Reviving Scotland’s “dead, burned and barren” grouse moors

Dead grouse cropped  wide

Grouse moors are intensively managed for one reason - so that animals can be killed for sport

Graham Martin's photo

6th November 2018 by Graham Martin 6 Comments

Charities will unite in a radical new campaign to reform Scotland’s grouse moors.

Groups across the social, environmental and animal welfare sectors have formed the Revive coalition – a groundbreaking challenge to the intensive management of land across vast swathes of the country’s uplands.

Almost a fifth of Scotland’s entire land mass is a grouse moor, and despite popular perception these moors are not natural.

The land is intensively managed to create a habitat suitable for one species, the red grouse, which is farmed to be shot for entertainment.

A new report commissioned and published by the Revive Coalition, The Case for Reforming Scotland’s Driven Grouse Moors has been authored by Dr Ruth Tingay and Andy Wightman, providing an in-depth analysis of the issues relating to grouse moor management in Scotland.

The coalition includes OneKind, Friends of the Earth Scotland, League Against Cruel Sports, Raptor Persecution UK and CommonWeal.

Revive’s senior campaigner Max Wiszniewski said: “The aim of the Revive Coalition is simple, we want significant reform of Scotland’s grouse moors to benefit our environment, our communities and our wildlife.

“However, in reality this ask is anything but simple which is why we are excited to be working with a number of partners across a spectrum of issues to tackle the problems associated with intensive management of this land.

“We are under no illusion that this will be a short campaign, but we have laid the foundations to take the first steps towards reform and we relish the challenges ahead. This is the first time organisations have come together in this way and our partners did so with no hesitation. It’s time we took back ownership of Scotland’s uplands and make our vision of reform a reality.”

In order to support sport shooting in Scotland, intensive land management techniques are employed to ensure estates yield large numbers of grouse to increase bag sizes at commercial shoots.

This includes heather burning, rigorous predator control, mountain hare persecution and unnecessary construction of roads and tracks, among others, all of which have wider negative social, environmental and welfare impacts.

Broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham is backing the campaign.

He said: “The times when the wholesale mismanagement of Scotland’s grouse moors was out of the public’s sight and mind are long gone. The desire for urgent reform, fuelled by a horrible cascade of outrageous revelations in the media, grows daily.

“There is no doubt that we all deserve, need better uplands, a prosperous place for wildlife and people – and that is far from impossible. But making that turn will need a suite of skills and energies and that’s why I am keen to help inaugurate this partnership. Dead, burned and barren has to go – Scotland’s hills should be alive.”

7th November 2018 by Hintza

Well why doesn't this alliance buy/rent some moorland and show us all how it is done?

7th November 2018 by Lok Yue

Perhaps this 'alliance' could enlighten us as to what constitutes 'natural moorland' and who will pay for it, whatever form it takes. As to being barren, that is simply untrue. Perhaps the 'Alliance' should look closely into the Langholm Moor project where the RSPB's attempts ended up in feeding dead lab rats to the hen harriers. Yet again, rose tinted spectacles are being donned in a attempt to visualise and eventually produce an elysian vision which, in reality, never existed. Next up, wolves in a 'rewilded' Scotland chase and bring down walkers lost in bad weather.

7th November 2018 by Alan Cranston

To Hintza: Because it is too expensive for anyone except the super rich to buy. That's almost the definition of the problem. What about the local people?

7th November 2018 by Alan Cranston

To Lok,You obviously read your brief but know nothing. Try posting your own informed views next time, if indeed you have any. Just as an aside, tell me about death by wolf in Europe in the last 200 years. If you want to post rubbish on behalf of those who shoot for fun, at least try to get a grasp of what might be even faintly persuasive rather than just showing you up as an ill-informed stooge.

8th November 2018 by Lok Yue

I am sorry to disappoint Alan Cranston but I have no 'brief': these are my own 'informed views'. Perhaps he might like to comment in intelligent and informed fashion on the views stated rather rather childish name calling. He does neither himself or his constituency any favours by taking such a stance. May I draw his attention to the report of Game Conservancy Deutschland, quoted at length in the Daily Telegraph on 30 May 2018 ( He might find it persuasive.

8th November 2018 by Lok Yue

Alan Cranston - Wolf attacks: Vide also dog and fox attacks UK