8-year old schoolchildren congratulate Scottish Government on decision to licence grouse shooting

Some of you will no doubt remember / be aware of Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow and its pupils’ involvement in conservation activities (e.g. see here for a previous blog on their response to the suspicious disappearance of golden eagle Fred in 2018).

These school kids are only too well aware of what happens to raptors on some driven grouse moors, as they had named and were following an RSPB satellite-tagged hen harrier (‘Thistle’) in 2019 that later disappeared in suspicious circumstances on a grouse moor in Sutherland (see here).

Well here they are again, just before Xmas, responding to the Scottish Government’s commitment to establishing a licensing scheme for grouse shooting after many, many years of procrastination.

Here are few of those drawings and letters:

If you want to find out more about Sunnyside Primary School and its brilliant kids, have a watch of this video that they made for Hen Harrier Day 2020:

30 thoughts on “8-year old schoolchildren congratulate Scottish Government on decision to licence grouse shooting”

  1. Along with the election of Raphael Warnock of the Ebenezeer Baptist Church to the US Senate probably the best news of the day…

  2. I just love the kids at Sunnyside (well worth a follow on Twitter) they are an inspiration and actually quite difficult for ScotGov to ignore.

  3. How could the Scottish Government fail to be moved by this! Thank you and well done Sunnyside Primary school!

  4. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. Tremendous that children of such a young age are getting involved. Let us remember it’s their future not ours, so let us do all we can to preserve that future.

  5. It is a great shame the government seem to find it easier to turn a blind eye to the disappearance of all these birds.

  6. Indoctrination of children should not be allowed in schools, I’m pretty sure that at their age, grouse are the least of their concerns.
    A teachers personal agenda, no doubt.

    1. Steve
      It’s not indoctrination but education!
      It’s been a feature of the education system in the UK that important environmental issues such as the human impact on the planet, or the destruction of nature have largely been ignored up until now.
      The result of generations of ignorance are now being witnessed with the climate change emergency and extinction crisis which are now engulfing this planet.
      The wide spread persecution of raptors which is associated with the game shooting is not only criminal but something which will impact on these children; as unless it stops they may never actually see a Hen Harrier or Golden Eagle.
      Is it not important that Scottish children learn about about what is happening to Scotland’s endangered species rather than just the plight of the tiger or the elephant in some far off land?
      So it’s very refreshing that some children are learning about about what really takes place in the countryside, and hopefully with that knowledge they can make informed decisions about what they find acceptable.
      Surely that has to be better than the shooting fraternity having it all their own way, and indoctrinating young people that it is acceptable to go out and burn the moors, kill thousands of animals which are deemed detrimental to the production of artificially high numbers of game birds, simply so a minority of ethically challenged individuals can shoot and kill wildlife for pleasure?
      For too long the shooting industry has been able to shroud its activities away from the public gaze, and misinform society.
      That veil has now been lifted.
      Is it the lifting of that veil of lies and misinformation that upsets you so much?

    2. Whats wrong with educating kids about conservation issues?? Maybe if some of those keepers on DGS estates got some education back in the day, we would have less problems with rampant wildlife crime in such areas??

    3. That’s an utterly disgraceful comment.

      The environment should be central to their learning, especially as they have to inherit the mess left behind by people like you, who advocate for environmentally destructive practices like driven grouse shooting, which requires the burning of deep peat as well as a whole raft of other damaging externalities. It says a lot that you’re scared of them receiving this information at an early age, because you’ve been reliant on industry lobbying and government cronyism to keep the masses ignorant of what actually happens to large swathes of our countryside. Driven grouse shooting is an utterly cruel, wasteful and archaic pastime that doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. The only ‘agenda’ here is yours, but younger people will see right through it.

  7. Absolutely disgusting, are these teachers allowed to influence gender recognition, race and cultural beliefs as well??

    1. Hi Andy, Steve. I get your points. To be honest these things don’t sit too well with my own views on the purpose(s) of educating children. On the other hand, is it as bad as those village schools that take a bunch of kids up to an Estate for an “education day”? The keepers letting them play about with heather floggers and look at a plastic Crow sitting in a Larsen trap, etc, as if to represent what their work is all about. All followed by a few venison burgers from the barbecue and a bottle of pop. There are Estates that even I could name that host these school-days, and are known by every man and his dog in the rest of the surrounding villages to employ keepers who have used either poisons or illegal traps, and killed protected wildlife. But for some reason their teachers don’t seem to take that into account. The Longformacus case provides an example of this type of thing, without the risk of libel.

      1. What is the purpose of education if it isn’t to provide information on what happens to the biosphere that we’re entirely dependent on? Should children be kept ignorant of the objective fact that wildlife crime is endemic to our current countryside land management, or should we keep feeding them propaganda about our ‘green and pleasant land’? Should we not teach children about climate change, because fools like Andy class that as a ‘cultural belief’ (I guarantee he won’t reply to my question about what that term actually means)?

        1. Hi Da. I hear you and do agree to an extent. Universities etc have racks of literature and journals on Education and it’s purpose(s), it is a lively area of study – in which I am not qualified! My lay-citizen’s opinion is that although I agree with this school covering this particular topic – it must have been decided by that particular school to cover it as “a special topic”, as most schools do not cover wildlife crime (probably they should). My concern is on the principle only, that in another school another set of teachers may choose to devote time to “a special topic” that I do not agree with. It is the extent to which teachers throughout the UK have a “free hand” that concerns me. I am far from a raptor persecution denier, and I sense that the only reason Andy spat his dummy is because he wrongly believes that the raptor persecution topic is just fantasy – a Trojan horse to get a ban on shooting. Sadly, I know his Ostrich head in the sand mentality only too well.

    2. If you mean are teachers allowed to teach kids how not to grow up to be bigots, homophobes, racists, sexist and other equally obnoxious characters then you are right. Sadly some kids being home schooled might not be so lucky.

    3. Agreed! Good god, they will be teaching them about slavery and colonialism next, and what if they ask about Windrush. Where will it all end one asks, they may even start to think for themselves! Blighters.

    4. Firstly, define what you mean by ‘cultural belief’.

      Secondly, why are so many supporters of driven shooting extremely reactionary and ignorant? Could it be that driven shooting is also utterly regressive, outdated, small minded and detests even the slightest thought of change?

      Do you think teaching children about historic facts, such as British colonialism, is ‘influencing’ them? It should do.

  8. Thats great to read. Well done Sunnyside School. Somehow it has more power coming from primary school children rather than an old fogey like me!!

  9. I love it that schoolchildren are being introduced to the natural world of birds. Something which I was never exposed to in my schooling days in Glasgow. Had to find it myself and here some 80 years on have had a hobby that has lasted all of my life. Took me to many corners of the UK but particularly my home patch of Scotland. Sadly I wandered the hills and glens not realising what carnage was being undertaken by those who profess to be the guardians of the countryside.
    The teachers at Sunnyside School are doing us all a service. Thank you

  10. The children and the school are an inspiration . Maybe they can achieve where others have failed , let’s hope so

  11. Absolutely fantastic! Not that we really need any more motivation to keep going, but think on how many children have been and still are being deprived of any chance to encounter eagles, harriers, kites, peregrines, goshawk, osprey, otters, pine martens, wildcats, short eared owls or polecats because of the ‘legacy’ of slaughter for the field sport fanatics. That meant even in wild areas these species were gone or extremely rare when there was actually no valid reason why many couldn’t have been common even in the central belt. What a fantastic school.

  12. Well done all the children at Sunnyside Primary School in England.
    Your drawings and messages are fantastic and hopefully an inspiration to others.
    Let’s hope that there are still raptors flying about when you are an adult.

  13. Sunnyside as In your name,have brightened up my day.Fantastic work and project.Well Done Boys and Girls

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