A Labour MP writes

I was interested to see this response that a blog reader received from their Labour MP.  I long for the day when I have a Labour MP, but as I don’t, I cannot write to check how close this is to the standard letter sent out to constituents by other Labour MPs.  But maybe you are in a more fortunate position.  I’d be interested to see what other Labour MPs are sending to their constituents on this matter…


Thank you for writing to me about driven grouse shooting.

I appreciate concerns have been raised by conservationists and animal welfare organisations about the continued practice of grouse shooting and the impact of this on protected birds of prey, such as the hen harrier, as well as on the environment more generally.

Birds of prey are intensively persecuted and iconic birds such as the hen harrier are in danger of being lost as a breeding species in England. Last year, the RSPB noted that hen harrier pairs had declined by 27% over the previous 12 years. I further note that the RSPB has called for the introduction of a licensing scheme for grouse shooting.

In addition to animal welfare concerns, grouse shooting offers little public benefit and has been identified as a contributing factor to various environmental degradations, including flooding, landslides and wildfires. The clearing of land for grouse shooting was identified as one of the sources of the flooding we saw over the Christmas period in 2015 and the recent wildfires on Saddleworth Moor have also been linked by some environmental campaigners to land maintenance practices on grouse shooting land, such as the draining of boggy land and the upkeep of low heather.

In my view, taking no action over driven grouse shooting is not an option and tighter conservation measures are vital. The Government must address the impact of grouse moor management on soil, drainage and hydration. I am further concerned about the climate change impacts of burning heather.

It is very important that high standards are promoted with regards to game shoots and that criminality is tackled and sustainability promoted. I can therefore assure you that I will continue to press the Government to clamp down on the illegal shooting of raptor birds and to reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

The highlighted words above (highlighted by me) are interesting .

A letter sent by you in the next few days might elicit a response before the Labour Party Conference starts on 23 September.

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6 Replies to “A Labour MP writes”

  1. I have a number of letters from my Labour MP regarding raptors and driven grouse shooting, I will scan them later and forward them to you. I think it's time I sent another letter to see if things have changed.

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  2. I have written a few times to my Labour MP too and this is part of a letter she sent back - sorry I don’t any longer have the whole reply, but it could have been answering other animal issues too:

    ‘…at the 2015 general election, I stood on a manifesto which included a commitment to deal with the wildlife crime associated with shooting. I am concerned that birds of prey are intensively persecuted, and that some birds such as the hen harrier are in danger of being lost as a breeding species in England. I believe that more must be done to protect these birds.’

    This MP bought a copy of the Inglorious Twelfth, by the way, but was not able to attend the evidence session of your first petition.

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  3. My Labour MP has failed to reply to two of my letters to her about wildlife issues. One was about the illegal persecution of Hen Harriers, the other about the government's plans to extend the permission for Badger culling into low risk zones (a plan which went ahead btw). Since then, as I am a member of the Labour Party, she has asked us (via email questionnaire) how I think she is doing as a constituency MP and do I have any issues to raise with her. In reply to that I have asked her why she didn't respond to my letters. I haven't yet received a reply to that question (though it was only a couple of weeks ago she asked it, so there is time yet I suppose). I live in Sheffield which, as I have pointed out to my MP, holds driven grouse shoots within the city boundary and is locally known as a wildlife crime hotspot; as well as that, the badger cull was to be extended to S. Yorks - (where Sheffield lies). My MP is shadow Police and Crime Minister; hence should be aware of the existence of the Wildlife Crime Unit, and that it is working hard to tackle illegal persecution of raptors, badger baiting (still and issue in these parts), trade in eggs and young of wild born peregrine falcons and other BoP Therefore, I feel these issues are highly relevant to her role as both a local MP and shadow minister. If she ever replies, i will go on to ask her why she is adamantly against fracking (proposed to take place in this area) on environmental grounds and yet she is in favour of HS2 (also due to go through S. Yorks and include a station in Sheffield). I believe her position to be contradictory.

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  4. Prompted by this I wrote to my MP, Emily Thornberry, today. She always replies, and usually with a bit more than just standard lines so I'll be interested to see what she says on developing policy.

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    1. I forgot to sat that my MP always replies and promptly.

      I ought to name her - Margaret Greenwood, Wirral West.

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