Rules replies

This is the quite astounding response from Rules restaurant to my email which I shared with you this morning:

Dear Dr Avery
Thank you for your e-mail.
Rules does not obtain any of it’s (sic) Game from the Lartington Estate.
Any further enquiries regarding Game should be placed in the hands of The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust at or the Game Conservancy Trust at
Yours sincerely
Well, that’s quite surprising, I’d say. A restaurant won’t comment on the quality of the game meat it supplies to its customers  – when asked by one of those customers.  Rules has no comment to make on the science that suggests that around 50% of game meals would be expected to have levels of a poison, lead, that would be illegal in beef (my steak was delicious!), pork, etc.  Rules appears to have no interest in learning more about lead levels in game meat – despite selling such meat to the public as part of its business. Rules has nothing to say to its customers or the public on this issue.
Instead, this distinguished restaurant, the oldest in London, suggests that its customers contact the GWCT.
OK, I will. But I might rate Rules rather low on Trip Advisor too.
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38 Replies to “Rules replies”

  1. It's like having a dog and barking yourself as my great aunt would say. They have an estate and yet they don't obtain any Game from it for use in the restaurant? Then why say otherwise on their website?
    "Rules is fortunate in owning an Estate, Rules at Lartington Hall Park in the High Pennines, “England’s last wilderness”. Through its ownership of Lartington, Rules is able to source the highest quality game, exercising its own quality controls and determining the best way to serve Game, for instance the best hanging time to produce the best flavour."


  2. This is an appalling response and I worked in London fine dining for a decade.

    They specialise in game for goodness sake! Very poor.

  3. This unfortunately is the usual response of many in and associated with "the game industry"--- put your head in the sand (or somewhere less salubrious) and/or pass the buck and the problem will go away.
    Well we've news for them IT WON'T!
    I'd not eat there again Mark and I'd encourage the rest of the world to follow suit.

    1. Did I spot Amanita muscaria in their mushroom / fungi basket? I'd be interested to learn what they use that in?

      Do they get Rudolph to sort the toxins before they feed it to diners?

      Interesting they describe game as healthy yet make no mention of lead shot or the medicated grit. Ostriches spring to mind ....

      Perhaps one WildlifeCrimeAware's posters should be photographed at Lartington?

      So is GWCT now dealing in game or just acting as PR for Rules / Larthington Hall Estate?

      Looking forward to "Inglorious" & keep up the excellent expose of the practice(s).

  4. I thought that traceability was everything these days.... oh well it looks like any old grouse will do. I think you should copy the e-mail exchange to environmental health and ask them to have a look into the potential lead risk.....

  5. So, Rules don't care about their customers, they don't care about their estate, they don't care about the environmental impact of Grouse shooting, they don't dont care about where their Grouse comes from, they don't care about lying on their website, they don't care about wildlife crime, seems to me that's they are well and truly part of the shooting establishment and follow its RULES of 'we don't have to answer your questions' because we have our own rules, money first every time.

    1. Rules are the new Hawk and Owl Trust! Whose next up I wonder? Our hatred of them can only last so long.

      1. I doubt if it's hatred we feel; more like despair.

        And is it not legitimate to criticise such appalling arrogance?

      2. Giles, Mark's email to Rules was perfectly civil and raised reasonable points. Presumably you only approve of positive feedback - we should all remain loyal and subservient? Is that the expectation of Rules when they invite customer feedback?

        Regarding the Hawk and Owl Trust: is their brood management scheme beyond reproach? Is no-one allowed to question its efficacy?

        1. I'm sure not but tbh the white hat , black hat business just gets a bit wearying after a while.

          And as for Rules, Mark Avery clearly despises everything they stand for and wants to ruin a large part of heir business so the fact they are a little short with him isn't particularly surprising.

          Maybe Tim Bonner should write a snotty email to Cranks and see what they say?

          1. giles - what a very silly comment.

            I don't despise everything that Rules stands for - what does it stand for, by the way? I'm not impressed by its customer care though.

            How might a switch to non-toxic ammunition and a banning of driven grouse shooting ruin their business? If that's what you meant.

            Tim Bonner could certainly do that - of that I have little doubt.

          2. well Game I'd have thought? and assuming their estate is a driven grouse moor you are clearly trying to ruin that part of their business - which of course you are entitled to.

            Mark maybe answer me a question - why do you support a ban on driven Grouse Shooting and yet support LACS who vehemently support driven deer having to be shot?

            Can you not see a slight contradiction there?

            If I shot the deer I flush with non lead ammo would it make any odds?

            It's not just Rules it just seems your blog has gone rather downhill and become a parade of people to be got at - but hey ho not to worry.

          3. giles - you don't have to read it and you don't have to comment on it. Can you not see a slight contradiction there?

          4. Oh so sorry I assumed your negativity was intended to promote negativity

          5. Personally, Giles, I enjoy eating game, and would be delighted if Rules managed to source lead-free game and source its game from harrier-friendly grouse moors. I'm sure that's possible, with a bit of effort. And if such a well-known establishment could lead such an initiative, perhaps others might follow. Do you feel that's impossible - ruinous in fact?

        2. Hi Steve I was referring to their grouse moor - assuming it is a grouse moor - I'm all for grouse shooting being allowed as long as it doesn't involve raptor persecution or unacceptable levels of damage to the environment. I'm sure it isn't perfect environmentally but then again let's face it a lot of things aren't such as the way we wipe baby's bottoms or the millions of animals we mow down with cars every year but we don't ban these things.

          1. giles - they don't, it seems, use their own grouse in their own kitchen, yet they 'big up' their estate on their website. Bit strange?

          2. Had some lurcher caught rabbit at the village hall the other night that is lead free

          3. Have no idea wrt estate maybe no grouse shooting atm maybe website is out of date?

  6. Appalling response. A lot more mileage in this I think.

    However I (as no doubt many of you have) had a look round their website and came across the following.....'In recent times income has been very low because the foot-and-mouth crisis restricted access to the Countryside.'

    I'll let you make your own judgements on that.

  7. I went out for a family lunch today to celebrate a clutch of March birthdays. It was a most enjoyable occasion and I didn't allow it to be spoiled by the warning at the bottom of the menu - yes I do realise that game may contain shot and in fact I was disappointed that my rather small but tasty portion of New Forest Wild Boar didn't contain any. I didn't spoil the meal by asking how many portions of New Forest Wild Boar with or without lead shot I would have to eat before I got near the LD50 but I'm guessing I will die destitute, of heart disease or in a traffic accident long before that could happen even if I could afford it. I also didn't ask how many diners had succumbed to lead poisoning in the past. I also didn't ask whether rats, badgers, foxes or deer had pissed on the ramsons or baby leeks freshly picked from the kitchen garden and what the chances were of me dying from Weil's Disease or TB. Nor did I enquire as to the level of norovirus lurking in the Fowey mussels that were on offer - despite the still-fresh memory of the hours of nausea and retching after that visit to Lostwithiel years ago when I wished I was already dead. Nor did I enquire how many bedwetters had been involved in hotel elecatric blanket-related fatalities. I did however venture to correct their spelling of Ransoms (sic) and Winter Savoury (sic) whereupon Dearly Beloved Mrs C gave me one of her looks.

    1. Pedants should never find shot in wild boar meat, they can only be legally killed with a solid slug (from a shotgun) or a bullet. Both require the user to have a firearms certificate.

      I do think that the repeated reference to lead levels in game to be disingenuous. It appears to be just another bit of bitchiness which actually distracts from the core issues of the moral and legal wrongdoing in harrier genocide. I'm sure many that mention the issue of lead levels don't raise concerns over other toxin levels in their daily food intake so vociferously.

      1. MartinWW - that's uncharacteristically mean-minded of you. Lead in food is not a trivial issue. It's not a non-issue. It is an issue. And the game industry wants to promote game meat as a healthy food whilst ignoring the levels of poison in that meat. Levels of poison that affect wildlife too and which are easily avoided by using non-toxic ammunition (as do many shooters elsewhere in the world). I've been involved in this issue for about 15 years or more, so please don't question my genuine concern on the subject.

      2. MArtinWW - lead contamination applies to bullets as well as shot (unless non-toxic ammunition is used) - ask any California Condor. You don't quite understand this subject do you?

        1. I was not trying to be mean minded. I totally agree we need to be aware of lead levels and other toxins in the foods we eat. It just seems at this moment in time some people who are against ar against aspects of (myself included) of the shooting industry will latch onto any bit of news with which to attack said industry. It can be easily argued and often is that anyone who eats game is aware it was shot with lead (or similar) and that eating such food carries risk either through contact with shot or its toxins. Consuming game is optional, sadly the effects of lead in the environment are not.

          As for questioning your concern on the subject, i would have had to be oblivious to you and your writings over the years to believe you are not concerned. Hence my use of the word "many". And whilst we are on the subject I was involved when lead shot got banned in small fishing weights which was much longer than 15 years ago, so this isn't a new concern for me either, sadly I didn't know any Californian Condors to share my concerns with.

          As for not understanding the subject, yes I believe I do. I prefaced my original comment with a light hearted mention of pedantry in response to Filbert's wife and the spelling of Ransoms. As someone who shoots rifles more than shotguns I am completely aware of the behaviour of lead and coppers projectiles within muscle tissue, it's called friability.

      3. "you should never find shot in wild boar meat"

        I know that. Yesterday's menu was already as long as the Magna Carta so a comprehensive essay on the unnatural distribution of metallic lead in the environment would have made it rather unwieldy.

        But you clearly understand the meaning of "disingenuous"

  8. Mark, from their response, or should I say lack of, it is clearly evident that you rattled their cage. It makes no sense whatsoever to respond in that way. None of us believe any of it. Of course they use meat from their estate. Doh!


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