Government report shows driven grouse shooting is ‘economically unviable’ says Scottish think tank

Press release from the Revive coalition for grouse moor reform (12th November 2020)

Think tank claims Government report on driven grouse shooting shows the bloodsport is ‘economically unviable

A Scottish think tank, and coalition partner of Revive, says grouse moor management is a ‘loss-making activity’, claiming driven grouse shooting is ‘economically unviable’.

Common Weal’s comments come in response to recently published research into the socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors and the employment rights of gamekeepers, funded by the Scottish Government.

Head of Policy and Research for the Common Weal think tank, Craig Dalzell said:

Following our analysis of the latest Scottish Government funded research, our strong view is that the conclusion that driven grouse moors have a positive economic impact without public subsidy is greatly overblown.

Driven grouse shooting has been shown to be a loss-making activity reliant on other activities such as sheep farming to remain viable and thus often benefiting indirectly from significant public subsidy.

With the climate emergency worsening and the time to avert it growing shorter, the Scottish Government should use this research as the basis for radical land reform and a major economic and ecological strategy based around conservation and regeneration of our uplands.

Activities that this report states can create at least as much economic benefit as driven grouse shooting and often significantly more whilst also protecting the environment and helping to meet the Scottish Government’s commitments on climate change.”

The analysis from Common Weal also concludes that land managed for driven grouse shooting is at odds with the Scottish Government’s goal of a ‘Green New Deal Scotland’ and that land conservation, which is also subsidised, is ‘almost on par with driven grouse shooting in terms of overall revenue per hectare and results in substantially better returns in terms of environmental protection.’

Campaign Manager for Revive Max Wiszniewski added:

It’s clear that any positive economic impact from grouse shooting is consistently exaggerated by those with a vested interest in maintaining it – relying on subsidies from other land uses to support it. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of animals are snared, trapped and killed so more grouse can be shot for ‘sport’ while the environment is destroyed.

For all the land it uses up, somewhere around half the size of Wales, it is estimated that grouse shooting contributes between 0.02% and 0.04% of Scotland’s overall economy. We welcome the fact that this report explores alternative land uses, all of which would be better for Scotland’s people, our wildlife and the environment.”


For more info about Common Weal please visit the website here

For more information about the Revive coalition for grouse moor reform please visit the website here

20 thoughts on “Government report shows driven grouse shooting is ‘economically unviable’ says Scottish think tank”

  1. This has been so obvious for so long. When will governments act. In the meantime more death of our valuable wildlife and destruction of the environment.

    1. Perdix, we cannot wait for their demise because the wealth behind the killing game is powerful enough to continue, as one would with an expensive but useless hobby,

      Meanwhile, the game killers continue with their sordid fun and get their minions to slaughter anything and everything that they don’t like.

      Self control and obeying the laws does not work with these arrogant people. Destroying habitat and species for their continued pleasure is given little thought.

      All the yarn they have spun about the economic benefits of the killing game, has been doubted for a very long time.


      1. @ Douglas Malpus, I wholeheartedly agree with your view that “Self control and obeying the laws does not work with these arrogant people”. In fact I think they see shooting game, not just grouse and pheasants and beautiful waders, as a badge of honor, a ritual that only the landed think they are entitled to. One could say a blooded ‘feather in the cap’ that is an entry card to a pathetic club that they have been brought up to think of as their privilege.
        Without laws in place that tackle these perverse acts of selfishness nothing is going to change.

  2. Hello Partridge. The sooner it ends, the sooner the Scottish Government can get something more environmentally friendly, such as reforesting, ending muirburn which, apart from chucking more carbon into the air, makes flooding more likely in the valleys below. I’m sure the residents will cheer for that, (as will their insurance policies). Better for Mountain hares, and also the Raptors, and other small mammals and amphibians.

  3. So, there you have it. It is found to be economically unviable. I find it deplorable that it is ‘often benefiting indirectly from significant public subsidy’. Nice to know that hard-earned taxes go toward this. If every tax payer knew this I am sure that there would be a much louder outcry.
    How much longer will we have to wait until the Scottish Government ban it for good?
    It is not only the grouse who suffer for this so-called sport; many others are too: snared, trapped and killed. Especially raptors, slaughtered in great numbers which cannot increase their numbers that quickly.
    And all so the rich can enjoy their slaughtering.
    Then, maybe, the land can be put to much better use for the greater benefit for all.

  4. More power to your elbow Max. Keep up the good work and pressure with REVIVE.
    When, O When will common sense prevail. When will Politicians realise that they should support the vast majority of their constituents. I think it’s called something like Democracy.

  5. Yes definitely called Democracy, something which our First Minister is always going on about when it comes to breaking away from the UK.

    I think our SNP government are too close to the shooting fraternity and hence we have all this delay in implementing the Werrity review outcomes.

  6. These moors are bleak and desolate areas. Devoid of life. No bird song, mammals – just chewed up barren areas. No wonder they are not
    making a profit. No sensible family would want to go to these depressing cold places.
    Rewind and encourage tourism.

  7. This is making me smile, the careful accounting to ensure they make a loss, or at least break even to avoid paying tax, is coming back to haunt them. I’m sure, with land value increases, inheritance tax avoidance via trusts, agro- and environmental subsidies, sporting and rental income they are valued assets for their ultimate beneficial holders. Looks like buying the best financial advice might not have been politically wise, shame!
    It would be very interesting for some Estates books to undergo forensic accounting, where did the money come from, where did it go……rather than taking the accounts at face value.

    1. It’ll be a similar issue with official wages and what keepers really get paid. The estates will find it difficult to refute their employees only get crap wages unless they mention unofficial ‘bonuses – untaxed of course. Without a paddle, shit creek up.

  8. It’s been a long time since I saw DGM’s as being “economically viable,” having come to believe it performs a similar function for those who see themselves as “Masters of the Universe” as a child being smeared in blood after their first deer kill. It is their symbolic annointment, so to speak. Being invited too, or simply managing to afford access to a top moor, is entrance to a select group for all to see. This is why they go to such lengths to save such a stupid way of using land in today’s climate.
    For these people money is no obstacle and, as stated, it is the presence of the person in such a group that is their real goal.
    So much the better, they think, if they can utilise some of the taxes their gamekeepers pay to fund it all by indirect means. The focus on finance is simply a red herring on their behalf to keep the reality of it from the eyes of the public who might frown on such open disdain of their labour while claiming to be victims of Class Struggle.

  9. Economic viability is a smokescreen. Its no more intended to be economically productive than owning a multi-million pound yacht (large leisure ship). There may be crewing jobs, and polishing the on board toys job, and maybe in the building and servicing, but that’s not the point.

    Its just leisure spending.

    If DGS were banned, there’d be noise for a while then the money would go to some other leisure activity and we can start using the land to for the benefit of the country.

  10. Economically unviable? Government attitudes and decisions should also be based on it being morally reprehensible. Yet if you look at the agenda for the SNP’s next AGM, you’ll see wording which is watered down to nothing.

  11. It’s good that this has been confirmed, but it’s been rather obvious from the basic facts for a long time. I can’t claim any originality in seeing this as so many informed people including this site have been pointing it out for a long time. The real mystery is how the shooting industry have got away with peddling their lies about the economic benefits of driven grouse shooting for so long. It totally discredits the shooting industry, illustrating that they have no moral compass and will say anything to justify their “sport”, regardless to it being dishonest.

  12. Well done again to Les for mentioing flooding, I posted a longer comment on this previously after Les had brought it up. Loss of homes, businesses and frequently a pathetic response from insurance companies at the time of the disaster followed by the refusal of re-insurance of properties.

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