Radio debate on banning driven grouse shooting

BBC radio 4 farming todayThere was an entertaining six minute debate on this morning’s Farming Today, pitting Mark Avery against Andrew Gilruth on the subject of banning driven grouse shooting.

You’d think that G(W)CT would have a scientific representative to speak on their behalf. Apparently not. Instead they gave us someone who refused to acknowledge that driven grouse shooting causes any sort of environmental damage at all, and who advocates that all moorland in England should be intensively managed a la driven grouse moors. Mark wiped the floor with him.

You can listen here for the next 29 days (starts at 07.21).

Petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE

17 thoughts on “Radio debate on banning driven grouse shooting”

  1. Not sure I would describe it as a floor wipe. I think the BBC interviewer did more of the floor wiping if any that took part. Too big an issue to be objectively looked at in a 6 minute radio sound bite. Keep up the pressure. Reg

  2. A pity Mark didn’t have more time to wipe him harder! Andrew Gilruth being as disingenuous as you’d expect him to be! If you wipe out every natural predator you will get increases of their prey species won’t you. Hardly ecologically balanced though!

    1. Andy, you are in serious danger of being accused of having a “closed mind”, or of being “blinkered”!

      What you have stated is perfectly true – if you eradicate all predators, then the prey species are bound to flourish, creating a seriously imbalanced and degraded ecosystem. The fact that the shooting industry apologists fail to understand that perhaps, just perhaps, that if the decades of intensive predator extermination was to stop, and the predators were again able to exist alongside the prey species, then it is entirely natural that a true balance will eventually arise. However, this does not fit in with the shooting industry’s blatant lies and propaganda, so they will use wader declines (which is actually a recovery of the necessary predators to regulate a natural balance) and deviously manipulate this for their own ends.

      If they had such concerns about wader numbers, then why are they still shooting them?

      As for Andrew Gilruth, you have managed to describe him to a tee. He appears very keen to force his views, but once he is challenged on his beliefs, or if he has been severely trounced in a debate, he will evade questioning at all costs, to the extent that he will simply refuse to provide any response whatsoever. But then again, that does seem to be the norm for the league of liars that tend to represent the shooting industry.

      1. Yes you’d think from listening to the shooting sector the only threatened species in Britain happen to be waders, oh and of course grouse which if they aren’t at densities requiring medicated grit are ‘under threat’. Would be good to know what other rare and declining species CAN’T live on grouse moors (could someone in the know compile a list, good to throw back at MA, GWCT etc.), but would if they were more natural – patches of scrub and trees, wetter areas, varied vegetation and of course no systematic persecution legal or otherwise. Must be an awful, awful lot of amber and red listed species suffering because of grouse moors, even in our so called National Parks. Thousands and thousands of hectares that could be prime wildlife habitat, but isn’t.

  3. I’m a great admirer of Mark usually, unfortunately I think in this recent radio interview he seemed too laid back and lacked lustre, he by no means pushed his points across very convincingly. On the other hand Andrew Gilruth countered everything Mark said to my mind more forcefully, (even if I don’t happen to agree with him). If I was a member of the public who knew little and probably cared about the same amount about the problems caused by driven grouse shooting, (and these are the people we have to convince), I would probably have tuned the radio to another station.

  4. So much more needed to be said! The grouse moor management is about monoculture to produce gun fodder. Driven game shooting is, so, primitive. Certainly not a civilised activity.

    Water pollution from lead doesn’t get a mention but scattering tonnes of lead on acid ground must get into our water supplies!

    1. Yes Douglas, Imagine the amount of TOXIC lead that sits in the ground, particularly on those grouse estates that have been shot on for decades. Tonnes of poison, slowly degrading into the ground, not to mention the birds that ingest it. DEFRA actually officially describes lead as a TOXIC substance and yet as long as you scatter it across the countryside via a plastic gun cartridge then it is perfectly okay to pollute the environment with this poison.

    2. Valid point.
      There is a small pheasant shoot near me with only 12 days driven shooting every Nov/Dec/Jan. (Been going on for over 20 years). Each shooting day there is, on average, about 500 – 600 shots fired.
      Around 7000 cartridges discharged every season just for the pheasants ?? That is a lot of lead.
      Add the effect (never assessed anywhere as far as I know) of releasing thousands of pheasants into the wild needs some serious investigation.

  5. Sorry but I found that interview most unsatisfactory. I’m on Mark Avery’s side, but the debate was too superficial, largely due to time constraints or poor editing. I certainly don’t want to criticise Mark as he is mainly responsible for bringing this issue constructively into the public domain, and I feel grateful to him as a result. I couldn’t better his efforts, and hope to participate in Hen Harrier Day in Scotland. However from a general listener’s point of view (I tried to imagine myself to be one), there was too much petty squabbling about issues which would be almost meaningless to most people. Your average listener wouldn’t know a Golden Plover from a golden pullover, far less be able to decide who was correct regarding the value of burnt heather for it. To be fair to Mark, this obfuscation came mainly from Gilruth’s side. The real meat of the argument is down to societal ethics, and I think Mark would have wiped the floor with his opponent if he had been allowed to focus on that aspect. The interview (or the editing) seemed to deliberately avoid the subject of the widespread death and destruction inflicted upon what game managers regard as “peripheral blight,” e.g. Hen Harriers, Buzzards, Short-eared Owls, Foxes, Stoats and even Mountain Hares. Also missed out was any discussion regarding the ethics of vast tracts of Scottish land being owned by foreign interests, or offshore hedge funds helping the global super-rich to avoid paying taxes. Gilruth’s conjecture that moorlands are important wildlife habitats due to grouse shooting is both false and disingenuous; the truth is that any existing wildlife value has survived despite the ravages of grouse moor management. Having become intimate with Hen Harrier breeding habitat over the past twenty years or so, it has opened my eyes to the degraded state of this so-called “carefully managed” moorland. The damage done to blanket bog structure and vegetation by burning has to be seen to be believed. I’m happy to have tourists coming to Scotland to appreciate and enjoy our landscapes and wildlife, but it’s time to get rid of the blight that is grouse shooting, driven or otherwise, and manage our uplands sustainably.

  6. My advice is to prepare for a serious fight. The grouse shooting industry and social class has the establishment firmly on its side, and plenty of well-paid tame scientists, therefore the power and wealth to smear us into the ground like a midge on their skin. Their hunting culture is important enough to them that they will go to any lengths to preserve it. They have already demonstrated an ability to tell blatant lies and deny the truth regarding the damage done to the environment and our native wildlife by their practices, and they’re not even out of first gear. Ultimately they can only be defeated by popular public opinion and democratic political action, and I firmly believe that can’t possibly be attained without the RSPB taking a much firmer stance against wildlife shooting in general, and the ending of grouse moor management in particular. Unfortunately the RSPB has some strong links to the establishment itself. How can we change that?

    1. You appeal directly to the general membership of the RSPB and motivate them to bring this national scandal to an end. Squash any prevarication by those too timid or ‘in the pocket’ of the estate owners through the AGM!

  7. Not a chance of driven Grouse shooting being banned under this government. We’ll be lucky if all our BOP’s still have full protection in 5 years!!

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