Labour Calls For Review of Grouse Shooting Laws

James Marshall
August 14, 2019

Gamekeepers say any moves to ban grouse shooting would put livelihoods at risk and cause significant damage to rural landscape.

Labour has called for a formal review into driven grouse shooting to examine its environmental and economic impacts, as well as possible alternatives such as simulated shoots and wildlife tourism.

Scottish animal welfare charity OneKind has renewed its calls for an end to driven grouse shooting on the Glorious Twelfth, the first day of the grouse shooting season.

With a four-month season starting from the "glorious 12th" of August, it is a highly managed commercial process.

A statement issued by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA), Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and the Scottish Association for Country Sports (SACS) said: "Rural communities face a multitude of challenges and the impact of turning the screw on grouse moors should not be underestimated".

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said: 'The costs of grouse shooting on our environment and wildlife need to be properly weighed against the benefit of land owners'.

Moors were often burned, increasing the likelihood of both wildfires and flooding while increasing carbon emissions and dramatically reducing their future capacity to absorb carbon.

They also highlighted that local species such as hen harriers and mountain hares are having their habitat destroyed and are being illegally culled to increase grouse numbers.

Currently, each year the 55, 000 acres of grouse hunting land across England and Scotland is drained in preparation for shooting season.

"For too long the Tories have bent the knee to land owners and it's our environment and our people who pay the price".

Labour said the 10 largest grouse moors in England received £3m in annual farm subsidies.

"We appeal to politicians from all parties to recognise the contribution that grouse moors make at a time when the Scottish Government's review of moorland management should soon be published".

"Effective heather management including burning and cutting creates awesome habitat and of course reduces the fuel load and risk of wildfire".

Many visitors come from the U.S. and Europe to take part.

Officials said they will continue to work closely on progress with landowners, tenant farmers and sporting interests to sign up to voluntary commitments, including a commitment to stop the rotational burning of heather on blanket bog.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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