Ban driven grouse shooting

All those months after reaching 100,000 signatures in just 20 days in favour of banning driven grouse shooting we get a result from the Petitions Committee. Instead of a Westminster Hall debate (I’m not sure they are happening these days, and it is almost the parliamentary summer holidays), Chris Packham was interviewed by Kerry McCarthy MP (at the time a member of the Petitions Committee, now a Shadow minister).

Chris Packham and almost 112,000 others signed this petition.

You can read the transcript of the discussion, watch the video or read some highlights by clicking here.

After delays caused by a general election and COVID-19 I guess the Committee was keen to get its backlog of petitions sorted and this did seem like an opportunity to us. It’s almost like a 40 minute advert for our cause and wipes the slate clean after a bunch of public school boys spoke movingly about how important driven grouse shooting was to us all in October 2016.

Chris was keen that Ruth and I were part of the interview but that would just have complicated things and Chris is the one who is most accustomed and comfortable in front of a camera (and behind one actually).

Chris did, unsurprisingly, very well, and he must have done well as many are moaning like hell about it. Chief moaners are the new yobs on the block, the Campaign for Protection of Moorland Communities. Their first go at me was to say that I live in a swanky house – this was greeted by roars of laughter by friends of our children who were meeting in our garden to do a socially-distanced quiz (we came last) and eat pizza at the weekend. Then they all looked slightly embarrassed about laughing so much at ‘swanky’. Then there was this about me which has the famous images from that ‘riddled with errors‘ blog of the NGO with the Rook taking Pheasant eggs from the ‘Lapwing’ nest that keeps on giving.

The C4PMC don’t recognise a Pheasant egg when they see one either, it seems.

And more lately they seem to think I am married to a Labour councillor whereas Rosemary is not and never has been a member of any political party and is not and never has been a councillor but I did admit that she was once a Young Farmer and we think she was the Playgroup Chair at one stage. The jibes at me were packaged in a very unfair piece targetting a young RSPB member of staff and moaning about Chris talking to an MP representing the House of Commons Petitions Committee about why driven grouse shooting should be banned.

The attack on Adam Barnett is unconvincing but unpleasant. As far as I know, but I don’t know everything, Adam is doing his job in promoting the licensing of driven grouse shooting which is (the rather feeble) RSPB policy on the subject and also pressing for a ban on burning of peatlands which is also RSPB policy and has been promised by DEFRA minister Zac Goldsmith too. Hardly a firebrand!

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then they attack you in a very personal and unpleasant way, and then you win. It really can’t be that far away now.

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18 Replies to “Ban driven grouse shooting”

  1. The interesting thing about C4PMT posts is the reaction they get. They understandably get lots of comments about how nasty and hopelessly inaccurate they are. And suggestions that it would be helpful to employ someone who could write plain English. But there’s not much positive feedback from the usually highly vocal supporters of grouse shooting. I wonder why?

    And then look at the retweets. Most are by opponents of DGS keen to highlight to a wider audience the sort of people they are up against. That is also very revealing.

    There was a quote in The Scotsman recently by a head-keeper concerned that investors may start to think twice about putting their money into grouse moors with all the current controversy and bad publicity. That starts to affect land values and can rapidly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. C4PMT are doing their bit to ensure this happens more quickly than it might have done. It’s a case study in self destruction.

  2. I very much remember our first Hen Harrier day in Derbyshire in the pouring rain when I think it was Chris Packham made that great quote, “first they laugh at you, ....”.and so on. Well as you say Mark we are now well advanced along the steps in this quote. The caliber of most the people associated with the shooting business is pretty low so I am sorry to say very nasty, false, personal attacks are to be expected from them.
    It is also interesting that a number of constituencies that have driven grouse shooting associated with them like Calder Valley, also had a high number of votes in the petition for banning driven grouse shooting. So much for the Moorland Association’s campaign for maintaining driven grouse shooting because they say it helps local communities. The local communities do not seem to see it that way judging by their voting. There is no doubt that with reasonable minded governments across the U.K. ( there maybe one or two) we are getting very much closer to getting rid of this very nasty, destructive practice of driven grouse shooting and the criminality associated with it.

  3. I thought the interview was terrific, with sensible and well-informed questions on the one hand, and well-argued and compelling responses on the other.
    But I'm not quite clear - does this interview represent the last and only outcome of the petition, or is it just a holding measure pending further response from government?

  4. Well, I signed the last one and I will sign the inevitable next one. Having tried to sit on the fence in the centre ground (not comfortable as it was a narrow and lonely place!) for the past ten years, and having made the case (to working class shooting folk) for moderation and staying within the law, I now see that the hardcore, which includes those with deep Establishment clout, are 100% hell-bent on a fight to the death.
    I have finally accepted as a fact that the sensible and pragmatic moderates within the shooting world will never achieve a thing. After all they haven't in all the (nearly four) decades I've been closely interested in these things. In fact things have got much, much worse. So I guess that this is just the way it has to be.
    But this thing won't be ended as a quiet conclusion to a protracted legal or political battle, I think it will also form part of a deep social battle...almost a bitter "civil war" in some places, splitting families and long friendships. It won't be pretty. Very sad.
    p.s. very good interview from Chris Packham.

