Werritty Review: Revive Coalition responds

Further to the publication of the Werritty Review on grouse moor management this morning (here), the Revive Coalition for grouse moor reform has published a statement:


Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform has voiced its disappointment over what it is calling “a missed opportunity” to improve management practices on grouse moors.

The Scottish Government commissioned Grouse Moor Management Group published its report today (Thursday) led by Professor Alan Werritty. A review of grouse moor management practices was ordered by the Scottish Government in 2017 with a view to introducing a licensing scheme for game-shooting estates. The group was tasked to look at the environmental impact of grouse moor management practices such as muirburn, the use of medicated grit and mountain hare culls and advise on the option of licensing grouse shooting businesses.

Campaign Manager for Revive Max Wiszniewski said: “We are deeply concerned that the Werritty Commission has failed to recognise the severity of the damaging problems with grouse moor management in its current form, and has missed the single biggest opportunity in our generation to take significant action to reform Scotland’s grouse moors for the benefit of our economy, our people, our environment and our wildlife.

Huge swathes of Scotland are grouse moors which, under intense management programmes result in barren landscapes devoid of the majority of naturally occurring flora and fauna. These moors instead are surrounded by a circle of destruction intended to wipe out anything which pose a threat to red grouse, which are effectively farmed to be shot for entertainment.

The report has recommended that a licensing scheme be introduced for the shooting of grouse, within five years from the Scottish Government publishing this report, but only if there is no marked improvement in the ecological sustainability of grouse moor management, as evidenced by the populations of breeding Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers and Peregrines on or within the vicinity of grouse moors being in a favourable condition. On muirburn, mountain hare culling and the use of medicated grit the report recommends increased regulation of these activities.

Max Wiszniewski added: “We are now looking to the Scottish Government to take these recommendations and strengthen them, as currently while there are some positives within the report, overall it is a missed opportunity and a disappointing conclusion to an important and lengthy process.”


7 thoughts on “Werritty Review: Revive Coalition responds”

  1. Against what yardsticks will the looked for ‘marked improvement in the ecological sustainability of grouse moor management’ be assessed?

  2. I have no idea of the background of Professor Veritty, but is it possible he has been wooed by the ‘hail fella well met’ sophisticated and educated sector of the grouse shooting community? The sort who greet you with a posh voice uttering “Well hello old chap, welcome to my moor. Let me take you on a walk round, and I’ll show you the excellent, ground-breaking work we do for conservation. Our mountain hare culls remove this animal in order to protect the heather moors.” He would not mention the ‘excellent’ effort made to wipe out Hen Harriers and other raptors including Peregrines, of course. I haven’t read Prof Verrity’s report yet, but not looking forward to my blood pressure going out of control, judging by reviews so far. These reflected just what I anticipated when the project began. I find it hard to believe this report as described will do anything to protect hen harriers. No half measure is going to compel gamekeepers to stick to the law, when they’re alone on the moor and a harrier approaches.

  3. It would be interesting to see the minutes of the Grouse Moor Management Group meeting (perhaps an FOI request), as well as the data on which this report was based, so we can better understand the reasoning and influences behind the conclusions. From my perspective having only seen the reviews and not the report, it appears to be too little, too late and too slow. From the last summer and autumn it is clear Raptors are still being heavily targeted, which makes me wonder when they stopped taking submissions and what were the major influences – hence the need for an FOI request! . It will then provide the necessary data (I shouldn’t use the word ammunition) to push for stronger action – sooner. I would start with licencing grouse shoots by Jan 2021, and immediate bans on medicated grit, all lethal traps, mountain hare culls plus strong sentencing.

  4. I cannot put into words my disappointment with the Werritty Review. I actually thought that it was independent; but clearly not. I am tired of the mealy mouthed words and the weakness of the people in power to take decisive action to protect their wildlife. I am English, but the environment and the wildlife in Scotland is beyond comparison in the UK. If I think this as an Englishman, why don’t those who live in Scotland value the environment and wildlife that they have? My hope is that the SNP government are brave and take decisive action to take on board the evidence of the Werritty report but come to a different judgement. That is to put an end to the destruction of the indigenous wildlife and explore the many options that the wonderful environment provides to raise funds for the people of Scotland.

    1. The SNP lead Scottish Govt is certainly not our ally. Quite the opposite. They are part of th problem not the solution. They have shown themselves wholly incapable/unwilling to take such environmental issues seriously and the likes of Fergus Ewing serving as Rural Economy Minister says it all. I live in a Scottish constituency blighted by salmon farms – loathed by our local community who time and again petition against the expansion of this hideous industry only for our wishes to be ignored by our local SNP MSP and thwarted by a pro salmon farming industry Scottish Govt. Sadly I see illegal raptor persecution as more of the same – lip service nothing more.

  5. On … the use of medicated grit the Werritty report recommends increased regulation of these activities.


    “For reducing worms, quartz grit is used that has been treated with a thin covering of fat into which an anthelmintic drug is impregnated. This is known as ‘medicated grit’. ” from GWCT.

    Anthelmintics or antihelminthics are a group of antiparasitic drugs that expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body by either stunning or killing them and without causing significant damage to the host. … These drugs are also used to treat infected animals. – Wikipedia

    “The development of nematode and trematode resistance to various groups of anthelmintics is a major problem.

    …resistance is becoming widespread, because relatively few chemically dissimilar groups of anthelmintics have been introduced over the past several decades. Most of the commonly used anthelmintics belong to one of three chemical classes, benzimidazoles, imidazothiazoles, and macrocyclic lactones, within which all individual compounds act in a similar fashion. Thus, resistance to one particular compound may be accompanied by resistance to other members of the group (ie, side-resistance).

    In nematodes of small ruminants, and especially in Haemonchus contortus, resistance to all classes of broad-spectrum anthelmintics has reached serious levels in many parts of the world. Resistance also has been found in Trichostrongylus spp, Cooperia spp, and Teladorsagia spp in sheep and goats. Reports of multiple resistance to most major classes of anthelmintics are increasing. Recently, resistance to monepantel has occurred in the field (New Zealand) in at least two nematode species

    Resistance to benzimidazoles is widespread in cyathostome nematodes of horses. Parascaris equorum resistance to macrocyclic lactones (ivermectin and moxidectin) has been reported in many countries.

    Multidrug (benzimidazoles and macrocyclic lactones) resistance in cattle nematodes has been documented on farms in New Zealand, the Americas, and Europe, and this will probably become more widespread.

    There is a trend among parasitologists to recommend replacing current practice for worm control involving repeated dosing of whole groups of animals with “targeted selective treatments” in which only individual animals showing clinical signs or reduced productivity are given drugs.”

    – Resistance to Anthelmintics
    By Jozef Vercruysse , DVM, Ghent University;
    Edwin Claerebout , DVM, PhD, DEVPC, Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University

    Anthelmintic resistance is a ticking time bomb.

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