Open letter to Marc Bolland of M&S

imagesDear Marc

Congratulations on your increased profits and increased share price!  It can’t all be due to customers flocking back to you after your decision not to sell grouse meat last year, but I have certainly been doing my bit to increase your profits. Your wise decision not to sell grouse meat in your stores, due to the doubts over the sustainability of its production, is mentioned in my forthcoming book Inglorious – conflict in the uplands which will be out on 30 July.

My reason for writing is to ask you for an update on your plans on selling grouse meat this year.

Here, in return, is an update from me. Since you decided, so wisely, not to sell grouse meat in your stores:

  • governments, including the EU (and including the UK) decided to phase out lead ammunition – to the best of my knowledge there are no grouse shot in the UK with non-toxic ammunition. Grouse meat can be expected to contain high levels of lead.  Wea re awaiting the UK government’s plan on this subject.
  • the first Hen Harrier Day was held with rallies at four sites across the UK, involving hundreds of people, to protest against the illegal killing of Hen Harriers by grouse shooting interests in the UK – more such rallies are planned for this year.
  • Selfridges also decided not to sell grouse meat in their food hall
  • 22,400 people signed an e-petition on the government website calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting, making it one of the top 0.5% most-signed e-petitions on that site ever
  • The Green Party says that it will ban driven grouse shooting if it ever gets the chance!
  • the Labour Party plans to review the impacts of shooting on the environment
  • a study from Leeds University showed that intensive grouse moor management leads to increased flood risk (and therefore higher house insurance costs), water pollution (and therefore increased water bills) and increased greenhouse gas emissions. therefore the evidence for lack of sustainability for grouse production has grown since you made your very sensible decision.
  • the RSPB has called for licensing of driven grouse shooting
  • the UK government is still struggling to deal with a complaint to the EU over the protection of blanket bog habitat from damage from over-burning by grouse shooting estates

All in all, your decision not to sell grouse meat looks a good one as you would be facing increased criticism on all these grounds had you gone ahead. I believe your decision was for a year, and so you will no doubt be having a think about these matters again now. What are your thoughts, please?


5 Replies to “Open letter to Marc Bolland of M&S”

  1. I for one think of this decision when I go into M&S – and it loosens my purse, to the dismay of moth biodiversity !

  2. & ditto Roderick.

    It’s only when we tell corporates what, why etc. that they will take notice? When bottom lines and margins are impacted then they might begin to listen?

    All we need to do now is make the politicians listen as well? The pathetic petty politics is a serious turn off at the moment, will we see any improvement in the playground that might persuade us to vote?

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