  5. Wow! That piece on Adrian Barnett is quite something! Is there a far-right dog-whistle they failed to blow? The case against Barnett apparently includes the fact that he supports 'Black Lives Matter' and LGBT causes! Kerry McCarthy meanwhile is labelled as - shock horror! - a vegan.
    They seem to be a very unpleasant bunch of people indeed.

  6. The latest C4PMC post is odd.

    It says "For example, it is true that the most number of signatories came from: ‘Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey’ followed shortly by ‘Calder Valley’. However, guess where came next? France."

    It has taken me 2 minutes (by searching for the petition and downloading the data and giving it a quick skim) to confirm that this is not true. France had 272 signatures. Many UK constituencies have fewer than this, but plenty have more; for example; Edinburgh East, Cambridge, Isle of Wight. The data is in an odd format, a conversion to Excel and proper sort would no doubt reveal plenty of others with more than France's 0.24% of the vote share.

    So not only is the point they are trying to make in their article a worthless straw man, the fundamental basis of the article is false.

    Quelle surprise.

    1. The data can readily be taken into an Excel file using a converter such as this:
      It still needs a bit of tidying up, but your can sort and sift the data readily enough.

    2. Perhaps you can explain why grouse moors produce more hen harriers than the rspb reserves
      HYPOCRITES that talk out the back of your heads
      It has nothing to do with conservation it's just ban something
      Like the general licence crap rspb shoot corvids themselves then stop anyone else doing it

      1. martin - great inarticulate comment, thank you.

        Which RSPB nature reserves do you mean? Do you know?

      2. Apart from the glaring distortions, isn't it interesting how many proponents of this worthless activity seem incapable of punctuating their laughable protestations.
        Maybe it's just too much bother for them to learn how to write in their own language. Then again, why should one who shows such contempt for the truth be concerned with such trifles?

  7. It may have wiped the 2016 slate clean to some, but i would have preferred, at least, a less
    sympathetic interviewer, did Kerry volunteer or was she chosen ?.
    Then there was the confusion over Brood Management / Reintroduction, seriously Chris ?.

    1. It's surely right that in the post-covid handling of petitions that reached 100,000 the Petitions Committee should give petitioners a full opportunity to state their case. It would be very odd for paliament to treat them otherwise, though of course that is exactly what happened in 2016. Should any petition by the shooting lobby reach 100,000 in these times, it would be reasonable to afford them the same opportunity.

  8. Mark, you are asking the grouse to vote for the glorious 12th, by that I mean the MP in parliament are probably together with their family members those that go grouse shooting, or the guns are in that elite circle of society.
    Plus the large amounts of money that is involved.
    Think your win, is a million miles away.

    1. This oft repeated claim , of the influence of grouse shooting MPs, while not without some truth is greatly exaggerated.
      New money, and lobbying from its source, maintains moorland management at it's current levels.

      1. Trapit - I agree to the extent that there aren't that many Tory MPs who go grouse shooting, though Boris has and David Cameron did (and maybe does), but most grouse moors are n Tory constituencies and I am absolutely sure that rich alndowners have a certain amount of interest with the Conservative party.

        I'd love to know how many Tory MPs would be able to identify a Red Grouse. It's interesting that the NGO can't identify a Pheasant egg, after all isn't it?

        1. I would just love it if it ever came in under a licensing system that folk had to register and be on a publicly available list to shoot Grouse. Regards the guests on the premier Grouse moors - What a list of the international rich, powerful and downright criminal that would be! And all rubbing shoulders and sharing drinks and lunch with our favourite figures from British public life...oh, how some would squirm!

  9. To follow up on my earlier post, because I think this is interesting (it is, isn't it?) and thanks to the handy converter pointed out by Alan;

    In a combined list of all UK constituencies and all countries that contributed signatures to the latest petition to ban DGS, France sits in a respectable 61st place with 272 signatures (tied with Bristol South, Lewes and South Dorset).

    The next highest country is Ireland in 264th position with 176 signature. It then goes as follows; Spain in 349th with 150, Australia in 403rd with 136, Canada and US tied in 529th with 99 and Germany in 570th with 85.

    A total of 78 countries contributed at least 1 signature and notable mentions go to Isle of Man with 83, Vanuatu with 3, Uzbekistan with 2 and the Cayman Islands with 1.

    In combination, non UK countries made 1700 signatures of the 111966 total (about 1.5%) and with those excluded the total is comfortably above the 100,000 mark.

    Strangely, the total on the spreadsheet is 111966, not the 111965 shown on the petitions website. Every vote counts, right?

    I won't go on, but hopefully this helps reassure that France aren't taking over the debate and perhaps provides a bit of ammo if required.


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