Free chemotherapy when you eat red grouse

ChemoFurther to our expose earlier this year on the unregulated use of medicated grit to treat parasitic worms in red grouse and how this pharmaceutical drug could be getting in to the human food chain  (see here), this practice is now coming under further scrutiny, much to the annoyance of the GWCT.

Two guest blogs on Mark Avery’s blog (see here and here) provide reports from a recent GWCT grouse seminar where this topic was discussed.

It seems that in addition to the unregulated use of medicated grit on grouse moors across the UK uplands, the direct dosing of red grouse with another powerful drug has been a regular feature of grouse moor management for years, and the drug being used turns out to be one used in chemotherapy for victims of colon cancer.

You might expect that the use of this drug (Levamisole hydrochloride) would be closely monitored….but then again, if you’ve been following the medicated grit scandal, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that not only is its use un-monitored, but the statutory agencies (Natural England & SNH) actually permit its use during the grouse-shooting season.

That’s incredible! Legally, there should be a period of at least 28 days between the time the drug is administered (forced down the grouse’s throat with a tube) and the time that bird is available to be shot. This period allows for the drug to pass through the grouse and ‘disappear’ so that when the grouse is shot and it enters the human food chain, there should be no trace of the drug. So technically (legally), all medication should end by the middle of July, prior to the start of the grouse-shooting season on 12th August. But according to Natural England, medication can only legally be given DURING the grouse-shooting season! Eh? SNH also allows for grouse to be medicated during the shooting season.

So, if you eat red grouse not only might you find yourself eating poisonous toxic lead from the ammunition used to kill the bird, and an anti-parasitic wormer drug given to the grouse via medicated grit, but you might also get a free dose of chemotherapy! So much for the claims of red grouse being ‘healthy and natural’ to eat, as SNH and the Environment Minister told us earlier this year (see here and here).

It’s no wonder the Director of Research at GWCT, Professor Nick Sotherton, told the audience at the grouse seminar that he wanted to keep all this ‘under the radar’ so as not to alert the authorities. Ooops….

10 thoughts on “Free chemotherapy when you eat red grouse”

  1. Dear SNH
    What is the safe dose for a Golden Eagle, what are the effects on breeding/fecundity…? And what scientific evidence do you use to support the decision to allow the use of un-licenced and un-monitored medicines on SSSI’s…… if its allowed on an SPA then can we see the Habitats Regulation Assessment?

  2. …and of course the philanthropic Shooting Community are donating excess game meat to food banks! Just the sort of people who need exposure to unknown risks.

    1. yep you prise its beak open and stick the syringe as far down its throat as you can get it, you rub its throat to induce it to swallow, what do you honestly believe the grouse waits for the choo choo train to come into the tunnel

    2. The keepers catch them at night, using lamps. The birds are reluctant to take off and are easily caught in a net or even by hand. Then they are “medicated” and released back into the heather. Just another part of this “natural” sporting industry!

  3. I read this twice, seriously unbelievable. You couldn’t make this up could you. Have shared it and took pleasure in using the hashtag #GBgameweek.

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