Grouse moor report shows industry ‘out of control’ says Mark Ruskell MSP

Last week two new reports were published that suggested up to a quarter of a million animals are killed in traps and snares on Scottish grouse moors every year (see here).

Commissioned and published by the League Against Cruel Sports (Scotland) as part of the Revive coalition for grouse moor reform, the grouse shooting industry has responded as it usually does when anyone dares to question its shocking environmental and animal welfare record – by attacking the integrity of the reports’ authors.

However, Mark Ruskell MSP, environment spokesman for the Scottish Greens, had this to say about the new research:

This report is absolutely shocking and reveals an industry completely out of control. No amount of attempts to discredit it can hide the sheer scale of damage done to Scotland’s environment by this cruel hobby.

This revelation comes after yet more reports of birds of prey vanishing or found killed around grouse moors, and an open season on mountain hares that should never have gone ahead. The Scottish Government has failed to act, and has sat on its response to the Werrity review since February. It’s time for ministers to come out of hiding and call time on this annual damage, killing, burning, and degradation of our landscape.”

He’s right, of course. Except that the Scottish Government has sat on its response to the Werritty Review for longer than since February. The Werritty Review was submitted to the Scottish Government on 18 November 2019.

The two new reports, ‘Calculating Cruelty’ and ‘Hanged by the Feet until Dead’ can be downloaded below:

Calculating Cruelty

Hanged by the Feet until Dead


You can help apply pressure to urge political action be taken against the legal and illegal atrocities of grouse moor management. An e-action was launched two weeks ago by three organisations: Wild Justice, the RSPB and Hen Harrier Action. All you need to do is enter your postcode and a polite, pre-written email will automatically be sent to your parliamentary representative asking them to stop ignoring this issue.

So far, an incredible 76,000 people have signed up. The e-action expires next weekend. Please sign up HERE and pass this link on to others.

Thank you


9 thoughts on “Grouse moor report shows industry ‘out of control’ says Mark Ruskell MSP”

  1. And how does this despicable industry dispose of all of the bodies of those poor trapped animals?

    And how does this despicable industry dispose of the bodies of young pheasants which die whilst being held captive or under the care of shooting estates?

    And how does this despicable industry dispose of the unwanted bodies of game and wild fowl shot by their clients?

    It’s a lot of dead animals to dispose of.

    I bet they don’t dispose of the vast majority of them by legal, authorised means. I’m certain that most of those bodies are tossed into the surrounding vegetation or used in stink pits or buried in pits.

    Legally, these waste animal bodies should be disposed of in secure waste containers and removed by authorised waste companies providing copies of waste transfer notes to the companies which should be kept for 2 years as a record of legal disposal by both parties.

    I wonder how many inspections on shooting estate premises the EA and SNH have undertaken?

    1. Last December I spoke to someone who’d worked on a grouse moor when they were younger and one of their jobs had been after the shoot to take away the unwanted grouse and throw them into the heather one at a time from their trundling ATV.

    2. One of the disgusting things about the management of grouse moors is that they are exempt from many of the rules about disposing of dead stock. They can just dig a pit and dump the bodies of their carnage in them not even covered. They can surround those stink pits to lure carrion eaters to a snare or trap
      Any farmer doing this would be prosecuted.

      1. No they can’t simply dump dead birds like that. These birds (as we’re repeatedly told) are shot for human consumption. They can change their mind once the bird has been shot, but at that point they become animal by-products and are regulated under the Animal By-Products Regulations. Those regulations stipulate the authorised means of disposal. None of the authorised waste methods allow disposal above ground and the few tiny exceptions which allow deep burial there are rules which should be observed.

        As for the stink pits, even the NGO’s legal advisor agrees that game birds should not be used in stink pits but this advice seems to be ignored by many estates.

  2. The wanton, extensive and barbaric killing of animals and birds in support of commercial game shooting can rightly be described as proof of an industry out of control.

    However, this wretched situation is staggeringly aggravated as a result of wilful failure by the Scottish Government to terminate a thoroughly shameful state of affairs.

    The immoral killing, cruelty and criminality is preventable. That it has not been prevented, and not looking like it will be prevented, is the overwhelming responsibility of those sitting in government seats in Holyrood.

    The government seem to consider it acceptable to play fast and loose with the wildlife of this country. That was not part of the mandate.

  3. It is an industry that is not only out of control but those involved are above the law. This needs to be rectified and the laws should be enforced rigidly.

  4. I will not work for the SNP until they address the issue. My MSP and my local SNP branch are aware of my position. Implement Werritty now, protect Mountain hares and protect our iconic wildlife NOW!

  5. One thing which has surprised me in the reaction to these reports is the almost total absence of comment about the horrendous slaughter of non-target species. Whilst fully accepting that, morally, it is a crime that any of the 250,000 are victims of these barbarians, how can it be that they are getting away with killing something like 120,000 protected animals each year? Maybe there has been an absence of hard evidence and it is to be hoped that, somewhat belatedly, the lawmakers address this issue now that there is seemingly indisputable proof of what is going on. I have suggested previously that, so far as birds are concerned, a quick fix would be to add ‘or recklessly’ after ‘intentionally’ in Section 1(1) of the WCA..

    1. I agree with you.

      Personally I favour OneKind’s position of a total ban but, in the absence of that, the laws need to be tightened. There are far too many loopholes.

      As with snares in Scotland, ALL traps and snares should be identifiable to an individual and records, when in use, should be kept of times and dates inspected and issues of concern (eg non-target animal caught, removal of damaged traps or snares etc).

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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: