With straight faces, Scottish landowners declare grouse moor licensing ‘draconian’

Definition of ‘draconian’: excessively harsh and severe

Can I just ask you to spare a few minutes and offer your thoughts and prayers to the private owners of intensively-managed grouse moors in Scotland, who, after decades of ‘magnanimous public service‘ (ha ha!) as ‘custodians’ of the uplands, are now facing what they’re calling ‘draconian’ grouse moor licensing proposals thanks to an ungrateful Government and public.

The news last week that the Scottish Government is to introduce a grouse shooting licensing regime (see here) has been met with fury from revolting gamekeepers and spluttering indignation from the landowners.

Here’s the response statement published by Scottish Land & Estates, the landowners’ lobby group:

It’s just more hysterical scaremongering, as discussed in this earlier blog (here) and the result of years and years of brazen denial in the face of overwhelming evidence about what goes on on some of those grouse moors, as discussed in this earlier blog (here).

Why is it ‘draconian’ to expect grouse moor owners and their gamekeepers to face sanctions if caught breaking the law?

24 thoughts on “With straight faces, Scottish landowners declare grouse moor licensing ‘draconian’”

  1. When you’re used to getting everything, when your tradition embeds privilege, wealth and power, when wildlife is just so many trophy heads on a wall, when rights mean whatever you say and pay, when gun and dog = your kill, when your system is feudal…progressive, democratically evolved change is going to stick in your craw. Landowners need help if they’re going to alter their outdated ways. The Scottish government has handed them a lifeline. I’m a bit nervous – licensing could be a way for them to continue their barbaric activities. License to continue to kill?

  2. Whilst I maintain that SLE et al are rather relaxed about DGS licensing and merely going through the PR motions with this guff, one has to take to task the following utter claptrap: “Grouse shooting plays a [A] hugely important role in rural Scotland, sustaining communities and delivering [B] substantial economic and environmental benefits. It would be bad legislation if the [C] unsubsidised private investment that underpins these benefits is put at risk by licensing.”

    Some succinct analysis of the above might be: A: Bollocks. B: Utter bollocks. and C: Unsibsidised? This is some distance beyond utter bollocks. Who are they trying to kid FFS? It is arguable that driven grouse moors ONLY exist in current form because of lavish public subsidies (some direct and some ‘re-routed’ to fund DGS). If that is untrue then perhaps SLE would publish the accounts of driven grouse moor owners and prove me wrong?

    DGS licensing is not Draconian at all; it is in fact enabling and that is the terribly sad truth, despite such shite from SLE.

  3. I think that my question to SLE (and SGA) would be “You sowed the wind – How’s that whirlwind working out for you?”

  4. Poor sods they never expected this rude awakening, they either had their heads in the sand or in some more appropriate place or thought the SNP gov’t was bought and paid for. It has come as a shock that actually the gov’t have acted rather as the public or at least the interested public might have expected. Is it “draconian”, hardly given that these TITS confident in their own feelings of entitlement, thought all talk of change was just that, talk. Must have come as a shock that they like the rest of us are expected to obey the law and to ensure that some quite reasonable changes, some would say more than reasonable changes are proposed. They after all only have themselves to blame despite increasing evidence over the years of regular routine and widespread lawlessness and stupidities within their pastime they carried on regardless. Well it seems no more and about bloody time too, one hopes that shower in the MA and the Westminster gov’t are taking note.

    1. Or it is just all faux outrage.
      One of the directors of one of these landowner organizations was warning about this a couple of years ago.
      Now all the spin will be at stopping a ban.

      1. It is indeed faux outrage Anan – all part of their game. In reality they may be slightly miffed at having to jump a few minor hurdles but on the whole they are very happy with licensing. The campaign for a ban must continue but that campaign has been put back a long, long way because of DGS licensing.

  5. …to discuss how this Draconian proposal will work”. I can save you some time Mark Tennant; it will work like this: Grouse moors will be issued with a Licence. If that estate breaks the law, the Licence will be withdrawn; if it operates within the terms of the Licence, nothing will happen. There, glad to help, Mark; no fee for the consultation. Consider it a Christmas gift. xxx

  6. “who have the capacity to hijack regulation and use it for their own ends” – sounds like a perfect SELF description to me!

  7. Its all so sad just seen an ad on tv about Rhinos being persecuted and if it wasn’t so sad it would be hilarious the way these people treat the wild life on the moors and expect everyone else to go along with it now they have their knuckles rapped and they are starting to wail and chuck all their toys out the pram.

  8. ‘Public Service’? Really? What part does the Public get to see in this? Call it what it is , ‘Elite Service’.

  9. You just couldn’t make this up!!!

    According to their own statement, the SLE admit that “People involved in grouse shooting are acutely aware of the need to embrace change and embrace the very highest standards of land management” .

    Unless I am completely mistaken – did not some of those changes involve stopping the burning of heather on blanket bog to restore peat???

    So perhaps someone could help me understand ,why today I saw burning taking place on a grouse moor, on an area which is designated a SSSI due to the importance of the blanket bog and other important flora? (I am sure someone will try and tell me that this burning wasn’t on the actual blanket bog but on a tiny area of land right next to the blanket bog!! How will the peat ever be restored if it is continually burned??)

    Even more telling was that this area is well known for raptor persecution, and the number of satellite tagged birds which simply disappear.

    Whilst this burning was not taking place in Scotland, could this be the sort of grouse moor the SG had in mind when it reached the conclusion that the only way to actually make some of the people involved in grouse shooting embrace change was to introduce licensing?

    Surely the grouse moor owners and managers in the rest of the UK are fully aware of the action taken by the SG?
    Do some of them not think that unless they also change their ways, then public pressure on the politicians in Westminster will be for licensing to be introduced across the rest of the Uk?

    Surely the landowners and estates which are trying to do everything right must be getting fed up with those that aren’t?

    I just don’t understand!!!

  10. Not a bad class of bullshit as one might expect dear boy.
    These tossers are removed from reality.
    Now we know why we drink!

  11. If those involved in DGS aren’t responsible for raptor persecution how would a brood management scheme benefit hen harriers?

  12. One sentence speaks volumes, This is why so many are celebrating the governments stance
    “This measure does not guarantee the eradication of Raptor persecution”
    As chairman of SLE if you can’t guarantee one simple task from your employees then you deserve to lose the right to shoot driven Grouse , simple as!

  13. The simple answer to the bleating is, don’t break the law.

    I have said the same to speeding motorists that declare that speed cameras are just another form of taxation!

    The shooting estates and gamekeepers are still in the victorian era when raptors were classed as vermin.

    With 60 years of protection having been ignored, they are lucky to get away with licensing when a TOTAL BAN is required.


  14. I think we should be grateful to SLE for providing a really good argument as to why driven grouse shooting needs to be banned now, not after a futile attempt at licensing.

    [Ed: This section removed as libellous]

    The countryside economy, environment and wildlife will do far better without driven grouse shooting.

  15. What other Victorian Institution remains basically unchanged for 200 years? DGS has hardly evolved, and needs urgently to fade into extinction, so the land can be set to recover. Gamekeeping has advanced at an equal pace, and gamekeepers could be retrained as Rangers in order to protect that which they now help slaughter. They do not have to lose their livelihood, just change it to reflect modern thought and practice.
    I looked at a picture of a grouse moor; and suddenly all I saw was acres of Camouflage, which is somewhat fitting for its current purpose.

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