Grouse moor owners are receiving massive handouts from taxpayers on land used for the hobby of grouse shooting, reveals a study by Friends of the Earth in today’s Guardian.
It won’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog that the future of grouse shooting is being debated by MPs in Westminster Hall on Monday thanks to our e-petition which calls for a ban on driven grouse shooting. This newspaper coverage will increase pressure on Defra to announce its intention to reform the whole nasty business of driven grouse shooting.
Shooting large numbers of Red Grouse for fun is a hobby which depends on intensive management of the uplands such as predator control and widespread burning of heather, as well as the widespread and systematic illegal killing of birds of prey. Your taxes are helping to fund this sport despite the evidence that heather burning increases flood risk, water treatment costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
No doubt some MPs will attempt to make the case on Monday that grouse shooting brings in money to local communities – and we know that those claims are greatly exaggerated. But they pale into insignificance besides the costs imposed on the rest of society. And the rest of us are paying millions of pounds a year, in an age of austerity, so that some of the richest in the country can continue shooting birds for fun.