48,000 – put the guns down, walk away from the guns!


Today our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting reached 48,000 signatures.

Thank you to all of you who have signed, asked your friends and relatives to sign, supported the promotion of the e-petition financially and helped in many other ways.

There has been quite a surge in signatures from Scotland recently and a bit of a surge, let’s call it a mini-surge, in Labour seats too. If all Westminster parliamentary constituencies were Conservative or SNP seats, and behaved like the current ones, then I would be very confident that we would reach the 100,000 signatures by 20 September. As it is, I am hopeful and optimistic rather than confident. And I am excited by the prospect too.  There are lots of initiatives planned for the next 12 weeks and I am sure that we will keep up the momentum.

In May we passed five milestones (34,000, 35,000, 36,000, 37,000 and 38,000 signatures), and in June we passed nine (39,000, 40,000, 41,000, 42,000, 43,000, 44,000, 45,000, 46,000 and 47,000), and then today we passed 48,000 signatures.

48,000 signatures – that’s a lot of people.  That’s actually a lot more people than shoot grouse in the UK each year (according to industry figures). The grouse industry is rather coy about admitting how few people take part in shooting each year.  Taking all forms of grouse shooting together, there are perhaps 5,700 days of grouse shooting each year. It would be rather surprising if the number of guns involved in each shoot day were as high as eight which would make a total of c46,000 actual shooter-days. Now of course some people, quite a few, will shoot more than once a year and so the number of people involved in shooting grouse is much much smaller.  We already have more people who want them to put their guns down and walk away from the guns than are wielding the guns.

Next week I’ll be coming back to the subject of the economics of grouse shooting.

Shotgun killed red grouse - Lagopus lagopus scoticus - Scotland.
Shotgun killed red grouse – Lagopus lagopus scoticus – Scotland. scotlandbigpicture




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9 Replies to “48,000 – put the guns down, walk away from the guns!”

  1. Last Saturday, after attending the HH picnic at Grimwith, I walked down the main street in Appletreewick in the pouring rain putting the HH Yorks cards through some letterboxes (the easy ones!).
    As I made my way up the road, a lady came running out of a cottage shouting "Did you put this through my letterbox?". "Oh 'eck" I thought, "Am I in trouble?"
    She ran right up to me, came in close, I gulped, and then she said "Tell me all about it"
    It turned out she was really concerned and appalled about what was going on in the Dales but had never heard of you, Mark, or the petitions. So I explained briefly (she was getting soaked) and she took away a handful of cards to give out herself to friends and colleagues.
    So that has given me a lot of confidence. I don't find it easy to be a campaigner - that's why I hide behind a pseudonym, I suppose. But there are people out there who care and don't know how to protest and don't know about the blogs/petitions. I hope she is now reading your blog. Incidentally she was from Scotland originally. Thank goodness for the Scots!

    1. Well done Northern Diver. Many of us have been forced into campaigning and in whatever form that takes we all have a role and opportunities to make a difference and with the critical mass that has been galvanised by Mark, Packham, Oddie and others we have a community campaign that is and will deliver.

  2. Great Stuff Northern Diver,these are exactly the People we have been missing to get on board until now,take for example any Sreet ,how many People off that Street have heard of Hen Harriers,Mark Avery,s blog , BAWC,Raptor Politics,RPUK,NERF and the like,I bet you would be lucky if 2 or 3 would know about what's going on ! And most would be simply appalled by what is going on,on these Driven Grouse Shooting Estates !! I to was at the Grimwith Hen Harrier Picnic too,and Marks Leaflets and BAWC s Beer Mats are a Great way of informing the Public,it was great to see a good turnout also..

  3. As already pointed out by Mark on his Twitter feed; https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/mass-raptor-poisoning-in-wales-location-revealed/#comment-137689

    This could potentially be massive news; can the Green Man Festival go ahead when there is a poisoning risk to its customers and their pets? Can it go ahead at a site of massive ecological destruction and criminal activity? Everyone should get on this;

    Glanusk Estate: Jo Jones - jo@glanuskestate.com
    Green Man Festival: info@greenman.net
    Dyfed-Powys Police: ContactCentre@Dyfed-Powys.pnn.police.uk
    Local newspapers: http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/about/contact/contactnewsdesk.aspx
    BBC News: newsinvestigations@bbc.co.uk

  4. I've written to Jo Jones at Glanusk (along with Dyfed-Powys and the festival organisers) regarding the cancellation of the event, e.g. (to Jo Jones);

    ‘Hi. Just so you are fully aware of the potential risks to festival goers;


    Note Bendiocarb can be absorbed through the skin; any unaware person (say a child) who handles poisoned items is clearly at severe risk. Will Glanusk Estate be cancelling the event in the interests of public safety, or will you, in full knowledge of the risks involved, be allowing the event to go ahead?’

  5. Response from Debbie Murray at Glanusk;

    'I would like to thank you for your email, we are aware of the facebook post and of course have responded with a statement on social media, the wording is given below:

    “Glanusk Statement 1st July 2016

    The Estate co-operated with the Police and Welsh Government during the investigation into the death of raptors in 2012. These incidents of wildlife crime are totally unacceptable. The CPS was unfortunately unable to take the case forward due to lack of evidence.

    Dyfed Powys Police Statement

    “Dyfed Powys Police take allegations of wildlife crime very seriously and investigates all incidents reported to us. Following information received in 2012 and 2013, relating to the deaths of raptors in Powys, a full investigation was carried out in partnership with the RSPB, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Wildlife Management Team in the Welsh Government. During the investigation a number of search warrants under the Wildlife and Countryside Act were executed and two people were arrested in connection with the incidents. A file of evidence was subsequently submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service who advised that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.” “

    I can assure you that we take any matter of animal welfare seriously and we have extensive health and safety measures in place for all of the activities, land and property that we engage with/own.

    The alleged poisoning has been said to have been located on land outside of the Glanusk Park where our events take place and there is no risk at all to animals or humans. We enlist an external consultant to provide risk assessments and health and safety advice and again to reiterate any risk to any of our visitors is reviewed and treated with the utmost severity.

    Do let me know if I can help further.


    D Murray'

    To which I responded;

    'Hi Debbie. Can you confirm that the festival organisers were made aware of the potential risks and criminal activity in previous years? Can you also confirm that tests for Bendiocarb (and other poisons) have been made within the festival area? Can you name the 'external consultant' and state whether the results have been published/will be published? Can you also confirm whether or not the Head Keeper at Glanusk Estate, employed by Mark Coleman, is the same person previously convicted (for an unrelated offence) while working at Sufton Estate (please read the article), where 17 wildlife offences were confirmed to have been carried out (including the use of Bendiocarb) by a staff member he oversaw. If so, how would that tally with your statement 'I can assure you that we take any matter of animal welfare seriously'?'.

  6. Mark, as I don't 'tweet' and just have 8 friends on Fb ( I'm only on for the moths!), I can't reach a wider audience to tell about this. So, can I do the following without infringing copyright? I've filmed this item on a camcorder, and can put it on my Flickr. Even though I don't usually get a huge number of views, maybe it will reach a few new people who can pass it on?


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