Be an ethical consumer – turn your back on grouse!

turn your back on grouse logo-webIn a week of grouse-related, Hen Harrier-related, moor manager-related, news – this is the latest, and potentially most important.

Following the announcement of the location for the Derbyshire Hen Harrier Day event and the attendance of Chris Packham, and the sacking of Simon Barnes from The Times (which may or may not be related to his firm and brave stand on Hen Harrier persecution (he’s against it by the way)), the RSPB announcing their support for Hen Harrier Day (thank you guys!), the RSPB writing to the Moorland Association in strong terms (more on this later) we now have the launch of a public campaign to boycott the grouse shooting industry, and those who support it, until Hen Harriers are allowed to return to the moors that they should inhabit.

Ethical Consumer magazine will feature this campaign which is based on lengthy and detailed research, compilation of evidence and analysis of the problem.  The evidence and thinking is based on an excellent report which I recommend you should read. It calls for ‘a popular campaign against greed and intensification on England’s grouse shooting estates’.

turn your back on grouse logo-webGrouse shooting is sometimes described as a ‘sport’ but it’s actually an industry. It’s intensive and it’s fuelled by the pursuit of large bags (body counts) of a gamebird which are killed by paying customers. As the report suggests, grouse shooting has become arrogant and greedy.  As I have suggested, they have pushed their luck too far and they are now seeing a concerted backlash from reasonable and ordinary people who object to the levels of environmental damage, greed and criminal activity present in grouse shooting areas of England.

This report spells out three actions that you as a citizen could take to help solve this situation.

1 Don’t shoot grouse
If you know people who shoot grouse, or businesses whose staff enjoy grouse shooting, ask them to consider giving it up for three years….just until August 12th 2017 when the hen harriers are back.

2 Don’t buy from businesses connected to grouse shooting
From pubs and hotels promoting themselves to the industry, to shops and restaurants selling grouse, there are a wide
range of businesses to be potentially avoided. Don’t forget to write/email the companies involved to let them know what you are doing and why. And share your knowledge of company connections with others via our TurnYourBackOnGrouse forum and other social media channels.

3 Help campaign for a suspension of all subsidies for grouse shooting estates
Subsidies for upland estates and for shooting (gun licences) that do not require clear evidence (the presence of
endangered species) that no illegal activity is taking place should be suspended until August 12th 2017.

turn your back on grouse logo-webThese are good things to do.  The second is particularly powerful.  How many celebrity chefs would support this campaign, I wonder? How many restaurants might take grouse off the menu?

There is another thing you can do – sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting in England.

I’ve just subscribed to Ethical Consumer magazine. If they are this sensible, this bright and this clued up about other issues then they are just the type of help I need to make my shopping do a better job for the environment.

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17 Replies to “Be an ethical consumer – turn your back on grouse!”

  1. 'Turn your back on Grouse' This refers to the fact that there is only one species of grouse in the UK.
    BUT There is a BLACK GROUSE!!!!

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  2. I have just read the Ethical review for August. What the hell is 'Grouse farming' I wish they were farming Black Grouse!!

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    1. John, how are grouse not farmed on estates now? They're intensively raised, fed, medicated, protected , then slaughtered for a profit. Other than the method of dispatch that would describe the farming of upland sheep or any other poultry wouldn't it, and there'd be no quarrel with the term then?

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  3. The first words in the ECRA report are quoted from Richard Brunstrom. Ethical? When I have stopped laughing I might read the rest ...

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  4. This is powerful stuff and even you cynics should read it! Yes there are a few typos and errors that have escaped the proof reader. It does something very very important, that some of us have been wondering how to and who will for sometime --- pulling all the various evidence strands together and presenting them as one. SO READ IT and PROMULGATE IT. WELL DONE ECRA.

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  5. Excellent to see that the RSPB are still supporting the Langholm Project as the example to follow.

    The ploughing up of fragile moorland by the tax avoiding sitka spruce industry and their friends in the FC still continues. Why is it still allowed and also encouraged by grant aid?

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    1. Peter - I don't know where you live but upland afforestation in england basically stopped under the last Tory government and Nick Ridley - which is quite a while ago...

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      1. I was not referring only to England. A few minutes search on a forestry website and you will find thousand of acres of planting land available in Wales and Scotland with full government grants available.

        There is not much hill land left in England to mess up. The main problem now is the insistence on sitka restock on sites that should never have been planted in the first place by the FC and the tax avoiders. In addition the damage to fragile soil by the repeated use of heavy machinery is immense.

        To be fair the FC are trying to restore a few areas but not nearly enough.

        Planting sitka monoculture on the hills was (and still is) a catastrophe. Anybody who has read Ritson Graham's wonderful book will know what I mean.

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  6. Hi Mark, thanks for enthusiastically highlighting our report and linking to it. And thanks to those who have commented before - do get in touch to let us know where those typos are!

    The emphasis, as you have gathered, is most definitely not on black grouse - but on the red grouse. In the report we argue that the intensification of the driven grouse industry is akin to "farming". We bring 25 years experience in consumer activism to the table and hope that this report can be used as another tool to challenge raptor persecution.

    On the Ethical Consumer website we've set a forum up and would love any comments, or thoughts, on the report or on a consumer campaign: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/discuss/forums/aft/238.aspx

    It's wonderful to see the heat being turned up on this issue, at Ethical Consumer we hope that this report reaches out to people who're not aware of this issue and who may never have seen a hen harrier or a red kite or a peregrine. (Yet!) We want to support the amazing work being done by the RSPB, and conservationists around the UK, to help us all to fight raptor persecution.

    Personally, I've been lucky to see a hen harrier once. I'd love to see more whirling around in the uplands sky and hope that we can see a recovery of this species.

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  7. Mark really well done with all your criticism of Driven Grouse shooting.Think you should not be too humble to take major credit of all that is now happening and I am so pleased at the RSPB now coming on the scene.Of course Chris Packham's support valuable too,well done C P.
    First time I have felt there is hope for England's Hen Harriers and that is a nice feeling.

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  8. It is a really first class overview which widens the perspective on the grouse problem in a way that conservation bodies probably cannot. It begins to address the power structures, political and economic, which sustain criminal and unsustainable practices and a boycott provides a practical challenge to their power. Land reform in Scotland is another alternative context for widening the challenge. The RSPB has done great work over decades in leading opposition to raptor persecution and recently in challenging the sustainability of grouse shooting, but its leadership of the issue tends to narrow the pitch to bird enthusiasts, some of whom can't see the wood for the trees as a few responses here to the Report tend to illustrate.

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