Update on National Trust pro-grouse-shooting controversy

National Trust staff are responding badly to enquiries from their membership about why on earth they are seeking to recruit a new shooting tenant to 4000+ha of their upland landholding in the Peak District.

Having ousted their current tenant because of what could be called irreconcilable differences, probably over the future of birds of prey (but we are guessing here, of course), the National Trust has taken the unpopular course of action of advertising the vacant shooting tenancy. This might be seen as rubbing the nose of their outgoing shooting tenant, said to be Mark Osborne (100% track record – failure not an option – see p64 of Inglorious) in ‘it’, as it suggests that the NT is not against shooting birds for fun but is simply against Mark Osborne and the way he conducts his business in some way that this blog could only guess about.  By advertising the shooting rights, the NT may be protecting itself from any legal case from Mr Osborne that the parting of the ways has been in any way unfair.

However, NT staff are using phrases like ‘The Trust is a broad church (forever, for everyone).  One of our roles in the debate about how we manage our uplands is to seek to demonstrate how traditional land management can deliver nature conservation‘ which is news to me!  I’d have thought that the NT would be seeking to do things for the best, not going through contortions to attempt to demonstrate that the old, outmoded ways are best.  Will NT be attempting to demonstrate how slave labour has a place in modern British life?  I think not!  How about demonstrating the role of traditional fossil fuels in solving climate change? I think not!  You live in the past if you want to – but not with my rather extortionate membership fees, thank you.

Other quotes from NT staff are available and will appear here over the next few days – the offer of a guest blog to the NT to explain their position is still open. Copy deadline Thursday evening.


10 Replies to “Update on National Trust pro-grouse-shooting controversy”

  1. Whenever the NT is mentioned on Facebook I get an advert saying Mark Avery and some others of my FB friends “like the National Trust”. Time for a revision Mark?

    1. Richard – thank you. I quite like the NT, or at least I try hard to like them – but they keep making it difficult. I’ll loan them my ‘like’ for a while longer. Thank you for pointing it out before somebody less sympathetic did.

  2. Could the conservation organisations buy the shooting rights and then show how to turn a grouse moor into something better?

  3. Frankly NT are living in cloud cuckoo land if they think their “Moorland Vision” can survive and come to fruition with a DGS tenant on the moor. They will loose members. Perhaps we should ask how much the tenancy is then we will know how many memberships it will pay for.
    If they really think DGS is necessary why not employ the keepers directly and let the shooting out on a day to day basis, that way they have complete control of management.

    1. Ian – actually, that’s a very good idea. Wish I’d thought of that. Why don’t they if they really believe it is possible?

    2. How about a ‘shooting’ tenancy that offered photography days. I would welcome the opportunity to shoot mountain hares, raptors or even red grouse with my camera.

    3. Good idea. Here is a further (non blood sport) version for the NT

      (Incidentally I suppose having a tenant means the NT can keep its hands clean (of blood) and be one removed from the blood sport, so here is an alternative.)

      They could take it in house and provide ShotKams that take pictures along the barrel of the shotgun showing the accuracy and thus maintain all the tradition and palava and tweeds of the grouse shoot, even the smell of the cordite with blanks.

      They would not need to keeper the “vermin” for the odd extra grouse as there would not be the attrition of numbers of grouse as with a regular shoot. So you would not need to charge less for later shoots.

      You never know the NT might lead the way to a new approach!!

      In fact when you think about it it would make more sense as a commercial event without the need to kill, kill, kill. You can have more drives on a less productive moor.
      (disturbance aside.)

      I am sure the cameras could be modified to go “Hurrah Henry” or some such if you “shot” the grouse within the circle of the shot pattern. At present they are really a training aid.

      It would cost a bit but not more than a better shotgun.

  4. Not for ever and not for everyone is my motto. I resigned my family membership and have no regrets.

  5. Thanks to Nick Moyes for organising the petition and to everyone who signed especially the 1000 new signatures in the last week. I helped Nick hand over the petition today at Kedleston Hall. Andy Beer did not give much of a clue to what NT really want but it was clear that NT do not accept that systematic raptor persecution is a fundamental part of grouse moor management. Apparently the last tenant was inherited and now there is chance for a fresh start. This is at odds with the 2013 High Peak Vision launch which was, you guessed it, the fresh start. My own view is that NT do a lot of good work but on this issue they have got it utterly and completely wrong. I hope I am mistaken, but they seem unable to take the bold and correct decision to stop driven grouse shooting on their land.

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