E-petition on licensing grouse moors

After two weeks this epetition has reached 2600 signatures.

Have you signed yet? Have you asked your friends to sign?

Think about it, please.


17 Replies to “E-petition on licensing grouse moors”

  1. So Mark, do you know if the RSPB support this and if so will they ask their members to?

  2. Think in general the impression I get and they seem reluctant to prove the opposite is that RSPB nowadays ask everyone for support for anything they want help with including petitions they start but my opinion is that they see private petitions as treading on the RSPBs toes so only give lip service to private petitions so that it seems they are backing them.
    If they gave unconditional support as if it was there own these petitions would do much better.
    I will give a example so that people do not think that comment unfair.
    I was definitely meant to get the impression from two top people from RSPB when I enquired why RSPB were not giving lots of publicity to V L petition that there was plenty of time and they would do so at the appropriate time.Well in my opinion the publicity the got out to RSPB members for that petition was pathetic.
    Of course that petition would not solve the problem but in the absence of anything better would have shown with lots of signatures that lots of people cared.

  3. Mark, as an avid reader of British Birds I’m sure you’ve seen the March edition. In this a letter from Martin Harper sets out in detail the RSPB’s attitudes on raptor persecution, especially in relation to hen harriers and the need for legal reform.

    I’m sure you may have also noticed in the same edition that Fighting for Birds was voted 5th Best Bird Book of the Year 2012. I put it higher myself especially my signed edition!

    1. Richard – I haven’t seen BB yet, mine is no doubt waiting for me at home, so both of those things are news to me! Many thanks.

      1. Sorry to have pre-empted that Mark. Incidentally, I had already signed the petition and forwarded it to my friends. Both of them!

  4. “As good be hang’d for an old sheep as a young lamb.”

    From John Ray’s collection of English Proverbs (1678)

    John Ray (1627– 1705) was an English naturalist who is often said to be the father of English natural history. He was a cataloguer – of plants, animals and proverbs – and was the first person to produce a biological definition of a species in 1686

    …. and how many grouse have you all seen today?

  5. You can see Grouse any time on the moors but you cannot see Hen Harriers on the moors at all.

  6. grouse moor owners and managers have shown an extreme reluctance to put their house in order when it comes to a number of issues a number of which stem from drainage and burning of peat bog but most of all issues around raptor and in Scotland other protected predator persecution. This seems a logical step towards a proper legal frame work to ensure compliance with the law and a move towards best practice and as such we should all sign it and encourage as many others as possible to do the same.

  7. Thanks for the link Mark. I’ve signed it but I’m probably going to say something controversial now.

    I can’t help feeling that e-petitions, unless you are certain to cross the 100,000 threshold and they are properly supported, are of little practical use and to a large degree, ineffective. The first part of the petition will clearly never happen as the sanction would be considered far too draconian and would probably throw up all sorts of EC and Human rights arguments. It also reduces, in fact, the likelihood of full backing from NGOs and responsible landowners. Progress is not going to be made in my view by going way beyond the concept of vicarious liability.

    The VL petition did get more than 10,000 signatures and triggered a response from Defra which outlined the fact that its not difficult actually to defend an action in Scotland. Give written instructions to your keepers to behave and claim that you knew nothing about it and it seems you are in the clear. This, I would say, is the issue that needs to be addressed.

    Licensing must make sense. It seems odd that bouncers have to be licensed but not gamekeepers.

    I also had a look at some of the other petitions – a real mix of good causes and then the usual mavericks and eccentrics. Its a forum which is open to all including those on the other side of the fence. There is a petition up and running calling for the control of raptors to protect racing pigeons (albeit with one signature).

    It really goes back to what has been discussed on your blog this week about a disjointed approach to campaigning. We can all set up an e-petition but its not going to garner public support in the absence of well-resourced and co-ordinated campaigning.

    We all want to see an end to persecution but we need , I think, to have a long hard think about how we approach these and other issues, particularly with this current government.

    There, I feel better now!



  9. Mark. Not more burarocracy (cant spell it !) in the countryside ?! (but “jobs for the boys” in the office ,no doubt !) Is there not already sufficient legislation to prosecute those found guilty of killing etc. any protected bird species ? If a gamekeeper (or other employed person in a different context) was found guilty, this invariably results in dismissal from his job and tied house, and from being a member of the the Gamekeepers Association and BASC. and also lose his insurance cover.
    I have walked on a number of unmanaged and “unshotover” heather moors in Scotland and Wales, where i have seen an occasional Hen harrier, only for them to “disappear” at a later date ( although i admit this is difficult to verify) due no doubt to absence or insufficient prey, together with predation of their eggs and chicks by foxes, rats, weasels and stoats etc.and weather at hatching time i.e. the absence of the Harrier is due to a number of factors in addition to illegal activity by man.
    I have old cine film (if i can find it ) of harrier chicks being fed at the nest in rank heather in 1963 at Aberhirnant,Bala, N.Wales, where our Forestry Commission Trapper (Ranger) found the first recorded “return”of the harrier since ? We immediately liased with the local RSPB contact and kept things quiet.
    Harriers and a viable populaion of grouse on a managed moor ( weather conditions during laying and hatching permitting) can i suggest co-exist; provided vigourous control of foxes, rats, stoats, weasels, crows, feral cats and Greater Black Backs (in W.Scotland) is carried out ad infinitum for the mutual benefit of both species.

  10. This problem needs to be attacked from all angles. A good idea would be to get a discussion going on these subjects amongst the grouse shooters themselves. Who knows?, there might be a sizable proportion of them that actually like birds of prey. This could be key aproach to changing the way the sport is managed. I personally dislike driven game shooting , but moaning about it is not going to make it go away. If the grouse shooters let the land owners know that they dont agree with all aspects of management , they could be a major influence as after all , from the land owners and game keepers point of view they are the ones that pay the wages. Perhaps this discussion/petition could be started in the shooting fraternities own publications. Is there anyone else out there that thinks that this is a good idea and has an idea how this discussion could be kick started.

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