RSPB on driven grouse shooting

There was an interesting bit on the Today programme yesterday (click here, between 0845 and 0850) when Beccy Speight of the RSPB talked about the State of Nature report (and see here).

Beccy did well but then, rather out of the blue, she was asked about grouse shooting and the fact that some people, including Chris Packham, want to ban it. She said some sensible things (though not as sensible as ‘Yes, we’ll get nowhere with the uplands until it is banned’) and talked about peat.

Any mention of grouse shooting interests me, but I wasn’t expecting this one to pop up here. I’m probably putting two and two together to make five but I have heard a rumour that Defra is weakening on its resolve to ban burning of blanket bogs. The new minister may have been nobbled by a bunch of Lords? In the Johnson government hubris about getting out of the EU without a deal, come what way etc, this offers succour to, and emboldens, those who are breaking EU environmental laws

The RSPB ought to have been taking a much stronger public stance on grouse moors – by which I mean they should have been publicly promoting their weak and foolish policy of licensing far better. And actually, RSPB missed an opportunity to draw a line in the and in this piece yesterday if the rumours are true. Beccy should have said the milder version of ‘There will be hell to pay if Defra renege on their promises to us (the RSPB) and to the European Commission to tackle unsustainable burning’. RSPB has not campaigned n this subject so they haven’t raised the ante. Tactical error.

But the most useful thing you can do on this subject in the next couple of weeks (maybe) is to sign this e-petition and it’s not too late for the RSPB to jump on board (pretty late, but not absolutely too late).

Please sign this e-petition calling for driven grouse shooting to be banned.

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4 Replies to “RSPB on driven grouse shooting”

  1. I haven't got it with me and I really should have mentioned it at the time, but a couple of years ago there was a rather revealing interview in the Woodland Trust's newsletter - Broadleaf - with the government minister responsible for getting more trees planted. It was all pretty much as you'd expect from a politician, trees are wonderful, we need more etc, etc until it came to a point about the uplands. The minister said to the effect we shouldn't plant on iconic/historic/beautiful uplands which should be left open! So the very places with the greatest potential to have more natural(ish) woodland and wildlife and to reduce flooding would be the place where LEAST tree planting would be carried out!?! To me this screamed of keeping grouse shooting pals happy and was an extraordinary admission that meant tree planting was just going to be green washing, it would be avoided where it was really needed. The NGOs really need to get a spine and publicly challenge crap like this. Vested interests and certain politicians need to be worried about the public knowing that their homes and businesses are under higher flood risk thanks to grouse moors, and treeless sheep and deer grazed hills, rather than NGOs worrying about keeping in with these selfish shits.

  2. Well said Mark, totally agree with all you say. The trouble is as far as this dreadful Government is concerned, from the Prime Minister downwards one cannot believe a word they say or do. To renegade on a previous commitment to stop moorland burning would be absolutely typical. We need to watch them very carefully and kick up a hell of a row if Defra go back on what they have committed to.

  3. Yes, the unexpected question on grouse shooting was a gift and Beccy's response was to avoid any comment - even a mild one - on the killing and destruction mysteriously cropping up in the vicinity of grouse moors.
    I used to be a member of the RSPB in the 70s-80s. I think I'd be wasting money on it now - better to support LACS.

  4. Considering she’s still learning the ropes, Beccy did well to agree to be interviewed.

    It’s very important that a chief executive should be prepared to put her/his head over the parapet. Not sure that her predecessor would have done likewise.

    Trouble is her replies were too generalised, too diplomatic, too anxious not to offend, too reluctant to be controversial.

    In other words, she’s following the same route as the chiefs of all the other nature conservation bodies (including Natural England).

    Will any of them ever come out with all guns blazing?


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