Grouse Shooting facts before the parliamentary debate
We recently posted on the work of Wild Justice in disrupting the fieldsports industry. As it stands, their most active campaign is their work against grouse shooting. Grouse shooting is a topic we’ve covered many times before but we will cover it briefly again. Grouse Shooting isn’t just a sport but an interwoven part of rural culture. The landscape reflects this with its deep purple hues and abundance of wildlife. Without grouse shooting, this ecosystem has proven to be negatively affected. That isn’t anecdotal but factual evidence that has been proven over the course of decades of land management.
The video below is provided by the Countryside Alliance and points out the benefits grouse shooting has on local areas. This includes the net benefit to the environment, employment and local hospitality. The big arguments facing grouse shooting revolve around the claimed damage to wildlife and the environment. In many cases they’re unfounded and the work of private shooting estate has net benefits.
Heather burning is often touted as one of the biggest problems with land management surrounding grouse shooting. While the images of burning heather don’t initially look promising, the burning is part of the process. Using these controlled burns, old vegetation makes way for fresh plants while removing invasive saplings. This process does no damage to the peat and restores the young more productive heather helping absorb more CO2.
Gamekeepers receive most of the blame when it comes to flooding in moorland areas. However, its often overlooked that these are the people who are making the biggest effort in re wetting the moors. This process involves building porous damns that slow the downward flow while spreading the water laterally. This water moves across the moor creating better environments for heather growth. These damns slow the flow and reduce the amount of water that reaches residential areas.
Anti Shooting groups will often tout shooting estates as being mono cultures with only grouse living in them. This just doesn’t ring true in reality and the reasons are quite simple. The pest control work of gamekeepers benefits all creatures including Golden Plover and Curlew. These birds are succeeding at a far higher rate on moorland managed for grouse than those that aren’t. Loose grouse shooting and the gamekeepers and you’ll lose these rare birds too. We covered this at length in a previous article on the role of fieldsports in moorland landscapes.
What are the Countryside Alliance doing?
The Countryside Alliance is doing its best to spread awareness about the risks facing grouse shooting. Their page on the issue has a direct link to contact your local MP. Other than providing evidence this is the best thing you can do as a fieldsports enthusiast. This isn’t about putting pressure on MP’s but making sure they’re aware of the facts before they vote. In an ideal world, we’d see each of the MP’s review the evidence and then make an informed vote. Whether that will happen is yet to be seen.
Every year the Countryside Alliance works with landowners and shooters to make sure they have all the knowledge they need. They address public misconception in media and in legal challenges, they’ve become our best chance at challenging the popular anti shooting tropes. We need this public body to promote the reality of fieldsports and protect the countryside from urban opinion.
The video below is a short summary of why this vote is so important. Sweeping changes to the industry and management will have dire consequences for both habitat and their inhabitants. The reality without them is dire, once moorland is in decline it will take an exuberant amount of money to reverse the damage. We should feel fortunate that the majority of these costs are taken up by wealthy individuals every year to protect Moorland. In public ownership, this could be done but the cost returns to the taxpayer.