You have just over a week to apply for this interesting PhD opportunity at Northampton University ‘‘Taking Aim’ at the Social Impact of Driven Game Shooting in England‘.
I notice that the GWCT and BASC are in some way involved, as are 40 estate and shoot owners. Looks like an interesting study encompassing health impacts (so a good review of the impacts of eating lead-shot game on gamekeepers and tourists might be an output). Also, since educational development is part of the study, a review of the educational attainment of gamekeepers’ children would be an interesting line of enquiry as the group potentially most likely to be regularly fed high quantities of lead in game from a very early age. It would be difficult to control for all relevant variables but a PhD could make a useful first pass at this challenge.
Anyone coming to the subject cold, perhaps including the PhD supervisors, will soon find that the statement ‘Field sports including the shooting of driven game are cumulatively estimated to be worth at least £2bn to the UK economy’ is a bit dodgy for several reasons. If this comes from the discredited PACEC report then, even taken at face value, live quarry shooting (which will include an awful lot of wildfowling and walked up shooting, which is not driven game shooting) amounts to only about a third of ‘gun days’ (PACEC report, p22). But the faults of the PACEC report are well known (see Inglorious p227-8) and it would be good to see a PhD properly taking into account the externalities of grouse moor management such as flood risk, water quality, carbon emissions, loss of wildlife, damage to protected habitats etc.
I wonder who is financing this study and whether it will form the annual ‘Sir Ian Botham reveals some results of unpublished research that no-one can check’ media coverage around the 12 August.
And I wonder who is supervising it and why this study is based at Northampton University which happens to be just down the road from me.
The world is full of interesting coincidences and it must be another coincidence that a new commentator on driven grouse shooting has emerged on Twitter, one Dr Peran David Milyan Hills, @dr_mils_hills, who is based in the University of Northampton Business School. I scanned Dr Hills’s publications (many of which are rather confusingly, not published) for any evidence of knowledge of driven grouse shooting but was distracted by his work on not using the ‘reply all’ option in emails without taking care and failed to find any, but this did not stop him from writing on the subject recently. I thought his ‘reply all’ study had considerably more depth and interest than his views on grouse shooting. But it must be a coincidence that this PhD opportunity and this new voice have popped up at the same time, mustn’t it?