Driven grouse shooting – a mingle underpinned by wildlife crime

Coverage of the government ruling on whether Red Grouse shooting (open season 12 Aug- 10 Dec) and Pheasant shooting (open season 1 Oct – 1 Feb in England, Wales and Scotland) can go ahead has been phenomenal. I’ve had journalists phone me up today struggling to understand why their editor is wanting another piece on this story. It definitely falls into the ‘Interesting but not very important’ category.

But it has captured the public imagination and it really hasn’t done the shootng industry any favours. It’s seen as another example of the Conservative government being completely out of touch with normal people, or worse, in the pockets of a small number of landed gentry (and nouveau riche non-gentry). Neither of these realisations is news either.

Here is a news round-up on the subject:

Huffington Post original story, Guardian, The Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail.

It’s all over social media – Robert Peston has 1.1m followers on Twitter.

Less well covered by the media was the much more unpleasant fact, of which yesterday saw just another example, that driven grouse shooting depends on systematic illegal and intense killing of protected wildlife.

The RSPB revealed today that a young Hen Harrier, hatched and fledged in Lancashire this summer, has disappeared on an area of grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – as have so many others.

The Westminster government has sat idly by and watched the death toll of protected wildlife mount year after year, month after month.

It is a bit seedy that the government doesn’t treat shooting in the same way as other activities when it comes to restrictions to limit the spread of a lethal disease, but it is deeply distasteful that the Conservative Party turns its face, wilfully, away from the epidemic of wildlife crime carried out by the supporters of grouse shooting.


14 Replies to “Driven grouse shooting – a mingle underpinned by wildlife crime”

  1. Well said Mark. There could not be a better example of “one rule (or no rule) for the rich and one for the poor”. What a disgrace this Westminster Government is. We are not there yet but the word “corruption” starts to hover in the wind.

  2. “I specialised in prosecuting serious organised crime.”
    This is from my MPs website. She is a barrister. She is trained to recognise crime.
    She doesn’t respond to e-actions. Just saying.

  3. There are few things more exemplary of this governments appalling attitudes towards a hierarchy of importance within both activities and people as a whole than their gross inappropriate favouring of shooting. Whether that is in their very obvious wilful blindness to grouse shootings dependence on wildlife crime directed particularly at Schedule One protected birds or the exemption of grouse and pheasant shooting from “the rule of six.” Lets call it what it is vested interest corruption of government. This is under any measure a shambolic administration of little or no talent, competence, ability, sense of duty or empathy but to show this amount of illogical favouritism to such an unimportant pastime of their landed pals and supporters is an utter stupidity and scandal. it lays bare for all to see where their interests truly lie.
    I might say that the disappearance of another Hen Harrier, the first of the cohort of 2020 is entirely predictable although each one still angers me but I am very disappointed in RSPB who have failed to name the specific location or more importantly the estate.

  4. I wonder how many of the ‘guns’ involved will be flying in from other parts of the world and who will be checking on their Covid status? I understand that Exmoor pheasant shoots are very popular with the Chinese among others.

    1. The Chinese or any other far eastern nations are not known for travelling to the UK to game shoot. Most overseas visitors are Western European / Scandinavian. By far the greater number of people shooting game are British.

      1. Richard – the majority are, but there are some very prominent Arabs involved in some parts of the country (they may not be numerous, but they are hgh profile and own land) and then there are visitors from the USA too, although many of them are rather shocked by what they thought might be hunting and turns out to be more like a video game with live wildlife targets. And there are some southern Europeans as well as Western and Northern ones. It is an epidemiologist’s nighmare at this time. But for what an excellent reason – shooting birds for fun. Any risk must be worth that.

      2. The source of the information, Richard, was an article in The Times. I presume they didn’t make it up!

  5. Gary Lineker tweeted about it too. He has 7.4 million followers.
    If any ‘good’ can come out of this it will be mass public awareness and distaste of the DGS industry…and the combined issues of raptor persecution, environmental destruction and cronyism.

  6. I don’t understand why there is no bill to outlaw the shooting of animals for sport in the UK, which is the root cause of the persecution of our wildlife.

    I have heard argument that ‘the animals need to be culled’ in relation to deer. The answer is management by professionals. I have heard argument that ‘it is a country pursuit that is important to the economy’, which is simply unsubstantiated.

    It is time for shooting to be outlawed completely in this country. To do this, we must replace those jokers in Westminster with a government willing to do what is right for the people and the land. This story is running because it represents Tory attitudes to all rules (we’re all equal, “but some are more equal than others”).

  7. The comments on attitudes of overseas hunters to driven gamebird shooting in the UK reminds me of being at a Norfolk partridge shoot at the beginning of the 1980s. I was studying partridges at the time and was there to recover the tags from any of my radio-tagged birds that got shot. I was allowed to have lunch with the guns. A US businessman guest said, very politely, that he thought shooting at driven birds was a bit odd. He told everyone what fun it was to go rough shooting quail in the western US. Another guest, a retired Air Vice-Marshal, responded with “Mean-ter-say you shoot them up the arse? I can see the fun in that”. He also told us later that Lady Diana Spencer was “good breeding stock”.

  8. I trust the new NE England restrictions mean shoots in County Durham and Northumberland are suspended!

  9. Very tiny minority continue to shape the country. Democracy sometimes seems a farce. Who supports this favouritism at the expense of our wildlife?

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