Charity steps up calls for ban on driven grouse shooting ahead of Glorious Twelfth
The League Against Cruel Sports has condemned the annual celebration of grouse shooting known as the Glorious Twelfth. The charity is using the start of the grouse shooting season to highlight the damage the shooting industry causes to wildlife and the environment, in particular the persecution of birds of prey.
Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “The annual celebration of the start of the grouse shooting season is a ridiculous tradition which has long had its day. The Glorious Twelfth is a poor attempt to justify a bloodsport which is responsible for the mass killing of wildlife on an industrial scale as well as irreversible damage to the environment.”
A recent report showed that a third of tagged golden eagles had died suspiciously in Scotland with the majority of cases being linked to areas being managed for grouse shooting. Birds of prey pose a threat to valuable grouse stocks along with a number of other species including foxes and mountain hares which are thought to carry ticks which can spread disease among grouse chicks.
Grouse moors are intensively managed to effectively wipe out any species which predate on or threaten grouse creating a false ecosystem which favours one species. In addition to this the environmental damage caused by such intensive land management includes competition with native species and pollution from muirburn, which lowers the water table, causing the deep peat covering to dry out and release pollutants into rivers and carbon into the atmosphere.
While the League believes driven grouse shooting should be banned due to overwhelming evidence of the negative impacts caused by the shooting industry, it does support proposals to license shoots as an interim measure. Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee voted narrowly in favour of examining a possible licensing scheme to tackle wildlife crime in the country. As a result of this vote, an expert group is to be created to examine grouse moor management, with scope to license shoots, based upon the committee’s recommendations.
Robbie Marsland added: “The majority of the public have absolutely no desire to take to the countryside with a lethal weapon to take pot shots at wildlife as part of an industry which is responsible for widespread damage including environmental destruction, wildlife persecution and increased flooding.
“The shooting industry is massively under-regulated and while our position is firmly in favour of a complete ban on driven grouse shooting in Scotland we support proposals to license shoots as an interim measure.”
The grouse shooting season gets underway on Saturday 12th August in Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland.