And yet more…

IMG_2630In today’s Guardian there is a long piece, ‘a long read’ piece, by the admirable Patrick Barkham on the subject of grouse shooting and Hen Harrier shooting too.  In it, I am described as ‘intense and  fiercely intelligent’ which I just point out to show how wide of the mark journalists sometimes can be.

It’s a good read.

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4 Replies to “And yet more…”

  1. Last years two hen harrier nests located by walkers, I find that claim very very suspicious indeed. In the 47 years I have walked the Bowland fells such a coincidence has never been known to me. Finding one site perhaps by accident, but then coming across a second site a distance of two miles from the first, very doubtful. Did the walkers have permits I wonder?

  2. (“A landowner is not going to encourage them to settle,” added Anderson. She suggested that hen harriers could be easily scared off. “They are very flighty birds.”)

    This does sound like that the stated position of the MA is 'Don't let them breed'.

    Accepting that not everything a journalist reports is totally accurate, the director of the Moorland Association appears to be saying here that it is OK to disturb hen harriers (A schedule 1 Species). Really!

  3. I understand that Patrick Barkham wanted to focus on one species, but feel that he could have included more on how land is abused to produce record numbers of red grouse. Citing the Leeds Study and perhaps expanding more on the amount of mammal killing that goes on, although Mark does mention it, would contradict even more the claims that driven grouse shooting is good for the environment. These heather moors are not “wild landscapes”, but monocultures that are devoid of life and natural processes.

    It also seems that the the Moorland Association is downplaying the amount of public money that goes into these places, as they claim that “just 10% of moor owners’ £52.5m annual spend on land management comes from government subsidies – the rest is private money, brought in by grouse”.

    These figures are somewhat different to those mentioned in Animal Aid’s 2013 report “Calling The Shots" (, as they write -

    “The two principal sources of public money are what are known as the Single Payment Scheme and the Environmental Stewardship programme (ES). Assessing precisely what shoot operators receive via these two routes is virtually impossible because the payment agencies do not keep sufficiently detailed records. However, in response to an Animal Aid Freedom of Information request, Natural England acknowledged that, in the financial year 2012-13, ES subsidies paid out in relation to land on which grouse shooting takes place totalled £17,308,297. This is up from just £89,848 in 2008-09. The massive increase is explained, claims NE, by the tap being turned off on other schemes and the money being rechannelled via ES.

    In addition, research undertaken by a national newspaper journalist (unpublished as this report goes to press) indicates that a further roughly £20m is paid out, in relation to England alone, through the Single Payment Scheme. An unknown proportion of the money from both these subsidy programmes goes to moorland graziers who are often tenants of the shoot operators”.

  4. "You’d have to be pretty naive to say a gamekeeper has never killed a bird of prey..."

    Interesting comment from a man who runs a grouse syndicate. He seems to be saying that all gamekeepers are criminals.


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