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.