Grouse shooting in Scotland also exempt from Covid ‘rule of six’

Following the news this afternoon that grouse shooting in England has been made exempt from the Covid ‘rule of six’ (see here), the Scottish Government has now confirmed grouse shooting in Scotland is also exempt, according to Chris Musson, Scottish Political Editor at The Sun.

[Photo: Press Association]

Journalists and politicians had been seeking clarification from the Scottish Government this afternoon following the news from Westminster and the subsequent public backlash.

Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone commented on the Westminster decision in an article in The National:

This exemption is ludicrous. The restrictions on gatherings is a difficult but important public health measure to prevent spread of a deadly virus. Not for the first time, the UK Government has indicated that public health emergency rules don’t apply to their wealthy friends. 

This cannot be allowed to happen in Scotland. The tiny minority who derive pleasure from killing wildlife are not more important than the thousands who are being kept apart from seeing friends and family. Thirty people should not be able to gather to shoot grouse when thirty people cannot attend a wake for a lost loved one.

The Scottish Government need to urgently clarify the Scottish rules so that this doesn’t happen.”

But this evening, Chris Musson tweeted the following:


24 thoughts on “Grouse shooting in Scotland also exempt from Covid ‘rule of six’”

    1. Up to 30 Ramblers can go for a walk together in Scotland though. Ramblers Scotland is classed as a governing body of sport and their organised group walks are categorised as ‘organised sport and leisure activities’. These are exempt from the latest restrictions. Presumably the Grouse shooting is classed as a “leisure activity” and is therefore also exempt, unfortunately.

  1. Especially ludicrous because the shooters will have come in from all points of the compass so particularly likely to bring in or catch then spread the virus far and wide. I’ve also heard of beaters being brought in from the outside the local community which wouldn’t help. What’s the likelihood that all those participating will strenuously abide by all the guidelines intended to avoid infection? This could be a significant cause of covid increases in remoter communities that have so far avoided the higher infection rates. Really appalling, but hardly unexpected who would have put a bet on this not happening?

  2. There is some very odd interpretation of words going on here. I’m not sure about Scotland but the rules in England permit organised sport and ‘licensed outdoor physical activity’. I am pretty sure that the sense in which ‘licensed outdoor activity’ was meant when the rule was created was an activity regulated under the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004 which cover ‘outward bound’ type centres operated on a commercial basis or by local authorities. They do not cover shooting so the the fact that grouse shooting is being allowed to ignore the rule of 6 is either based on them wrongly applying this exemption or because they are calling grouse shooting an organised sport. It is fair to say that grouse shooting is not what most people would think of in relation to the term organised sport. It does rather seem as though there have been some rather effective ‘words in the ear of people in high places’ on both sides of the border. There is nothing in the rules anywhere, though, that provides an exemption for a chummy lunch together that ignores social distancing rules.

    1. They are pretending that having a shotgun licence makes it a licensed activity which is a pretty cynical interpretation of the law. How that covers armies of beaters and other non-licence holders I am not sure. Pointless really: does anyone think the police would have done anything about it anyway when it is so much easier to bust a few students and fine them £10k for having a birthday party?

  3. Wild species are in freefall, we have emissions and Climate Change rocketing, we are i rge midst of a pandemic, and yet the ‘industry’ that kills 3/4 million wild animals in Scotland, burns peat moorland, persecutes protected species , destroys habitat ti sell killing for pleasure to the few IS EXEMPT? I am not only disgusted but increasingly alarmed that even our Scottish Government just doesn’t get The Environmental crisis or is standing up against horrendous cruelty

    1. yes, I have just seen a group of about 16 shooters and beaters tightly packed into a trailer. What use is a face covering when you are so close? Social distancing completely ignored.

  4. Given what we know about the effects of lead consumption and the immune response, it will be a fascinating experiment in natural selection – the compromised immune systems of those crimson-cheeked, unfit, tubby older men versus SARS-CoV2

    1. Yes – it occurred to me that the grouse shooting demographic probably includes a high proportion of people who are at a more elevated risk from the virus than average. Maybe if they have any sense they will voluntarily steer clear of these shooting parties. On the other hand…perhaps not.

  5. If ever you needed evidence of conservation V driven grouse shooting bias within our government … you have it. In the face of a pandemic threatening the country on every level, the government has chosen to side with its own vested and short sighted interests rather than the country, climate change and what’s right. What an obscene own goal.

  6. A curious stance for the SNP government to adopt.

    Normally they would seize upon any issue available to them to allow them to differentiate Scotland from England.

    I wonder whether there was any lobbying from the shooting industry? Perhaps the threat of a legal challenge?

    1. The stance of the SNP government may have been curious at one time and it is certainly the opposite to what they led people to expect from them when they gained influence and eventually power.

      The colours that the SNP nailed to the mast appear to have become washed out and tarnished as time goes by. Could there be a problem with smoke pollution from heather burning.

      Perhaps people never change, but age eventually reveals their true colours.

      Over the years this blog has accumulated abundant information that demonstrates the way in which Holyrood has chosen to be ineffective in dealing with shooting related problems. There is clearly an atmosphere that benefits a certain section of society.

      That grouse shooting in Scotland is also exempt from covid ‘rule of six’ was entirely predictable.

    2. What’s curious about making the same decision as England ? The Scottish Government is perfectly capable of making its own unpalatable decisions independently, of which this one. It may come as a shock to you but, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, it’s not always all about England. The real question may be whether the Scottish Government could have reasonably refused this exemption just because you don’t like its beneficiaries.

      1. BSA, is all about applying a standard and consistent approach. As some of the spoof new websites have correctly pointed out, what is the difference between a barbecue with 12 people and a grouse shoot, if you release some grouse in your garden and had a go at them with an air gun why is that so different.

        This isn’t about petty jealousy its about a consistent approach across the population so that the rules are simple. It is reasonable to refuse this exemption since there is a high probability that shared transport will be used (or is it one Landover per gun, per loader.. etc!)

        In almost every other covid policy case Scotland has not done the same as England (in Scotland Children are exempt from the 6), it is strange that they have agreed on this one issue.

    3. Not at all: they are just Tories with different accents and one different policy (independence) apart from that they looked from pig to man and man to pig and couldn’t tell the difference.

  7. Yet more evidence of the social divide supported by our government. It has appeared so often during this pandemic that it is “us and them”. Sad times.

  8. The SNP are run by Freemasons just the same as the UK government. They are just as corrupt too. I wonder whether it is possible to challenge this very dubious interpretation of the legislation by Judicial Review? Can anyone suggest a collective noun for a group of old Etonians?

  9. So apparently it’s so bad they are restricting large areas in the north of England from meeting people from other households but these arseholes are again above the law and they can carry on with that terribly important activity of shooting grouse, it doesn’t matter about the rest of the population as long as they get to shoot, well I tell you what Johnson shove your restrictions we will do what we want too

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