Four weeks to go

1408 p001 cover_with comp v2.inddIn the eight months since I launched an e-petition on the government website to ban driven grouse shooting I have become more and more convinced that it is the right thing to do – and even that it is inevitable.

Standing just short of 21,000 signatures, this e-petition now has four weeks to gather a bit more support. Please tweet it, send it to friends and sign it yourself if you agree with it. Every signature sends a stronger message to the next government to act on this subject.

Since May, the grouse-shooting industry has shown itself to be intransigent and has turned down a generous offer from the RSPB in the Hen Harrier sub-group to adopt brood management once Hen Harrier populations recover from their parlous current state.

Since May, an authoritative study has demonstrated that the management of grouse moors leads to water discolouration (pushing up water bills), increases greenhouse gas emissions, may increase flood risk and results in losses of aquatic invertebrates,

IMG_2604Since May, another authoritative report has rubbished the claims of economic benefits of grouse shooting.

Since May, hundreds of people demonstrated on Hen Harrier Day to publicise the plight of the Hen Harrier – reduced in numbers to fewer than a handful of pairs in England when the science says there should be 330+ pairs according to the available habitat.

Since May, M&S reversed their decision to sell grouse in two of their London stores because they felt unable to speak for its sustainable production.

Since May, the RSPB has called for the licensing of grouse moors in a hardening of its attitude (although licensing won’t  work – but if you think it will then signing this e-petition makes licensing more likely too).

IMG_2638Since May, Ethical Consumer magazine called for a boycott of businesses associated with grouse shooting.

Since May, Lush cosmetics’ customers signed over 20,000 postcards which were delivered to Buckingham Palace in the autumn.

Since May, Sky and Hope went missing.

Since May, Birdwatch, British Wildlife and Nature’s Voice magazines have featured Hen Harriers on their covers – the debate has so grabbed the imagination.

Since May, there has been a Rally for Nature which highlighted the issue of wildlife crime.

Be part of this movement for change – please sign this e-petition calling for the banning of driven grouse shooting now.

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12 Replies to “Four weeks to go”

  1. Four weeks to go till the epetition closes. It's been brilliant the way that it's really caught attention when there are so many other epetitions about - the Moorland Association, Countryside Alliance, National Gamekeepers Organisation, BASC, GWCT and Scottish Gamekeepers Association have all spoken about it so it's obviously got them worried and put a few backs up. Well Done Mark! The fear is that for those not in the know about driven grouse shooting it might seem like a very marginal, esoteric subject - possibly they'd only think of banning it in terms of being a blood sport.

    However, as we know grouse moors are terrible for birds of prey, reduced bio-diversity, higher water treatment charges, carbon emissions and a generally denuded and devastated upland environment..oh and possibly for flooding too. So for what it is it's incredibly relevant to a hell of a lot of people. The bigger orgs need to get behind the campaign - at least raise awareness if not actively endorse, but really should do the latter as well.

    I've emailed Greenpeace UK, the Scottish Green Party and Friends of the Earth Scotland to ask if they could raise awareness amongst their members (sure Mark would endorse this approach?) which could get an awful lot of signatures. So far only FoE Scotland has got back and the employee who replied said whilst sympathetic they only really campaign on carbon emissions as if we don't conquer climate change nothing else will matter (that's the jist) - frustrating and silly!

    However, even this late in the day if one of these orgs got behind the epetition could be several thousand signatures up practically overnight (Greenpeace recently ran a very successful ecampaign to stop Santander financing a company turning rainforest into paper plantations). Consider what we know about the grouse moors - the illegal and legal slaughter of wildlife, the disgraceful shenanigans at Walshaw Moor and other examples of the old boy network, and the scientific and economic reports that debunk the claims of the grouse moor owners - then their support would be warranted, could you go as far as saying expected?.

    If you are a member of any organisation that has interests relevant to grouse moors (a lot do, even angling clubs, muir burn leads to sedimentation in water courses) may be an idea to contact them with some references to the damage driven grouse shooting does and ask them to encourage their members to sign the epetition. If a couple of dozen people email Greenpeace UK etc about this could tip them over to sending out a request to thousands of their UK members. The UK Green parties have a combined membership over 50,000 now so they can't all have signed. They don't like shooting and the other issues are a clincher they just need some background info which their respective head offices could supply - at very least 29,000 potential new signees. Time is becoming short and perhaps this is best option for getting numbers up now?

    The Tweed set will be keeping an eye on the epetition obviously and wouldn't it be great to give them a hell of a fright with a last minute surge - repayment for all the condescending and arrogant tripe they've dished out as a substitute for intelligent and honest discussion! The more I know the more steam comes out of my ears and I find when other people get a fuller picture they share my disgust, we've currently got something to express that with thanks to Mark.

    1. Les, I have emailed Caroline Allen at the Green Party - she has now replied that the petition is being shared and will continue to be.

      She hasn't yet responded to my request to contact Scottish Greens, to see if they will support it.
      I hope be at party conference (England & Wales) this weekend and if so shall be passing a link to the petition on to whomsoever I can pester.

      1. Thanks still waiting for Scottish Greens to get back to me, when they do hope they'll contact English Green Party and say how important it is to support this. The epetition should be priority - pretty big proportion of uplands affected and lots of damage done just to shoot some birds!

  2. I find it strange that when grouse shooting took off ( after the railways gave easy accses to the moors) the bags were massive, and there had not been any ' protection' of the grouse before then! The persecution must be stopped.

  3. Ploughing and planting conifers on fragile upland soils leads to water discolouration (pushing up water bills), increases greenhouse gas emissions, may increase flood risk and results in losses of acquatic invertebrates.

    1. No Pete you're thinking of muirburn, Leeds university's EMBER report makes that clear and gave the Moorland Association a very red face indeed. More natural woodland on the uplands would be so much better, some shade from trees and even dead wood in streams would be excellent in creating food and habitat for invertebrates and fish.

      1. Indeed. However, if you lose the heather moorland you will end up with conifers and windfarms. No doubt about it.

        1. Pete - no doubt about it? Nonsense! A scare story put about by shooters. In a National Park? In an SPA? In an SAC? In an SSSI?

          1. Money rules unfortunately. Forestry and windfarms are so favoured by tax breaks and subsidy that it is impossible to resist their onward march.

            P.S. I am not a 'shooter'.

            P.P.S. Pleased to see you agree that heather moorland is so wonderful that it is worthy of SSSI etc designation. However the land use economics are marginal.

          2. Pete - no it isn't. How many windfarms are in SPAs? How much new forestry has there been in England (which is the subject of the e-petition, remember) in the last 20 years? You are just trotting out the inaccurate scare stories of the shooting industry.

  4. An interesting blog - especially for the mobilisation of people against mark's position - is this the largest number of dislikes yet ? It is good to know the other side are reading it - they might learn something, or even realise their arguments aren't working.

    The various comments about the future of the uplands have a point - but rather than conifers and windfarms, what about the obvious alternative of intensive sheep farming turning heather to grass ? What surprises me after all the conflict - to a large extent justified - over upland conifer planting up to the 1980s is that we hear almost nothing about what is happening to upland birds - but the facts show that even in the absence of forestry the declines continue apace - just 30 pairs of Golden Plover left in the Welsh uplands described by George Monbiot as a wet desert. So the Raptors die on the Grouse moors and all the other moorland birds off them. Time for some new thinking perhaps ? Maybe Inglorious will show the way ?


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