Game-shooting industry getting twitchy at prospect of regulation

The UK game-shooting industry is ratcheting-up its attempts to appear reasonable and law-abiding as the prospect of enforced regulation looms large.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the RSPB announces the results of its year-long review of its policy on gamebird shooting. There has been very little hint of what its new policy might be, but many of us are hoping its a lot stronger than its former policy and if it is, that will result in even more pressure being placed on Governments to introduce statutory enforcement to regulate the currently out-of-control gamebird shooting industry.

In a rather pathetic attempt to head this off at the pass, today saw the shooting industry in England and Scotland put forward a plea to the respective Governments to support what it calls ‘a new blueprint for the future of shooting’ in the form of a document called ‘The Principles of Sustainable Gamebird Management’, drafted by the GWCT.

The thing is, it’s not a ‘new blueprint’ at all. It’s the same old set of unenforced and unregulated ‘principles’ that the industry has failed to implement year after year. Had these principles been adhered to and self-regulated, the industry wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in now.

In Scotland a coalition of game shooting organisations operating under the banner of RELM (Rural Environment and Land Management) is using these principles as yet another way of trying to persuade the Scottish Government not to introduce a licensing scheme in response to the Werritty Review.

Here’s a desperate press release from Scottish Land & Estates, on behalf of fellow RELM members BASC, Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Countryside Alliance and SACS, explaining why new legislation apparently isn’t required:

As usual, many of the claims made in this statement are brazenly misleading. The Heads up for Hen Harriers project is a greenwashing sham that is definitely not delivering the tangible conservation results it was supposed to (see here), the Muirburn Code is repeatedly ignored, even during a global pandemic (e.g. see here), golden eagles are still being persecuted in areas of high-intensity grouse moor management (see here), as are hen harriers, resulting in significant population decline (see here), peregrines have been systematically removed from many former territories on grouse moors (see here) and merlin populations are suffering due to the intensification of grouse moor management in some areas (see here).

Tomorrow we’ll learn what the RSPB intends to do and sometime soon we might learn what the Scottish Government intends to do….and then the public can decide what it intends to do.

Change is in the air.

24 thoughts on “Game-shooting industry getting twitchy at prospect of regulation”

  1. Just a couple of questions for those who would ban all forms of shooting – –
    ‘Do you also believe that all motorists ‘Drink & Drive’?
    ‘Are all white people racist’?

      1. graeme walker – do you understand the definition of the word tendentious? The comparison has value – those who own and carry firearms and who break the Laws of our land are in a minuscule minority, just as are those who Drink and Drive, whilst they have licenses which entitle them to drive a motor vehicle. The comparison is of worth and pertinent.

        1. The article which you commented on was about Regulating the Shooting Estates…NOT about banning ALL
          game shooting. Hence my use of the word tendentious. The tone of your reply is very revealing of your arrogant attitude to anyone who holds differing opinions.

        2. Dear dear Perdix, You really are embarrassing yourself, you always talk such utter nonsense !! If there are a substantial minority of law breakers within a community then action is required with regard to that; the law abiders will have to suffer until the minority are ousted; that called law enforcement. The data on Golden Eagle and Hen Harrier distribution nationally clearly indicates that this, despite suitable habitat, is the inverse of “Game Keepers”; “Quod est demonstrandum est”……. unless of course you condone the illegal behaviour which your general tone (“kinda bending over backwards”) before the irrefutable evidence would tend to suggest. Peter xx

        3. Perdix, no-one is suggesting that everyone who has a gun license breaks the law. However we all know that the profession of game-keepering, particularly on grouse Moors involves the illegal killing of wildlife. You know that, I know that, the world knows it. Give it a rest with this ‘a few bad apples’ bollocks, you’re making a fool of yourself. (I used to be a keeper and have been managing land with leased sporting rights for 3 decades).

    1. Perdix your pointless questions do not excuse the criminal activity within the shooting industry.

      Driven game shooting started in prehistoric times when humans used it to sustain their people. The fact that folk like you support such a corruption of those prehistoric needs just indicates how deep in the dark ages you are.

      The only sad difference between the shooting industry and prehistoric people is that modern shooting people have no need and relish in the killing of large and unnecessary amounts of birds. This makes modern shooting people much inferior to prehistoric man.

      The shooting industry repeatedly tells us that the criminals are a few bad apples, that they will outcast any convicted of wildlife crimes. But the crimes continue and the industry limits their control to those caught and punished in court. They know that conviction is difficult and so they keep supporting the criminals that they know they have in their midst.

      They know who does and repeats the wildlife crimes over and over again. The closed shop nature of the business will not name or expel the “bad apples”. If they wanted to stop the criminals they could do it in very short order.

      How many bad apples do you know? Are you one of them?

      I do support the banning of all animal shooting. A skilled shooter can try clay pigeon, or target rifle where the skill is within the shooter, not in the amount of birds thrown at their position.


    2. Thanks Perdix, the drink driving analogy is perfect.

      If a driver is caught drink-driving they loose their license. Other drivers are glad because it makes the roads safer for them. If I may extend your analogy a little bit, lead was banned from fuel years ago because of its effect on human health.

      Looking forward to the shooters adopting your suggestions.

      Thanks again. xxxxx

    3. Perdix,

      To answer your questions.

      A significantly larger proportion of motorists used to drink and drive, until legislation was introduced and enforcement rigorously applied.

      Racism amongst white people was a significant problem until legislation was introduced and enforced.

      In those two examples the practices were not controlled until legislation was introduced backed up by effective enforcement of the legislation.

      The same applies to the shooting industry, whether that be ever increasing numbers of game birds being released, the failure to phase out lead shot or the ongoing illegal persecution of Birds of Prey. Self regulation hasn’t stopped these practices, therefore some form of external regulation and control is required.

      I’m not an advocate of banning shooting per se, but if it does come to that then the blame lies squarely at the shooting community and the associations such as GWCT or the BASC for issuing meaningless platitudes instead of putting their house in order.

    4. Quail. If you can’t control your lot then we have to do it for you. Simple.
      Why do you never condemn and try to root out the criminals, why do you down play the crimes. If you did you might be trusted. You see the problem. No i doubt that you do.

      Let me show you. See the graph here. 74% of convicted wildlife crime occupations gamekeepers and other game interests. You will even argue about this. You argue about every fact brought to you and still claim that you are white as snow. You are as predictable as clockwork.

    5. Don’t think anyone here wants to “ban all forms of shooting”. Just the nature and environment destroying ones like for instance driven grouse shooting.

    6. Perdix we have been here before, if 70% of all road collisions were due to drinking and driving then yes we would need to look at our attitudes to driving. However 70% of raptor crime is committed by gamekeepers therefore by the same logic we should do something about it.

    7. Dick – I mean, Perdix, what a completely irrelevant question.

      But that’s it isn’t it? Your industry has lost its relevance in 21st century Britain.

      The wild is coming home.

    8. I dont believe in banning all forms of shooting since the negative impact of bench shooting isnt obvious.
      However to run with your strawman.
      I do have car breakdown cover with one of the main organisations. If they turned around and started complaining about cops being so unsporting as to investigate drunk drivers I would be cancelling and going with someone else.
      For shooting of wildlife I tend to take a simple approach. Sadly with our degraded ecosystem I do think there is currently a need for human intervention to make up for the predators we have massacred but as a rough rule if you are needing to kill wildlife in order to make sure you have enough other “wildlife” to shoot later I am opposed.

  2. The Scottish government have had plenty of time to contemplate the Werritty review and have still not acted. Even the least contentious of action to protect mountain hares has been delayed, in spite of that action being approved in the Scottish parliament. I do not approve of a total ban on hunting wildlife, but it must be done only if the actions do not damage the ecosystem and biodiversity. There is no doubt that the eradication of creatures which compete with Red Grouse is unsustainable. Isn’t it time we had less words and more action from the SNP?

  3. I would love to know the conversations that go on within GWCT, particularly when they draft their stuff on predator control. They must surely know that although they make it sound almost reasonable on paper, it has very little connection to what is done by the small armies of fanatical keepers day in day out on the “best” grouse moors. Their guiding principle is just to do everything and anything they need to (and can usually get away with) to produce the most grouse, regardless of any so-called best practice or the laws of the land. In my opinion, the tracts that GWCT and others publish on this theme are almost pure fantasy and wishful thinking.

    1. Indeed, Sphagnum. The crass ploy of adding the “W” to the name tells us all we need to know. Remember these charlatans even took a (very small) stand at the Birdfair to try and smarm their way to crediblity. What a roaring success that was!

  4. Don’t be fooled by Perdix and her pals’ public bluster and faux outrage: They WANT licensing (that will be unenforced/unenforceable) as it is the most sure fire way of prolonging their ‘sport’ for decades to come.

  5. That’s a fine Wish List from GWCT up there. How do nos 1, 2 & 3 compare with the numbers and densities of released pheasants?

    I must have missed the mention of lead. It’s in there somewhere, isn’t it?

  6. When the industry fails to properly regulate itself or deal with those who break the rules then the public will insist on legislation and governments will eventually comply. It seems to me that far from weeding out those that abuse the rules the industry actually tries to defend them.
    In the end the activity, be that grouse shooting or other forms of hunting, will find itself being restricted or banned and they will only have themselves to blame.

  7. The ‘industry’ must get get a little more credibility if it showed that it is rooting out the ‘bad apples’ that they claim are at the root of persecution !! If they reported persecution cases , submitted and gave evidence in known cases , and stop claiming success in the face of failure !! And Perdix, grow up !!

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