The world has gone mad, or at least the Scottish Natural Heritage has. What a deceptive name for an organisation that grants licenses to kill a native species! Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has issued a licence giving the go-ahead for the ‘culling’ of hundreds of RAVENS - a scheme driven by game keeping and farming interests - over a large area of Perthshire.
Raptors really are hugely impressive predators. Their incredible vision, effortless aerial acrobatics and ruthless hunting instinct make them the undisputed masters of the skies. They share some common traits like powerful talons to hold and kill prey, a hooked bill to tear flesh from their victims’ bones, and those incredibly graceful flying skills, thanks to powerful wings and aerodynamic tail, and the ability to use thermals, the wind, the lay of the land and stealth to survive. Raptors are now present throughout much of the UK, but remarkably scarce around the upland moors - often referred to as grouse moors.
Driven grouse shooting is pretty much unique to the United Kingdom. Red grouse are often imported from European ‘farms’ before being transported to the UK by sea and road and put out onto upland moors - known as grouse moors - where they are left alone whilst the local wildlife and potential predators are "taken care of" by the gamekeepers before the Grouse are shot for pleasure!
The EU CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) has long been a contentious issue with farmers, landowners and the public and not without good reason. When you take a look at a satellite map of the UK compared to our European neighbours there is undoubtedly something very different about the UK.
In Europe, the lowlands are clearly used for agriculture and food production whilst the uplands are wooded. In the UK, the lowlands, whilst used for agriculture are relatively bare and the uplands are barren. Apart from areas of plantation forest, the UK has no trees in the uplands above around 200 metres.
Gamekeepers on Grouse moors use a large array of devices to capture native wildlife - considered as predators to grouse. Farmed grouse that are reared to be shot for human pleasure! Some of these traps are legal in the UK, others have very specific references for their use. All are ‘deadly killing devices’ that inflict a long and painful death on animal wild or domestic animal they catch.
The season for red grouse shooting starts today. Tens of thousands of red grouse will be shot over the next two months covering the Moors of Britain in rivers of blood. The shooting estates claim that grouse shooting is a traditional field sport but that isn’t true. The claim is similar to that made by the Countryside Alliance to defend fox hunting, but grouse shooting has a terrible impact on the environment and other wildlife to the cost of every taxpayer and 70% of the nation’s homes.
The Estate owners and shooting associations are quick to make huge claims of how the work they do benefits the moorland and the environment. What they don’t mention is that they are paid huge subsidies by the Government (that’s our money) to maintain bio-diverse habitats and ecosystems, rich in flora and fauna, but this is not what they are doing.
The season for red grouse shooting starts today. Tens of thousands of red grouse will be shot over the next two months covering the Moors of Britain in rivers of blood.
The shooting estates claim that grouse shooting is a traditional field sport but that isn’t true. The claim is similar to that made by the Countryside Alliance to defend fox hunting, but grouse shooting has a terrible impact on the environment and other wildlife to the cost of every taxpayer and 70% of the nation’s homes.
In the North of England and Scotland, the shooting of game birds and mammals is widespread. Habitat and 'predator management' are undertaken to increase game abundance and hunting bags and thus profits.
The Grouse moor managers and Gamekeepers claim major conservation benefits as a result of traditional and 'sympathetic' moorland management. They say if the control of generalist predators by gamekeepers ceased, lapwing and golden plover numbers would drop by 81% and curlew by 47% within 10 years.
Game Shooting in the UK or Shame Shooting. Every year around 35 million non native, factory farmed pheasants and partridges are imported into the UK. They are sold to the 300 game shooting estates, an industry that is reported to be worth £1.6 billion to the economy. “One for the pot” is a myth. Many more birds are released each year than the demand for “game” from consumers with around half of the birds never getting within sight of a gun. Far from the claim that they will live a natural wildlife, whilst breeding to support the native population next year; the truth is they die from predation, exposure, starvation and traffic collision. Many of the birds that are shot are simply “tossed” into mass graves after the shoot.