North Yorks Tory candidate thinks grouse shooting is ace

Kevin HollinrakeKevin Hollinrake is the Conservative’s prospective parliamentary candidate, standing in the next general election for the Thirsk & Malton constituency, a Tory ‘safe seat’ in North Yorkshire.

Kevin Hollinrake is an estate agent.

Here are his views on grouse shooting in North Yorkshire, as reported in a local newspaper yesterday:

GROUSE shooting on the North Yorkshire Moors is worth millions of pounds to the local economy, says Kevin Hollinrake, prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Thirsk and Malton, much of which covers the moors.

Speaking at a meeting with landowners, managers and gamekeepers at Lastingham, he said that grouse moor management was worth some £67 million and provided some 1,500 jobs, as well as safeguarding 860,000 acres of heather moorland.

He praised a £52.5 million annual spend on conservation on the moors, adding that the Moorland Association had played a key part in DEFRA’S hen harrier recovery plan, and lobbied for a crack down on wildlife crime.

We have in this country, 75 percent of what is left of the world’s heather moorland. Shooting creates the necessary income for its upkeep, along with 42,500 days of work a year.

“It benefits many rural people, from food suppliers to hoteliers and clothing manufacturers to dry stone wallers. When calls are made to ban or licence driven grouse shooting, thought is seldom given to the harmful consequences to rural economies and conservation.”


It’s good that he’s lobbying for a crack down on wildlife crime – North Yorkshire is recognised as the worst county in the UK for reported raptor persecution incidents, a title it has held for six of the past seven years (see here), so he’s got his work cut out. It is, of course, purely coincidental that the dominant land-use in North Yorkshire is driven grouse shooting.

In the same article, the following appears:

Robert Benson, chairman of the Moorland Association, said that thanks to careful moorland management and co-operation of gamekeepers, had led to the successful fledgling of 16 hen harrier chicks.

On the North York Moors we have seen notable improvements in a number of other ‘at risk’ species, such as endangered lapwing, curlew and ring ouzel. Breeding records for merlin are four times more abundant where there are game keepers.”

Mr Benson said peatland habitats, damaged by wildfires, bracken, over-grazing and historic drainage, had been restored. “This helps capture carbon and improve water quality,” he added.

Without the work and passion of our gamekeepers and land managers, working in tandem with farmers, many moors would revert to scrub and be lost to all those who depend on them.”


Surely Mr Benson isn’t trying to suggest that the fledging of 16 hen harrier chicks last year can be hailed as some sort of success? It’s “thanks to careful moorland management and co-operation of gamekeepers” that only four hen harrier nests in the whole of England managed to produce young last year (none of which were on grouse moors in North Yorkshire) – what happened to the other 300+ pairs? Perhaps Mr Benson needs a new soundbite: “Breeding records for hen harriers are 75 times less abundant where there are gamekeepers”.

If you think Mr Hollinrake and Mr Benson are talking out of their arses, you can join 20,767 others who have signed a petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE

7 thoughts on “North Yorks Tory candidate thinks grouse shooting is ace”

  1. Kevin Hollinrake is entitled to his misguided opinion, he is after all trying to win votes from that (black hole for wildlife) area. But it doesn’t alter the fact that gamekeepers are historically and, it appears currently, the biggest threat to our natural wildlife.

  2. Given that grouse moors are responsible for everything from significant carbon emissions, enhanced flooding risk, higher water treatment costs, sedimentation in streams (not good for fish anglers!) according to the EMBER report, and common sense to be honest then there is a very strong case for environmental organisations to back and promote the petition on Driven Grouse Shooting. Of course there is biodiversity, a ‘natural’ habitat that isn’t, a virtual monoculture where trees and even worse SCRUB are evil according to the moronic Moorland Association, mountain hares are slaughtered because they might affect disease prone over abundant grouse, and of course the poisoning, shooting, trapping and nest destruction of birds of prey. All because some people want to stand around and blast as many birds out of the sky as possible. Can anyone name a grosser example of environmental mismanagement, contempt of wildlife and the public interest than that in this country?

    I’m currently in the process of trying to get Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace UK and the Scottish Green Party to ask their members to support Mark Avery’s epetition. Can all of us do our best to ask orgs we are involved in to back this campaign to the hilt? I know that Friends of the Earth south of the border backed the campaign to allow beavers on the river Otter in Devon to stay there, rightly and successfully, so very appropriate they make this a high profile initiative. To be honest I think it wil be pretty poor and something our opponents will crow about if the numbers don’t creep up much between now and the 30th of March, Mark has done a brilliant job and although the current number of ‘signees’ is good, it deserves a lot more. I think it’s possible to get 100,000 plus between now and the close on the 30th of March – honestly, can be done if prominent orgs give this the profile it deserves. The inadequates who are prepared to delude themselves and lie to others that grouse moors and their attendant and disgusting stupidities are in any way a cultural, aesthetic or worst of all a wildlife asset to this country need to be publicly unmasked and humiliated. We currently have something that can deliver that so let’s push it as much as we possibly can – dam sight better than gnashing our teeth in frustration! Will get off my wee soapbox now.

  3. My home is surrounded by a shoot. I see exactly what goes on. These people decimate the wild life and have no thought for real conservation. It’s all about social climbing by mindless morons. It’s sickening to witness for any decent intelligent human being. These idiots are ruining our country on every level and it’s time they were stopped.

  4. It’s so saddening that Mark’s petition is struggling to rise much above 20,000. If the RSPB gave it proper support and heartfelt promotion, the signatures would rise ten-fold. Absolute shame on the RSPB, in my view. I know they do a lot of good work but I suppose that as long as they have royal patronage they will have no real input into this particular debate.

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