No ammunition

Keith Evans [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Keith Evans [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
You have to wonder whether the shooting community’s heart is in it. Maybe they are just about ready to concede defeat over driven grouse shooting.  Maybe they’ve all secretly signed up to a ban on driven grouse shooting and will be happy to see the end of their pointless sport – if you agree with them on that then please sign here.

This so-called popular sport, with its so-called financial benefits for the country, and its so-called benefits for nature conservation, can’t find a single land owner to speak up for it in a debate at the Bird Fair. Not one! Nor a member of staff from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Nor the Director of the Moorland Association! They can’t all be on holiday surely? And they can’t all be blasting away at Red Grouse that day surely? It seems that the intensive grouse shooting industry is too ashamed to show its face in public.  Poor show, poor show. Maybe they just don’t have the ammunition.

And Philip Merricks was too shy to speak up for the brood-meddling scheme as part of a long and glorious future for driven grouse shooting too.

And the Defra minister, Rory Stewart, perhaps with an eye to a reshuffle after the Conservative Party chooses its new leader and our Prime Minister, has also turned down the opportunity to explain Defra’s position to the electorate – or at least the bit of the electorate that use binoculars for watching birds.

Well, well, well!

Well, well, well!

Who’d have thought that?

I’ve just got off the phone from talking to Tim Appleton about all this and we said we’d go ahead with a  Q&A on the ‘Future of grouse shooting’ so you will still have the chance to see Natalie Bennett (the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales) and a representative from the shooting community (who I hope will still think it worth coming) and myself and perhaps, someone from the RSPB, on the day.  So come to the Bird Fair on Friday afternoon with your questions and see how we all perform!  But if you are a grouse shooter and ask a question, you might get a seat on the panel – be warned!

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13 Replies to “No ammunition”

  1. I really think that the grouse shooting community aren't taking you seriously Mark.
    Rather than quaking in their tweed outfits I imagine they feel immune from all the latest criticism of their activities.
    Or maybe they're all hiding in their butts, hoping the fuss will go away in time; those large tracts of moorland are a great escape from reality so no one will bother them up there.
    The UK establishment, and connection to Royalty, is surely their trump card. Tradition rules ok for them.
    High on the UK's uplands murder goes on untouched.

    1. I agree with you Andy. IMO this is why we need those 100,000 signatures. I am just waiting for the weasel words(no slight to real weasels intended) to come from DEFRA when confronted with needing to avoid having it discussed in parliament by their shooting chums. Then we will really see how the land lies. Until then the killers for fun will just keep quiet and ignore you.

      1. No problems Mick. Each to their own views. I'm just telling it from the way I see it.
        Let's face it - there's nowt but negativity when it comes to the subject of raptor persecution.
        I really hope that a positive outcome will result from Mark's petition. Until that time much butt kicking needs to be done.

  2. Just wondering who else was on the invite list ....

    Harry - or perhaps his elder brother who we read is keen on saving endangered species?

    Liam, son of beefy the frontman for YFTB?

    Representative from Defra to promote the HH Action Plan?

    An economist prepared to present and debate the financial case for the sport?

    Seriously, I find it astonishing that no one appears prepared to promote the sport which purports to deliver land management practice, funded through the public purse, which provides public benefit as well as wildlife conservation. Seriously, I would genuinely like to hear facts from their peer reviewed science etc.

    Are they judging by their own standards, such as those witnessed recently by 'politicians' who are now unaccountable for erroneous statements? It would do 'us' disservice if we were to be rude to them, truthful robust science will win the day?

  3. The standard response by the shooting lobby to any well planned, truthful and accurate attack on their "sport" - such as the many damning government and NGO reports on raptor persecution - is to go quiet. When everyone in the media and public has moved on to the next issue, they come out with some attack on an irrelevant section of the report/supposed failure on the part of the investigators in an attempt to rally support amongst their dwindling fellow shooters...and totally ignore the real factual evidence...

    Mark, you should take this refusal to appear as a major success....but wait for some ridiculous attack in a couple of weeks...

    1. Dave - I doubt it will take that long! But we are on a roll with the e-petition; rolling down hill to 100,000 signatures.

  4. Mark, You say perhaps someone from the RSPB. I do hope they take part as this would be an ideal opportunity for them to explain about licensing as one means of changing the future look of grouse shooting. As we approach a hoped for 100,000 it is important that all interested parties look to the next step.

  5. Perhaps you could pop along to the Countryfile Live Show at Blenheim 4-7/08 and stage the debate there. After all, to nobody's surprise I'm sure, the National Gamekeepers' Association has a stand there.

      1. Good. Please keep a close eye on Henry and make sure doesn't inexplicably go AWOL as male Hen Harriers seem prone to do these days ....


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