Poll: is it time to ban grouse shooting?

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​Calls to ban grouse shooting are increasing: what do you think?

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1st September 2016 by Graham Martin 40 Comments

Is it time to ban grouse shooting?

Poll results (total votes: 5054)

Is it time to ban grouse shooting?

There’s a war underway on Scotland’s grouse moors.

However, the guns booming aren’t just those of the shooters currently blasting away on estates across the country.

Instead the battle has been joined by conservationists, animal rights activists, land reform campaigners and industry lobbyists.

They have all made a stand on a subject which intersects many of the biggest issues facing Scotland today.

Namely: the balance between conservation and exploitation and who owns what and who decides what happens over huge swathes of our country.

The campaign against the grouse shooting industry has increased markedly in intensity over the past few years, spurred on by the likes of naturalist Chris Packham and the publication of the polemic Inglorious by former RSPB conservation director Mark Avery.

RSPB Scotland, meanwhile, has been quick to link the destruction of birds of prey and other protected wildlife with gamekeeping activities on grouse moors.

Conservationists have argued that the predator-prey balance is artificially altered on the moors by often illegal suppression of wildlife in order to provide a habitat for grouse, which are there specifically to be exploited by the lucrative shooting industry.

They argue that huge swathes of land are kept ecologically sterile, in effect a monoculture, to suit the sporting tastes of a wealthy few.

The shooting and gamekeeping lobbies, in contrast, paint themselves as the guardians of wild Scotland, arguing that they help safeguard the land and its creatures, while providing employment in remote areas.

They are victims, they say, of an unfair onslaught from a conservation industry which is loaded with agendas and which does not understand or appreciate rural life.

So who is right? What do you think? Is it time to ban grouse shooting?

Vote now and get the debate going by leaving a comment.

1st September 2016 by Jeff Clarke

Driven Grouse shooting has no place in the 21st century, when our modern understanding of ecology, biodiversity, hydrology, demonstrates the devestating impact, both legal and illegal, of this outdated recreational pursuit..

1st September 2016 by Simon Tucker

I am a rural dweller and an ex-agricultural worker. I understand rural ways: and I belief grouse shooting must be banned for the sake of our grouse (a wild bird shot for fun) and the sake of our predatory species: the Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine and Goshawk all illegally persecuted by shooting interests. Then we have the Mountain Hare being slaughtered in their thousands on the pretext that they are a reservoir for a tick borne disease which affects the grouse (but only because the numbers of grouse are artificially high) but which is really to remove prey species for the aforementioned birds of prey. The key thing is that the shooting industry has failed to stop the illegal persecution, they flout the law at every opportunity, exploiting the fact that it is difficult to get the evidence to prosecute them as their crimes take place in isolated places and, besides, the police do not put a high priority on it.

1st September 2016 by j entwistle

my dad shoots grouse and will on saturday -i like wildlife naturally doing wat its ment to -we have over time destroyed planet earth inc extinctions -police dont lock any one up im sick of the animal abuse -highly depressing knowing future generations will nvr enjoy these creatures -eg a whole wolf pack killed in washington state recently -go to africa fenced in animals -the wild has gone 4 ever

1st September 2016 by Steve

It's deeply sad that, in the months following the signing of the Hen Harrier Recovery Plan, the illegal killing of birds of prey continues unabated. You'd have thought that the driven grouse moor industry would have seen this as their opportunity to clean up their act. But no, they've proven themeselves utterly unable to get a grip. An outright ban of driven grouse shooting is, sadly, the only solution/

2nd September 2016 by Maria Soep

The shooting of wild grouse is one thing but to kill and attempt to eradicate other wild and protected species's in the process is so very wrong. Why when we know so many of our planets animals are becoming extinct do we sit back and allow this?

2nd September 2016 by Ernie Scales

If all other predators have to be obliterated to meet the desires of one, limited in number, predator then the ecosystem is screwed. Grouse shooting = desecration of our uplands and increased risks to our lowlands from uncontrolled flooding. We all subsidise this industry through grants and also pay to alleviate/repair flood damage. That's a double whammy to all tax payers.

2nd September 2016 by Stephanie C

Don't forget to sign the petition to ban driven grouse shooting https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003

2nd September 2016 by Alex Woolf

I have voted to ban grouse shooting but would like to clarify that it is driven grouse shooting on over-managed moorland that I object to. 'wild hunting' in a natural habitat seems acceptable.

