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!