BBC Wildlife is a pretty good magazine, but I have a bit of a grouse with them.
In the current issue (May – a lion on the cover) there is an article on Hen Harriers (to which I shall return more fully later today) in which I am quoted (as is Tim Baynes of Scottish Land & Estates).
Our comments, which appear in quotation marks, are in response to the question ‘Do we need grouse shoots?
BBC Wildlife asked me for 100 words on the subject and these were the words that I sent them:
‘Without grouse moor management our uplands would be different – and better. They would be more like Scandinavia with fewer red grouse but more black grouse. The blanket bogs would be in better condition and store more water (reducing flooding downstream) and carbon as peat. Too much of northern Britain is an industrially managed grouse-shooting factory where one economically important species is given priority over everything else including protected raptors such as hen harriers. Funnily enough, elsewhere in the range of the red (or willow) grouse, the Swedes, Russians and Canadians aren’t planning to introduce grouse shooting to save their wildlife!‘ 100 words
and this is what BBC Wildlife quoted:
‘Too much of Britain is an industrially managed grouse-shooting factory where one species is given priority over everything else including protected raptors. Without grouse moor management our uplands would be better, with fewer red grouse but more black grouse. The blanket bogs would store more carbon as peat, and more water, reducing flooding downstream.‘ 54 words
If BBC Wildlife had wanted 54 words, I’d have sent them 54 words – and they wouldn’t have been the 54 they used.
It’s a little thing, but when I am quoted I want to be quoted accurately. If you ask for my opinion then please don’t change it without asking.
I quite like the last sentence of my original quote (which is why I wrote it!) – if grouse shooting is such a great thing for wildlife, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Is it likely that an economic land use introduced into a small part of the world in the last 2-3 centuries is ‘needed’? No!
More on the BBC Wildlife article later today…