2nd September 2016 by Lesleyjane Clifford

Culturally we should be beyond killing any living thing for pleasure, I'm not a veggie or a leftie, I come from farming stock and my ancestors all shot and hunted but we've moved on, just like as a society we have moved on from slavery, putting young boys up chimneys and not allowing women to vote.

2nd September 2016 by Bill Brown

The lazy way the shooters are given the grouse handed to them by beaters, is purely to feed their egos. I would be less against them if they did the 'hunting' walking over the moors gun in hand and dog at foot? This would be too much to ask of the current 'posh boy' shooting club character!

2nd September 2016 by Simon Roddis

Grouse shooting is no longer sustainable. It completes an entirely artificial situation by unnatural management of the land which has serious consequences for wildlife, the environment and people. It has to stop.

3rd September 2016 by Alan Reid

Management and "protection" of Grouse and the moors on which they live is harmful to the environment and the other species who share the land. Illegal killing of raptors is rife amongst those who run the estates. There is no place in the 21st Century for this dreadful practice.

3rd September 2016 by Ele Wilkinson

It`s Time All Shooting For Recreation Was Banned !!!

3rd September 2016 by Barbara White

Awful. Killing for entertainment, it is so outdated. Just because a small minority want to show off. It is very cruel and cannot be called sport. We are better than this. It must stop now.

5th September 2016 by Lorna McGowan

We the people of Scotland demand that our native spieces of birds, animals and people are enabled to live in peace for ever

5th September 2016 by Jay Iddon

No sport, no good game... no more.Yes life, yes food... yes more.

7th September 2016 by Thomas Florey

What Bollocks! Of the 12 Hen Harriers that nested in England this year, 7 were on land belonging to the likes of RSPB. They fledged I bird. Of the 5 on privately owned grouse moors, they fledged 17 chicks. Add to this the surveys of wader success on grouse moors, the employment created, the money injected into the rural economy and there is a case for banning the RSPB being allowed to own land!!!

7th September 2016 by M Gray

My husband and I have run a flock of hill sheep, and since the hill has been managed for grouse, there has been a huge increase in numbers with the likes of Golden Plovers, curlews, lapwings, blue hares, raptors, etc. The main beneficial thing for the ground nesting birds and hares, is the heather burning; the sheep like managed heather, therefore will cover more ground, and with them being treated for tick, hence the tick numbers are reduced greatly! Fox's and crows are the main predators that are controlled. If you compare a grouse managed moor and a "reserve", you will find far more wildlife on the grouse moors. I have read comments saying it is a lie that the local community benefit from grouse shooting, however, I was invited along to a march by Angus Moorland Group, and at the march, there were local businesses there supporting and helping with the event. I spoke to a flower shop lady who said a huge percentage of her business was related to the grouse moors. I know many small villages that would be ruined without grouse moors providing them with business. I strongly believe that grouse shooting should be not be banned, and those that do not spend a high percentage of their time on grouse moors; open there eyes and see the benefits for themselves.

7th September 2016 by Jenny McCallum

I think it is unfair to tar all conservationists with the same brush! Some fieldsports enthusiasts are also consevrationists. We have made ourselves the top predator and I doubt there is any going back from that, we are where we are. It is therefore our responsibility to maintain a balance within populations. Proper scientific data into the plight of certain species is required. It's no use stating that ALL birds are killed by gamekeepers. Where's the data on starvation, road kill, predation, attack from larger raptors etc. Work together on this!

7th September 2016 by Di Hemmings

I have never read so many comments on a subject based on total ignorance! What next, ban coarse fishing that so many men are passionate about. Jealousy is a terrible thing ...

7th September 2016 by Simon Coan

Good management of grouse moors provide a habitat for many other species of birds that otherwise would not proliferate

7th September 2016 by Simon Coan

Well managed grouse moors provide a habitat for many other species of birds to proliferate .

7th September 2016 by Steve Scott

I have personally observed the abundance of wildlife on well managed grouse moors, from ground nesting birds such as Dunlin and Golden Plover, birds of prey which include Kestrel, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Golden Eagle to mammals like the Mountain Hare.Grouse Moors bring direct and indirect employment along with economic benefit in remote areas.Therefore I am for Grouse Shooting!

