Wed 12 Aug, 2020

There’s nothing glorious about the 12th of August or about the intensive and damaging killing, burning, and degradation of our landscape that is associated with driven grouse shooting. John Finnie

The driven grouse shooting season which begins today must be the last seen in Scotland, the Scottish Greens have said.

The cruel Victorian hobby, enjoyed by very few people, was the subject of a two-year review led by Professor Alan Werrity which reported in January. Despite the fact its recommendations appeared to have been watered down at the request of landed interests, the Scottish Government has yet to respond.

The Scottish Government also failed to act to prevent the mass killing of mountain hares in preparation for today, despite parliament backing Alison Johnstone’s amendment to the wildlife bill to protect the species last month.

Commenting, Scottish Greens rural economy spokesperson John Finnie said: “Up to a fifth of Scotland is given up to this cruel hobby practised by a very small group of people. It is a hobby which tears up and burns our land, it kills all kinds of wildlife, yet the Werrity review couldn’t even recommend licensing.

“What’s worse, the Scottish Government has dragged its heels since. It hasn’t responded to the review, and it hasn’t prevented the mass killing of mountain hares despite parliament and public calling for the species to be protected. Birds of prey, too, continue to disappear, like Tom the Golden Eagle who vanished this week.

“There’s nothing glorious about the 12th of August or about the intensive and damaging killing, burning, and degradation of our landscape that is associated with driven grouse shooting. Scotland’s land needs to be freed up for the economic and social benefit of all of its people and used in ways that contributes to a thriving rural economy and natural environment. It’s time for the Scottish Government to get off the fence, come into the 21st century and end this cruel practice.”

Research by Common Weal shows that if grouse moors were used for almost any other purpose it would have more economic benefit. Forestry, for example, would have an annual economic impact of £973m, creating new jobs for approximately every 42 hectares. This would also tackle the climate emergency due to the carbon-storing value of trees.

Meanwhile, grouse shooting creates £32m, with one job every 330 hectares of land.

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