Grouse shooting exempt from Johnson’s ‘rule of six’ Covid curbs

If there was ever any doubt just how influential and well-connected the grouse-shooting industry is, have a look at this from today’s Huffington Post:

Here’s an excerpt:

Boris Johnson is facing a fresh row over his new coronavirus “rule of six” curbs after it emerged that the government has exempted grouse shooting and other “hunting” with guns from the restrictions.

New regulations published by the government for England just before midnight on Sunday have a string of exemptions for sports clubs, wedding receptions and even political protests.

But they also have an exemption for when “a gathering takes place outdoors (whether or not in a public outdoor space)” for the purpose of “a physical activity which is carried on outdoors”, where a licence, permit or certificate is held by the organiser.

HuffPost UK has learned that the Cabinet Office’s special Covid-19 Operations ministerial committee – chaired by Michael Gove – scheduled a meeting on Saturday, with one agenda item titled: “Exemption: hunting and shooting.”

The meeting was abruptly cancelled just hours beforehand, with cabinet ministers and officials told that this issue would be discussed later or via ministerial correspondence.

Insiders believe that the meeting was axed to avoid any ministers raising objections.

Instead, the “outdoor activity” wording was inserted into the regulations, opening the way for an exemption for so-called “country sports” such as grouse and pheasant shooting and hunting.

One source said the entire issue held up the publication of the regulations until shortly before the new law was due to kick in at midnight on Sunday.

Brand new government guidance published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on Monday lists “shooting (including hunting and paintball that requires a shotgun or firearms certificate license)” as a “sport or organised outdoor activity”.

It appears that foxhunting may not be exempted, but the current position is unclear.

When asked by HuffPost UK if the reference to “shooting (hunting)” included foxhunting, a spokesperson said “the exemptions are as listed in the guidance”.

Former minister Tracey Crouch said: “Many will find this topsy-turvy prioritisation from government.

“I’ve had queries about choirs, community bands, addiction therapy groups, all of whom would be worthy of an exemption and instead we are scrabbling around prioritising shooting animals. It’s bonkers.”

To read the rest of the article, please click here

Meanwhile, a photograph alleging to show a group of grouse-shooters in the Scottish Borders enjoying a non-socially-distanced-post-shoot meal has appeared on Twitter:

UPDATE 22.00hrs: Grouse shooting in Scotland also exempt from Covid ‘rule of six’ (here)

25 thoughts on “Grouse shooting exempt from Johnson’s ‘rule of six’ Covid curbs”

  1. The Scottish legislation is much less specific, merely allowing outdoor gatherings if they are organised activity, organised by (a,ongst others) a business, a charity, a club or a governing body.

  2. Well you couldn’t advertise any better where this woeful shower in power’s priorities lie. You really couldn’t make this up nobody would believe you. What will we get next Tory party members exempted from wearing masks in shops FFS.

  3. I thought grouse moors were not licenced! An individual may hold a shotgun licence but, surely, that is not the same as the sport or activity being licenced!

      1. So from now on, perhaps, “a shotgun wedding” will be one in which guests will be requested to bring along their licensed firearms in order to get past the rule of six guest number limit!

  4. Whilst we have a Tory government can’t see anything being done about grouse shoots.Vested interests and friends in high places.

  5. That is a relief. I was so worried about how “the countryside” would cope without several million birds being shot for fun.

  6. This wll only come as a surprise to the young or very naive and will never get the publicity it deserves due to the them and us policy that has operated in this country since long before I was born where wealth and property have always been more important then human life or decency

  7. Anyone might think that these covid rules are being made up for the benefit of some very rich sociopaths and psychopaths

  8. Can anyone now doubt that it is only dubious, behind the scenes, political hegemony by the Elites that allow Driven Grouse Shoots to continue in the light of the huge damage their management incurs on both flora and fauna … not to forget the criminal culture it creates and sustains..?

  9. This lot are used to wearing masks, usually when killing raptors. This, obviously, means that they have special experience and training in mask usage that would allow for a Covid exemption. Seems perfectly logical to me…

  10. This absolutely disgraceful, there is no reason at all to exempt hunts from the 6 people rule. It is the equivalent to not prosecuting Dominic Cummings for the blatant disregard of lockdown. Boris will deservedly reap his reward& be kicked out of office.

  11. The whole Country is in a mess with serious situations like Covid 19, The Economy, Unemployment, Brexit yet these Clowns in Westminster can sit and take the time to pass legislation for their cronies to participate in their horendous bloody “sports”
    The shooting may be in the open air but what about the killers sitting in their 4×4’s going up onto the moors???

  12. So, what if anything do we as individuals do about it? Instead of acknowledging ‘no surprise’ perhaps we need to pen a short letter to our MPs to let them know that we do not agree with this selective exemption, ok the chances are letters will be ignored but some might be heard and not all MPs are blood thirsty or in the pockets of the elite landed interest ….

  13. How driving up on to a moor in a 4X4 vehicle, standing behind a grouse butt and pulling the trigger of a gun, whilst someone else loads it, and then getting back into the 4X4 vehicle and driving off the moor constitutes sport or physical activity defeats me.
    If this counts as an exemption, then so should any large gathering where a multitude of families get in their cars and drive to the beach for a picnic- something which would rightly be discouraged.
    It’s also an absolute mockery of the social distancing rules, and totally unfair to all those who engage in casually organised sporting activities, such as a group of youngsters who play football in the park, who are now banned from undertaking such activity !
    As others have correctly pointed out- this serves as a very stark reminder that those with vested interests in shooting really do have the current government in their pocket, and it means that whilst this government remains in power there will be no meaningful changes to how game bird shooting is regulated. Which does not bode well for the wildlife which falls victim to the way the land over which shooting takes place is managed.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s