‘Grouse season must be the last seen in Scotland’ say Scottish Greens

Press release from Scottish Greens, 12 August 2020


The driven grouse shooting season which begins today must be the last seen in Scotland, the Scottish Greens have said.

The cruel Victorian hobby, enjoyed by very few people, was the subject of a two-year review led by Professor Alan Werrity which reported in January. Despite the fact its recommendations appeared to have been watered down at the request of landed interests, the Scottish Government has yet to respond.

[Grouse butts on a grouse moor in the Cairngorms National Park. Photo by Ruth Tingay]

The Scottish Government also failed to act to prevent the mass killing of mountain hares in preparation for today, despite parliament backing Alison Johnstone’s amendment to the wildlife bill to protect the species last month.

Commenting, Scottish Greens rural economy spokesperson John Finnie said: “Up to a fifth of Scotland is given up to this cruel hobby practised by a very small group of people. It is a hobby which tears up and burns our land, it kills all kinds of wildlife, yet the Werrity review couldn’t even recommend licensing.

What’s worse, the Scottish Government has dragged its heels since. It hasn’t responded to the review, and it hasn’t prevented the mass killing of mountain hares despite parliament and public calling for the species to be protected. Birds of prey, too, continue to disappear, like Tom the Golden Eagle who vanished this week.

There’s nothing glorious about the 12th of August or about the intensive and damaging killing, burning, and degradation of our landscape that is associated with driven grouse shooting. Scotland’s land needs to be freed up for the economic and social benefit of all of its people and used in ways that contributes to a thriving rural economy and natural environment. It’s time for the Scottish Government to get off the fence, come into the 21st century and end this cruel practice.”

Research by Common Weal shows that if grouse moors were used for almost any other purpose it would have more economic benefit. Forestry, for example, would have an annual economic impact of £973m, creating new jobs for approximately every 42 hectares. This would also tackle the climate emergency due to the carbon-storing value of trees.

Meanwhile, grouse shooting creates £32m, with one job every 330 hectares of land.


14 thoughts on “‘Grouse season must be the last seen in Scotland’ say Scottish Greens”

  1. The only glorious thing about August 12th is that it is my birthday….and I absolutely hate that I share the day with the commencement of this ghastly barbaric hobby. It does somewhat for me, spoil an otherwise fairly positive occasion.

  2. How are the shooters taken to the butts??? Are they all from one family…I think not. Are they taking one vehicle each….I think not.
    xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

  3. “The driven grouse shooting season which begins today must be the last seen in Scotland, the Scottish Greens have said.”

    That would be a very fine milestone to set foot on.

    Unfortunately the Greens assist in propping up the yellow backs and thereby assist the very people who are failing to act against those who are at the source of rampant wildlife crime.

    1. Presume by “Yellow backs” you mean the SNP. Do you expect the Greens to “prop up” an unlikely alliance of Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and Independents then?

      1. I mean the Sc. Gov. “Yellowbacks” because they lack the spine to tackle the criminals and their masters.

  4. The only problem with converting the land to the growing of timber is that it would be a bottomless cash pit – trees simply cannot be grown commercially on such poor quality soil, nor at such altitude. Who ever says different, simply doesn’t understand silviculture.

    1. Why should they be converted to woodland? How about managing them for a wide variety of native species, with a varied landscape, and protections for the special habitat? Who’s going to pay for it? Possibly the public purse: the amount would be, effectively and comparatively, peanuts – although I wouldn’t suggest that as a crop.

      1. Most moorland not used for shooting has potential for wildlife and eco-tourism. Rewilding and species protection, along with managed forestry with our native trees, could bring in more money than shooting. Maybe gamekeepers could turn conservationists and provide the habitat management and guiding skills we need for this kind of enterprise. After all, that magnificent naturalist, Sir Peter Scott, as a wildfowler once.

    2. Hi Alec – you should visit parts of southern Scotland and see just where Sitka has been planted, then. OK – it may not be growing well, but that hasn’t stopped it happening, sadly.

  5. Fed up writing to ScotGov on these issues. Am now cancelling SNP membership and will vote Greens- as long as you continue to support Independence.

  6. I am giving the SNP just two more months to end this slaughter of our iconic species, raptors and mountain hares, to protect grouse. No one from the shooting community has denied that grouse moor owners require greater and greater numbers of grouse to make their shooting estates more profitable. Studies show that a natural moorland would hold a population of around 4 or 5 pairs of grouse per hectare. An article in the Economist said that driven grouse shoots would not take place unless there were 20 pairs or more. It is clear that these large populations can only be sustained if predators and competitors for food are exterminated. Common Weal have made clear their opinion that more money could accrue to the Scottish economy if shooting on the moors were to end and the environment “mined” for eco-tourism. Wildlife crime and Raptor persecution are not reducing. Time to act and licence grouse moors, NOW!

  7. Would licensing work? Who would police it? Who would fund it? Given the cost of a shotgun (marginally higher in Scotland than England) which we are told in no way covers the actual cost of issue then there would need to be a full cost recovery plus say 20% to run the independent service? Archaic pastimes such as wildlife slaughter needs to contribute to the economy not bleed the public purse for private profit. I’d also challenge the necessity to subsidise/support large grouse shooting estates when there is no ddemonstrable public or environmental benefit derived from this type of land use.

  8. I do not think licensing is the answer. Politicians like to be all things to all people. They didn’t ban mountain hare culling, they are going to license it but they are not going to police it. In 2011 they licensed seal shooting but they have never policed those licences, leaving it to the shooters to make “honesty box” returns on the numbers of seals shot. Fox hunting was not banned but the deliberate killing of foxes with dogs was. However the authorities have never policed that law. Deliberate killing of raptors was made illegal but the killing continues. The only way to stop that, and the legal persecution of numerous other species of native animals and birds, is to remove the reason these animals are killed. You do that with a total ban on driven grouse shooting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: