Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Chris Packham festival appearance cancelled over protests

Chris Packham and Scratchy Image copyright Chris Packham
Image caption Chris Packham said the event had been targeted by "bullying from the shooting fraternity"

A public appearance by TV presenter Chris Packham has been cancelled because of protests over his campaign on bird shooting.

Organisers of the Dogstival event in the New Forest said they were concerned about "the public's safety".

Packham has campaigned for measures to protect birds from being shot.

He said protesters had "bombarded" the organisers with abuse and had threatened to turn up dressed as birds covered in blood.

"The organisers have asked that I not attend due to a heinous amount of very unpleasant bullying from factions within the shooting fraternity," he added.

"They have been bombarded on Facebook and on their website, with a relentless barrage of unpleasant abuse."

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Media captionChris Packham tells Victoria Derbyshire: "They threatened to organise a car crash"

In April, Natural England revoked licences for controlling 16 species of bird after a legal challenge by Packham's Wild Justice group.

The presenter said he subsequently received a "very calculated" death threat and found dead crows hanging from a gate at his Hampshire home.

Packham was due to appear at the inaugural Dogstival, which takes place at Pylewell Park in Lymington on Saturday and Sunday.

It describes itself as a "news festival for dogs and dog lovers", with a food and drink as well as a vintage fun fair and live music.

In a statement, the festival organisers said: "The family-friendly event had been cited as a target for people to publicly display and demonstrate their anger at Mr Packham, whose recent involvement in changes to Natural England's legislation has prompted threats to his life.

"We have to consider the public's safety and enjoyment across the weekend."

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