Gems from the written evidence 7 – the grouse moor owners, manager, gamekeepers

It may not come as a surprise that those engaged in grouse shooting do not want any change to their hobby, sport or business. Here are some examples:

Dawnay Estates, North York Moors:

  • any introduction of further regulation or laws does not seem to serve any useful purpose

Weardale Estates:

  • The law on grouse shooting should not be changed.

Walshaw Moor Estate:

  • Grouse Shooting has an enormous positive effect on the wildlife and the environment and should therefore continue for many generations.

Mark Hancock:

  • Without grouse shooting … the moor … would stop being managed and would return to the desolate place it was before…

Mark Cunliffe-Lister:

  • I strongly urge that grouse shooting continues as it produces a wonderful balanced environment through the use of private funds, which would require a great deal more public funds to maintain if it didn’t exist.

Swinton Estate:

  • I strongly urge that grouse shooting continues as its demise would not only be devastating to my team and myself but to the British Countryside and way of life in rural areas

National Gamekeepers’ Organisation:

  • Please leave it alone and let grouse keepers get on with their important jobs, to the benefit of our very special uplands and everyone who enjoys them.

Knarsdale Estate:

  • If there was no driven shooting the land would go back to sheep farming.

Egton Estate:

  • I believe the answer is no and that the legislation surrounding the management of moors for grouse shooting is, if anything, already over regulated. There is no evidence I am aware of to justify any change to the existing laws and regulations.


There are other pieces of evidence from grouse moors and I’m sure there will be more to come. At least two things are noticeable;

  1. None of these pieces of evidence wants to see anything change at all. Nothing! By ignoring the evidence and the science it is possible to pretend that there are no issues that need to be addressed – a hobby/industry/sport which sees no reason for anything to change cannot be respected.
  2. We are lacking the moving stories of how much the moor owners love raptors and do everything they can to look after them. There are no accounts of how their moors fared when they were lucky enough to have Hen Harriers, Peregrines and Goshawks nesting on them. I wonder why that is? Just asking…


You could write to your MP about the debate on driven grouse shooting today (see here).

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16 Replies to “Gems from the written evidence 7 – the grouse moor owners, manager, gamekeepers”

  1. I note that we have more Ostriches in upland Britain that I might have imagined. Certainly more than Hen Harriers, that’s for sure!

  2. Delighted to see that the Campaign for National Parks has submitted a challenged to selective reporting by the grousers (see GR00531). The arrogance ……

    If that isn’t a demonstration of subjective reporting then what else is hidden amongst the 460 or so submissions?

    Rather like the ‘no Hen Harriers in Wales’ error it raises the question should their submission be dis-guarded because of unreliable ‘evidence’?

  3. As the man from Weardale Estates says: “The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects wild birds, including grouse and their eggs. Predatory birds may only be taken or killed under licence from the Secretary of State.”

    Funny how in spite of that predatory birds keep getting bumped off on and around the grouse moors. Seems like an argument to shut them down…

    Having said that, the contribution grouse shooting makes to the strength of the local cricket team (Mark Hancock) does give one pause for thought!

  4. I see that Keith Cowieson is claiming that under continental law a man is considered guilty until proved innocent – that will come as news to the French:

    (“Toute personne suspectée ou poursuivie est présumée innocente tant que sa culpabilité n’a pas été établie. Les atteintes à sa présomption d’innocence sont prévenues, réparées et réprimées dans les conditions prévues par la loi.”

    & (jurors’ oath):

    ” Le président adresse aux jurés, debout et découverts, le discours suivant : “Vous jurez et promettez d’examiner avec l’attention la plus scrupuleuse les charges qui seront portées contre X…, de ne trahir ni les intérêts de l’accusé, ni ceux de la société qui l’accuse, ni ceux de la victime ; de ne communiquer avec personne jusqu’après votre déclaration ; de n’écouter ni la haine ou la méchanceté, ni la crainte ou l’affection ; de vous rappeler que l’accusé est présumé innocent et que le doute doit lui profiter ; de vous décider d’après les charges et les moyens de défense, suivant votre conscience et votre intime conviction, avec l’impartialité et la fermeté qui conviennent à un homme probe et libre, et de conserver le secret des délibérations, même après la cessation de vos fonctions”.

    Chacun des jurés, appelé individuellement par le président, répond en levant la main : “Je le jure”.” [Code de procédure pénale ]).

    How can we believe people who make stuff up?

  5. So Mark Hancock thinks that without being managed fro grouse “the moor … would stop being managed and would return to the desolate place it was before…”. I’ve been to a few desolate places in my time & they often turn out to be rather good for a variety of birds …..

  6. Have you read the comments from the Swaledale Estate? A breath of fresh air surrounded by the stagnant oppression of the grouse moors of the Yorkshire Dales.

    Also, Steve Carver has some interesting points to make on the effects of intensive grouse numbers and gamekeeping.

    Excellent additional written evidence, Mark. Thanks for your ongoing hard work!

  7. “Shooting is a recognized part of the grouse life cycle.” Well thanks for that reverend Hoare, I never knew. Maybe we should rewrite all books on avian biology. To be honest I also never really understood that “conservation” actually involves killing as many things as possible. Maybe we should rewrite the dictionaries as well while we are at it.

  8. Apologies for more questions, but “just wondering” ….

    HoC Petitions Guidelines lay out quite clearly what they expected from submissions, so why is it that many of the proDGS have simply offered subjective or selective unsubstantiated ‘evidence’?

    From the heart of a local beater or even a junior keeper fair enough but DPhil Oxford Uni ? In 23 paras. there are a mere three, yes 3 references cited! In fairness this isn’t the only gem, CA have selective misreported and been held to account for it by a follow up submission. Back to the other 470+ 😉

    HoC risk credibility if they don’t address this kind of ‘evidence’?

    1. If all the written “evidence” that is anecdote, opinion, selective, incorrect, simplistic, unsubstantiated or biased were excluded very few submissions would remain. At all.

  9. I know it’s a serious matter but you’ve just got to laugh at some of the ridiculous remarks from the grouse shooting fraternity. The problem is I think these people actually believe all rubbish they come out with. I wonder what they think the moors were like before they came along to “improve” them.

  10. Clever. The NGO includes the sentence; ‘The common predators grouse keepers need to control have protection too.’ Er, no they don’t. They only have regulations about how they may killed. Also note the phrase ‘need to control’. Only if your sole aim in life is to have a grouse farm. To be fair, they do then mention that ‘Birds of prey are protected, some of them with special penalties.’ It may well be news to many of their members that birds of prey are protected and it would certainly be news to us if any of the special penalties were ever invoked.

  11. All this beneficial moorland management going on and yet none of them seem to have any Hen Harriers, Peregrine or Goshawk! A couple mention Merlin (don’t eat Grouse) and one has SEO (don’t eat Grouse) – funny that!

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