TV PRESENTER and wildlife expert Chris Packham has been dropped as the host of dog-lovers festival over safety fears.

Mr Packham, a New Forest resident, was set to host Dogstival at the Pylewell Park Estate in Lymington this weekend.

However, concerns have been raised about his attendance due to the recent death threats he has received.

The BBC Springwatch presenter angered the farming community after action by his environmental organisation, Wild Justice, resulted in a ban on shooting pigeons, crows and other birds.


Dogstival co-founder Richard Nowell said the decision to cancel Mr Packham’s appearance at the event was “the best course of action”.

He said there were concerns the festival would be used as a target by people seeking to “publicly display and demonstrate their anger at Mr Packham”.

Mr Nowell said: “Over the last three weeks, we have continued to receive a large number of messages that have caused strong concerns that our event was going to be used as a platform to target Mr Packham. As responsible event organisers we have to put the public’s interest first and that is to deliver a day out that is fun, friendly and safe for all members of the family.”

“We are disappointed to no longer be working with our host and recognise that people have purchased tickets in the hope of meeting him may be disappointed. But we have to consider the public’s safety and enjoyment across the weekend, so this is the right decision.

“We also have to respect our venue, Pylewell Park, who are rightly concerned about their reputation as an events venue, who have businesses and people living within the estate grounds.”

Thousands of dogs are set to attend the event on May 18 and 19, which will feature more than 180 stands, dog display teams, live music, vintage funfairs, flyball and a K9 aqua splash pool.

Four-legged friends will even have access to the park’s own private beach.

The event, which is supporting the RSPCA, also aims to shine a spotlight on behavioural issues that are common in households and there will be a ‘behaviour stage’, featuring a set designed house, garden and giant LED screen, with advice from dog behavioural experts.

Dog lovers will be able to enjoy demonstrations and talks from canine experts as part of the RSPCA’S #Dogkind campaign which highlights behavioural issues such as separation anxiety.

As well as death threats and dead crows left hanging outside his home, Mr Packham was also sent a piece of wood with a penis drawn on it as part of the hate campaign against him.

Natural England revoked three general licences for controlling wild birds on April 23. The Government body said it would look to introduce “alternative measures” allowing the lawful control of birds to continue. Until then people will have to apply for an individual licence.

Bodies including the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Countryside Alliance, and the National Gamekeepers Organisation complained the new licensing rules are causing havoc at one of the busiest times of the farming calendar.

The Echo has attempted to contact Mr Packham's representatives for a comment.