Well, this is interesting.
The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) has written a blog (here) and published a position statement on the management of driven grouse moors.
This is really encouraging. Even though the BMC is advocating the ‘regulation’ of driven grouse shooting, which presumably means licensing rather than a ban, and there are well rehearsed arguments for and against this approach, that’s not the point here.
The point is, the BMC has felt the need to first consider and then publish a position statement and its position is very clearly against the status quo. That’s brilliant.
The BMC is the national representative body that champions the interests of climbers, hill walkers, mountaineers and ski mountaineers in England and Wales. It’s an organisation with over 85,000 members including individuals and more than 250 BMC-affiliated clubs. That’s quite a substantial reach.
Which organisation, beyond the usual conservation bodies, will be the next to make a stand?
10 thoughts on “British Mountaineering Council publishes position statement on driven grouse shooting”
Noticed this yesterday. It’s a very encouraging development in raising awareness. Walkers in particular might start to see the endless moors of the English uplands as a political landscape rather than their ‘natural state’. A true landscape managed for death.
It will be interesting to see what press coverage this gets both within the outdoor community and Fleet Street. Hopefully it will encourage other organisations; cycling especially mountain biking, caving(think water courses), horse riding, paragliding, angling (especially those who like the fishing off the beaten track) to take a similar position. Perhaps members of such organisations should write to their leaderships too. It will hopefully turn the snowball into an avalanche!
Regarding the on-going email campaign ; please keep writing especially if your MP or MSP is a Tory. They are going to be most resistant to change and need more encouragement to do so.
As a BMC member I am pleased. Hopefully it will be front and centre in their next newsletter.
I am not sure cycling could get something together. Mountain bikers arent overly represented on the two main cycling organisations and whilst Cycling UK does good work it is narrowly focused and British cycling even more so on competitive road riding. Will try with Cycling UK though.
Arguments made by the shooting industry in support of grouse shooting highlight its purported importance for the rural economy in rural Scotland and northern England. This is important in highlighting that there are large numbers of people who use the uplands for leisure purposes other than shooting who also make a substantial contribution to the economy and who do not appreciate the harm done by intensive management practices on grouse moors. I find it particularly interesting that they mention large areas of heather monoculture as a harmful thing as this is often presumed to be a feature of the landscape that is somehow vital to tourism.
Any and EVERY organisation that is prepared to object publicly to the status quo on Grouse Moors is to be welcomed! Sadly the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) currently has a determined stance to “remain independent” and provide unbiased data, so they will not campaign on any issue….to an extent, its understandable, with a reasonable rationale, but when it comes to something that is so blatantly bad – it would be lovely to get more organisations actually telling it like it is! The Moors – The Merrier!!
The BTO considers itself “impartial”……….raptor persecution is rather a really a very small dot when considered to the big carbon/ corportae/consumption stories which BTO also chooses not to address..rather cosy really.
The BTO provides data and nobody disputes its accuracy. They are not, should not be, and never will be, a campaigning organisation.
The day they take sides is the day that they cease to be seen as an honest broker. Does anyone trust GWCT to be impartial?
I completely agree with you Simon and was therefore surprised and extremely disappointed to find that the outgoing CEO of the BTO chaired the Scientific Advisory Board that advised Natural England and cleared the way for the highly contentious, Hen Harrier brood-management project which is still being challenged in the courts.
Well done BMC for your unequivocal position on raptor persecution. We also need moorland managers to stop murdering stoats and weasles. These animals are lured across streams via strategically placed logs and into traps which kill them. Another cruelty.
The fact that the BMC have publicised its stance on grouse moors is indeed welcome.
As other commentators have stated, we need more organisations with an interest in the outdoors to also publish their stance on this issue.
This is important, as these various organisations represent many members of the public who use and visit the great outdoors for recreational purposes.
I understand tourism just to the Yorkshire Dales alone was worth £693 million in 2017.
These figures compare favourably with the Moorland Association’s estimate that grouse shooting contributed about £192,000 to local hotels, restaurants and pubs in the same season.
Visitors to national parks frequently complain of the lack of diversity of wildlife on the grouse moors, or the limited access for activities like mountain biking, or horse riding which the CRoW Act failed to include in England.
It could therefore be argued that if the grouse moors moved from simply being managed for grouse shooting to being managed to enhance the tourism and visitor experience, then the argument that grouse shooting is vital for rural economies would be severely diminished.
Not everyone will agree, but the evidence on economic factors does seem to favour a more a diversified use of these moorland areas. (one problem that can be foreseen is managing increased visitor numbers so that there was no detrimental effect on the wildlife on the moors, but would this be any worse than the current position where moors are managed to produce high grouse numbers simply to be shot?)