Carbon carnage: the real cost of grouse shooting by Lisbet Rausing

An article published by the Standpoint magazine has been doing the rounds on social media in recent days and is causing quite a reaction.

Entitled ‘Carbon carnage: the real cost of grouse shooting‘ it’s authored by Dr Lisbet Rausing, of the famous Tetra Pak family, who is a Trustee of the Corrour Trust, running the Corrour Estate in the Highlands. Not to be confused with her sister, Dr Sigrid Rausing, who owns the nearby Coignafearn Estate in the Monadhliaths and has been an outspoken critic of grouse moor owners who kill golden eagles.

[Dr Lisbet Rausing. Photo from Arcadia Fund]

You don’t have to read very far in to the article to understand Dr Lisbet Rausing’s point of view, nor to realise that she’s widely read and undoubtedly passionate about the environment.

Unfortunately, she has breasts (this makes her a ‘stupid bint’ apparently), she’s a ‘foreigner’ (well, born in Sweden in 1960), and has ‘never done a day’s work in her life’ (er…). These ‘facts’ are, apparently, justification for why Dr Rausing’s opinion isn’t worth listening to, according to various gamekeeper ‘experts’ who’ve been commenting on the article on social media.

No matter that, according to Wikipedia, she has a PhD from Harvard (plus she taught there for eight years), is a senior research fellow at King’s College, holds honorary doctorates from Uppsala University and SOAS, is an elected member of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, an honorary fellow of the British Academy, the Linnean Society, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. No matter that the management team at Corrour Estate is undertaking bold moves to regenerate the land and has impressively transparent conservation and environmental aspirations. No matter that her Arcadia Fund has given over $250 million to help protect nature.

No, she’s got breasts, she wasn’t born in Scotland and she doesn’t like grouse moor management therefore she should be ignored.

For those of you not afraid to embrace change and are keen to see a transitioning estate that’s gradually restoring ecosystems without the need for killing ‘vermin’ or offering driven grouse shooting, get yourselves over to Corrour Estate and support what they’re doing.

25 thoughts on “Carbon carnage: the real cost of grouse shooting by Lisbet Rausing”

    1. Those people are a blight in so many ways.
      Luckily they aren’t representative.

      Out of 50 countries Scotland in 2018 ‘ranked 11th in relation to how welcoming the people of Scotland are’ (down slightly from 9th in 2016)

      Table 7: NBISM Scotland’s reputation for People (2016 and 2018)
      2016 2018
      Rank Score Rank Score
      People Overall 14 65.0 15 66.1
      Make you feel welcome 9 4.8 11 4.9
      Friendly 13 4.9 14 4.9
      Valuable employees 17 4.9 18 5.0

    2. DGS is an outdated Victorian entertainment for a wealthy few. The comments serve to demonstrate that their outmoded mind-set remains, too.

  1. Excellent. It is informative articles like this that keep me coming back to your website time and time again.

    I am very interested to understand what a former grouse moor might look like and what benefits will accrue to the both the local and wider economy once this Victorian pastime, that so clearly relies on illegal practices, is consigned back into history where it belongs.

    I would happily contribute to crowdfunding in support of this initiative but on this occasion I suspect that the Rausing family can manage quite comfortably without my help!

  2. What really pisses me off is the fact that a Rewilding Site is giving these people mentioned above a platform to air their views … as seen over the past couple of days .. and potentially influence newcomers which sites like that attract. Indeed, some days there are more of these types of people promoting their views than there are committed environmentalists to refute them … which happens some of the time but not all of the time. Many people take the view that it is best to ignore them … which leaves the newcomers at the mercy of these old and discredited tropes. Much of it involves driven grouse moors, but not exclusively so.
    People seem to be unaware that when in an asymmetrical struggle with those who have access to many resources unavailable to the conservationists, then policies like these might hinder more than help, no matter how sincere they might be in their goals.
    I apologise if this is seen as off topic but I believe this is fundamental to both campaigns due to the number of new people taking an interest in these issues.

    1. Well said George!! My gut instinct is that if you can hit back you do so, and as you point out it’s called social media for a reason it’s rarely a one to one conversation there are others viewing it and they can be drawn into the lies just by the rest of us withdrawing from ‘debate’. The issue isn’t whether or not you change your opponent’s views – they probably know they’re lying – but let them know they won’t have a free run in spreading their smears, propaganda and outright lies – in fact they could very well blow back in their face, just keep asking the same questions again and again and again, the ones they just can’t answer. The RSPB Scotland FB page can be absolutely terrible for letting trolls come on and use it to denigrate and spread lies about their work. On only one occasion did I see them respond to it – they politely pointed out some published facts in contradiction of the troll. That’s all they would have to do, just facts, but that was incredibly rare, a one off to my knowledge. Ignoring the trolls encouraged them.

      1. I admit to never consciously having seen the RSPB Scotland Facebook site, but I assume they are attempting to convince Government and the pro-shooting side that they are open to debate, even perhaps tolerating abuse for that purpose? )For a while I submitted critical comments, politely, to the GWCT website, but after about five comments they obviously blocked me, I would hope (!) that this was because they had difficulty replying to my criticisms and didn’t want such propaganda on their web site. Not that I expected any of their members to pay much attention to my points of view, but I thought a small minority might find some food for thought. Maybe I was being too optimistic.

  3. I had the privilege (be able to afford, along with many others)to stay a week in a cottage in glenfeshie, near to the lodge, a few years back, the head of the valley is almost Canadian, with the tree regrow this etc. It is stunning compared to other Cairngorm glens. Yes it had gamekeepers, one of which tried to to tell me that there were salmon as high as the lodge in April, when the feshie was ankle (ok knee) deep at the point of the end of the public road. I did drown a few flies but let’s face it when the water is gin clear and even Polaroid’s don’t show any life then it’s more of enjoying the surroundings than getting your tea.

    Similar with Courror had a few day backpacking around there, the valleys are exquisite, with the undergrowth and trees starting to to re-establish, far better than the bleak moors that most of Scotland is.

    These estates that are run by people who have made money and want to put things back get vilified. but they do keep the gamekeepers they do keep the shooting but just don’t guarantee big bags and you always should expect a blank.

    Last year I went to assynt, and one afternoon walking up Stack Polaich, on one of the lochS as you gaze towards Sulliven there is a smal island full of Scots pine, this is in contrast to the deer scoured knock and lochan of the surrounding gneiss. This little island gives an impression as to what Scotland would look like if the deer were culled to an “uneconomical” level.

  4. How low can these bloody gamekeepers sink? The ones who made the comments quoted are clearly the scum of the earth. I can imagine them regarding ornithologists similarly, especially raptor workers and worse of all, harrier workers. Still, it can’t be bad for our cause, because the gamekeepers are openly showing their true colours. I wonder if Professor Werritty has read their disgusting comments, about a woman who cares deeply about the fate of hen harriers on grouse moors. She deserves a medal.

    1. I also wonder why he didn’t ask to visit some of the estates with the worst raptor crime and without invitation. Just turn up and ask to inspect. If he was refused then go to the next. From the group meeting notes we can see he went to moors he was invited to. I would have some respect for him and the group if they had really tried to dig behind the spin. I know he was intelligent enough to know what was really going on but he never seems to look the demon in the face. Did he never try to get to meet the criminals and their masters? I see that as sign of psychological bias.
      Psychological bias is demonstrated elsewhere, in one passage, after one of his trips, he applauds the long distances and rough terrain that gamekeepers have to travel to set their traps. WTF. What does that have to do with anything and why waste those words on a one page summary of a whole meeting? Was it meant to impress someone? Many, many cruel and terrible acts have been done by people exerting themselves, it has no relevance to the rights and wrongs of the action. In fact Betrand Russell argued the opposite In Praise of Idleness
      The title of the report gives away the bias that grouse moors need to be shown how to be sustainable not ‘if they can be sustainable and if so how’. That wasn’t Werriity but the government but as RPUK points out above, a ban was not only ruled out of the remit but ruled out as a option at all. That is factually and thereby scientifically flawed. A whole strand of future possibilities wiped out with a couple of words. Likewise his comment about predator control by keepers shows total disregard for what i am sure is a huge percentage of the population, who find traps of any kind abhorrent. I personally understand that we may have to put this issue aside in order to progress on other aspects and i know many comments BTL feel strongly about this but to ignore these views as though they are views of a fringe is insulting and not exactly treating this as a conflict resolution issue.
      It seems that conflict resolution is also biased. Surely we should assume that the scientists are non biased, then we have 2 grouse shooting supporters on the board. We should then have had 2 people opposed to grouse shooting on the group. One totally opposed to killing of any kind and someone like Ruth who is science lead. That would have been fair. Right now this report has resolved nothing!!!
      Werritty also talks about wanting to have both sides of the ‘argument’ in his group. I wrote before that it isn’t an argument it is a criminal activity and the logical conclusion is that extreme of one side is criminal and i would argue that any one on that side of the ‘argument’ is supporting raptor crime. But ignoring that, how can he claim that the scientists in the group were on one side of an argument? When did we get to this state that scientists had to be put on one side of the scales. What exactly are the people on the other side of the scales from scientists? What do you call them? This is flat earth, climate denial stuff.

  5. Excellent article. I see Dr Rausing quotes figures for CO2 emissions from burning grouse moors:-

    “Scotland’s grouse moors—the pleasure ground for a few thousand men—emit about 10m tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. That is nearly double the amount emitted by all the homes in Scotland.”

    Any idea where these figures quoted come from? It would be useful to know.

    1. Absolutely agree Alister – it’s an excellent article. Passionate and eloquent – but it’s crying out for references to back up the text.

  6. Having been a frequent visitor to Rannoch Moor and the Corrour area in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s I was especially interested to follow the changes being made to Corrour. The transformation taking place is a delight to behold. It is the product of enlightenment.
    I urge everyone to read about Lisbet Rausing and the thinking behind restoring a balanced natural environment.

  7. At the same time as being incredibly grateful to these individuals, the Rausings and the Povlsens, I find it incredibly frustrating that a very large proportion of the genuine rewilding taking place here is down to the good nature of a handful of Scandinavian billionaires. The rather predictable abuse being heaped on Lisbeth Rausing means disgust has to added to the frustration too. What a double shame for Scotland.

      1. That’s one hell of a bloody good point Dougie!! Way past time they should be getting more public acknowledgement from our elected representatives, after they’ve put massive resources into genuinely helping Scotland’s communities, land and wildlife – as opposed to those that have used public and private money to turn vast swathes of this country into an ecological and economic slum for stupid hobbies. How could any MSP legitimately wriggle out of commending these people for what they’ve done for our country?

    1. Don’t forget Trees for Life; Borders Forest Trust and the John Muir Trust. Also I hope the Langholm Moor sale goes through to the local community – which is crowd-funding I believe. Check out their websites.

      1. Yes they’re excellent, but are battling against constant smears and interference from the estates – this makes their achievements all the greater, I certainly didn’t mean to belittle them, but there needs to be more support for their objectives from Scotland and not nowhere near as much dependence on decent Scandinavians for getting what we want and need. Would the Cairngorms Connect project be possible at all without them?

      2. In my experience, ‘rewilding’ Is being exploited by some tree planting groups and public bodies as an excuse to acquire funding. However locally I find that trees are being planted extensively on valuable rich grasslands, peat areas and important habitats for small mammals, insects and predatory raptors like Hen Harriers, Buzzards and Kestrels. A few years after planting and most of the former wildlife has disappeared. I do agree rewilding is an honourable objective, but on “improved’ grasslands, not the ecologically rich ones. Some of the self-appointed ‘Ecological Consultants’ produce rather poor ecological assessments of a site, often pressured to produce quick results based on superficial research.

        1. Yes that does happen! In our wood the council ecologist insisted on tree planting in an open area within it that was relatively dry and a sunspot so was especially good for warmth loving invertebrates and ground flora. Was a bit pissed off with that!! My main thing though is where tree planting is carried out even in a good site it’s usually bloody awful. Chuck in as many trees as possible in a tight space, enclose them in plastic tubes and then walk away. You end up with a patch of extremely dense and scrawny saplings that can’t even support a bird’s nest and so dark there’s no ground flora. Utter crap, but this is the standard!!! We need fewer trees, but more species planted, shrubs like dog and guelder rose planted too as well climbers like honeysuckle and ivy. Plugs and seed of native ground flora should be added in spaces that have been left open and dead wood should be brought in as it’s immensely important. In 2019 we need to be planting real woodland as opposed to just trees. The Woodland Trust and other orgs certainly aren’t breaking new ground in this like they need to. The bog standard community tree planting ‘event’ is pretty uninspiring these days, teaches participants sod all about woodland ecology or real conservation.

  8. I hope the family can generate some accurate figures on the economics of DGS, follow the money, and show the benefit locally at town and village level.

  9. To much emphasis on breasts” thank you very much’ no doubt an inteligent lady and very learned, just a pity the likes of herself and the upland landowners cant work together is it realy nesecary for these organisations to be on slanging terms constantly input from both would surely benefit all?

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