lie, it is a bit rich coming from a gobby thesp who makes a living from pretence, whose own chest of wildlife qualifications contains only navel lint, and whose trademark British voice was actually learned at RADA, perhaps to hide his Irish ancestry. It should also not surprise you that the leader of this detestable cult, the wily Goncalves, has only qualifications on political science, not in wildlife management. No wonder they all love wildlife – these people have more neck than a bloody giraffe.

A visit to the CBTH Ltd website is a further wonder to behold and it should surely form the prime text-book example for every propaganda and hard-sell course taught at university level. From the very start, it displays powerful images. The first, outside 10 Downing Street, features the usual suspects, plus the imposing presence of a Mr Boniface Mpiro dressed in his traditional bright red shuka. He is advertised elsewhere by the CBTH Ltd as “a senior Maasai elder”, although he must do his senior eldering from Waterlooville in Hampshire, where he reportedly lives and must obviously love the local wild lions roaming there.

Below the number 10 photo-op there appears a fascinating array of Africans holding up signs, at least two of which are the same sign held by different people, suggesting that the holders were paid or persuaded to hold them up for the camera. At first glance, it would appear to be concerned village Africans protesting about trophy hunting. But look closely – the good people appear to be Kenyans – trophy hunting has been banned in Kenya since 1977 (and is probably the main reason why Kenya has lost more than 70% of its wildlife outside its reserves, unlike the animals in the southern Africa hunting grounds that have increased five fold). The slogans are therefore meaningless to Kenyan villagers. The slogans, all of which are demonstrable misrepresentations, have been ingeniously devised to appeal to exploitable foreign viewers. It’s actually a propaganda montage!! They have been duped, of course. Misusing Africans dishonestly in order to hide the deceit of your UK money-harvesting machine might be considered a tad distasteful and might even be construed to be more than a little colonialist. So why do it?

The reason for the appearance of this photo-pastiche of Africans is even more fascinating, Dear Readers. You see, the CBTH Ltd campaign is, without doubt, damaging the lives of southern rural Africans and their attempts to conserve and harvest their wildlife sustainably whilst deriving much-needed income and food. Funnily enough, it is similar to Goncalves harvesting cork, by sustainably tearing the skin off his oak trees. Not surprisingly therefore, last year, fifty genuine leaders of millions of rural Africans across Southern Africa, wrote an open letter to organisations like Born Free and CBTH Ltd, asking them to stop their anti-hunting campaigns using UK celebs because the campaigns are hurting rural Africans and wildlife. The open letter represents the voice of real rural Africans, and it was their letter and real voice that the CBTH Ltd tries to obliterate with their own counterfeit trump card – the grubby photo montage of their African pseudo-protesters. You see, there really is no end to the subterfuge of wily Goncalves. Not only does he mis-use Africans to fool UK supporters, he uses them as willing donkeys to stifle the real voice of fellow Africans. Such breathtaking cheek! No wonder Pinocchio Packham is one of his strongest supporters. It’s a wonder the Kenyans were not holding aloft a few dead birds of prey for good measure.

Of course, we are all quite used to our politicians speaking in words of fluent testiculation, and we are prepared to overlook the sadness that some of the cherished celebrity darlings of our nation are, in fact, bottom feeders in the fish tank of human intellect, but when a herd of self-seeking, parasitic eco-chuggers, under the protective wing of DEFRA, can throw an eminent scientist out of a meeting, inside our parliament building, the very home of truth and free speech, there is something very ominous going on that has nothing whatsoever to do with animal welfare.

John Nash grew up in West Cornwall and was a £10 pom to Johannesburg in the early 1960’s. He started well in construction project management, mainly high rise buildings but it wasn’t really Africa, so he went bush, prospecting and trading around the murkier bits of the bottom half of the continent. Now retired back in Cornwall among all the other evil old pirates. His interests are still sustainable resources, wildlife management and the utilitarian needs of rural Africa.