7th September 2016 by Gary Baxter

You want to ban something you know very little about so consider this properly managed moors were the only place harriers hatched this year THATS KEEPERED MOORS NOT RSPB RUN WASTELAND that is left for ruin and to go barron

7th September 2016 by Dustin pitman

I have hunted all over the UK since the age of 6 I'm not rich nor can I afford to nor have I ever been able to afford driven shooting BUT I have worked in & seen first hand the benefits that keepered land has on the environment & conservation however it is not the principle of well managed moores that is the problem it is many things from owners putting pressure on keepers to deliver more birds & kill other species, guns who want to sit/stand there & blast away all day while beaters work the birds to them, conservationists who talk complete crap about persecution & killing of other species, look up the RSPB cull licence applications for the last 5 years & see how bird friendly they really are & don't mention other animals I recently tendered for an RSPB cull for 300 red deer on one of there reserves which was almost the entire population & the others like Packham with no real understanding of country life hypocritically sensationalising grouse shooting as evil, there are faults everywhere, what's needed is a common sense & managed approach so everyone & everything benefits maybe no one will be totally happy but that's impossible but each will get a little of what they want a compromise if you will I'd stop it being driven, & make them work for their birds walked up only, I'd limit the bird numbers per hunter either per day or per season say 50 no man needs more, as the Irish do with salmon now, but scotland has bigger problems than grouse it is slaughtering massive numbers of deer currently on cull licences which are totally out of proportion to the population & habitat often pushed by the FC for timber protection. All things concise red I would only agree to a ban for DRIVEN grouse if it was done sensibly & with a cast iron guarantee in law that no further erosion of the right to hunt wild grouse was introduced & that other problems both within other species & organisations like the RSPB were revised as this will never happen as its too sensible I feel my vote will have to stay no to the ban.

8th September 2016 by Susan Pinkney

Most people voting haven't a clue about grouse shooting!

8th September 2016 by John Paton

This is all about conservation of our countryside and supporting rural economies - a bit of common sense please !

8th September 2016 by RealFreedom

Is it time to ban calls for things to be banned?

9th September 2016 by Christopher Robinson

Grouse shooting brings millions of £'s into the Scottish economy & 1000's of jobs.An estimated 3.9 million work days are undertaken each year on conservation for shooting in the UK. Much of this relates to heather moorland and grouse management, this is the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs. In comparison, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage together employ fewer than 3,000 full and part-time members of staff. The work carried out by shoot providers often complements that of other conservation organisations with whom they frequently work in partnership, and it is often undertaken in addition to the work of the landowner. Thirty two per cent of providers employ at least one paid gamekeeper whose duties include habitat and wildlife management this can have significant benefits for the countryside and biodiversity.http://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/14692792.Grouse_shoots_provide_rural_jobs/

9th September 2016 by Bernard Robinson

Grouse moor management for shooting brings major conservation benefits in terms of habit protection and improvement and predator control necessary for the protection of red listed species. It is also extremely beneficial to environmental protection and improvement. It also brings major economic benefits in terms of employment and the local economy

10th September 2016 by Carolyn Lee

We do not have to shoot birds to survive anymore - this is the 21st century. I would like my Grandchildrens children to see wild life as I have done.

12th September 2016 by Ken McInnes

Don't do it

12th September 2016 by Robert Brooks

The incredible amount of work done to keep our moors in good shape, directly linked to grouse shooting, far outweighs any move to ban this sport.

16th September 2016 by david williams-ellis

grouse shooting enhances the natural ecology and protects many species of wildlife. Where it is banned there are less golden plover, blackgame, pipits, lapwing, snipe, amongst many other ground nesting birds.

18th September 2016 by Tim Usher

A proper christian would say "forgive the conservationists their folly for they know not the damage that they do". You only have to take note of the huge damage a vastly increased population of badgers have been doing since that woolly minded group brought about their legal protection. Grouse are very good to eat and along with everything else that we eat, they need human intervention to make the best of them

28th October 2016 by Steve Hawthorn

Sad indeed that the hunting shooting lobby ie, killers of harmless creatures for pleasure, have not been consigned to history. A life is a life and deserves respect.

7th October 2017 by Achnababan

Grouse shooting is all about extremely rich people demonstrating how rich they are by killing animals for fun. Less than 1% of the birds hsot reach the dinner table - most buried or fed to the dogs.Should be taxed to oblivion - shame on the SNP for kow-towing to the landed gentry.

31st October 2018 by George Palin

this is bloody outrageous why would you want this brilliant sport to be abolished its one of the most popular sports that there is for non COMMON people

26th February 2019 by Lucy Kelly

Grouse shooting is cruel and it takes enormous resources from nature in terms of habitat. Much wildlife is also killed illegally to keep the grouse alive to be shot, eg harrier birds and foxes. Of course it should be stopped!