In their little booklet, the GWCT address five areas that they say are commonly-heard criticisms of driven grouse shooting. This week I’ll deal with each of them.
GWCT say that it is claimed that ‘Conservation organisations want to ban it‘.
This is what is called a straw man – it’s a device for avoiding the real issue by pretending that the issue is something else.
So the GWCT say that conservation organisations don’t want to ban driven grouse shooting giving the impression that all is well with driven grouse shooting and neglecting to say that the RSPB is in favour of licensing shooting estates including driven grouse moors. And neglecting to say that the Scottish government is investigating the licensing of driven grouse moors too after a public petition asking for this to happen.
There is also widespread public support for introducing vicarious liability into English law for wildlife crimes because that would put land owners in the position of having to take responsibility for the actions of their employees.
Of course, GWCT also, in their booklet neglect to mention that a UK-wide petition on the Westminster parliament website secured 123,077 signatures in favour of banning driven grouse shooting and that a rival petition in support of grouse shooting secured a mere 25,322 signatures.
We also know that the National Trust has parted company with one of their grouse-shooting tenants in the Peak District because of a difference of opinion on how that land should be managed. It remains to be seen whether a shooting tenant will be found to replace the exiting tenant or whether the NT will impose standards that grouse shooters cannot attain.
So, however much the GWCT might want to give the impression that there is nothing to see here, there is a lively public debate about how awful driven grouse shooting is, and a range of views about how those ills should be dealt with. Only the industry seems to be content that the status quo can remain.
None of this is evident from the GWCT booklet.