Statement from REVIVE coalition at end of grouse-shooting season

REVIVE, the coalition for grouse moor reform, of which RPUK is a member, published a statement on 10th December as the grouse-shooting season ended for another year.

Here’s a copy:

10th December 2021

Today, the grouse-shooting season ends, following on from a poor breeding season which may have limited sport shooting this year.

However, this did not stop the circle of destruction that surrounds this controversial industry.

The mass trapping, snaring and killing of hundreds of thousands of foxes, stoats, weasels, crows and ‘non-target species’ like hedgehogs – so that a few more grouse could be shot for sport – continued on regardless.

The mass burning of heather (muirburn) which poses a serious environmental risk at a time of climate crisis – so that a few more grouse could be shot for sport – continued on, even when COP26 came to Scotland.

Tens of thousands of medicated grit stations which are positioned on moors to keep grouse numbers unnaturally high – so more can be shot – did not cease.

Meanwhile, an area around half the size of Wales is economically underutilised at the expense of our people when Scotland really should be doing so much better. But is there cause for hope?

The SNP/Green Government deal acknowledged the need to reform Scotland’s grouse moors and it supports a transition to alternative land uses where appropriate – which when you consider the damage they cause for such little economic benefit (just 0.02% of our economy) it is a no-brainer.

Licencing of grouse moors is going to happen but what a licence looks like and sets out to achieve is up for grabs and it should go well beyond an attempt to limit wildlife crime. The entire circle of destruction must end.

We now know that muirburn, a process there should be a general presumption against, will require a licence in future. If the Scottish Government is serious about grouse moor reform then a licence should never be given for muirburn when the purpose is increasing grouse numbers for sport shooting, nor should it be given under any other guise. If the Government recognise the clear environmental and biodiversity case for this reform, we are hopeful it can be achieved.

REVIVE just had its biggest ever conference and event with well over 400 people in attendance while polling shows that at least 2 thirds of Scots are against grouse shooting. Even in these trying times it’s clear public is with us and want change.

It’s with that spirit of hope and opportunity that we mark the end of the grouse shooting season. We hope that the worse excesses of this frivolous blood sport will come to an end, sooner rather than later.


For more information about the REVIVE coalition and to find out how you can support it / get involved, please visit the REVIVE website here

3 thoughts on “Statement from REVIVE coalition at end of grouse-shooting season”

  1. And yet on TV the other day Lianne McLellan , who represents the Scottish Regional Moorland Groups was claiming that , regardless of poor grouse numbers , the DGS estates were still making millions of pounds which fed into the local economies . And so the propaganda continues . She was also present at the Revive conference and had a good rant at me which did not go unnoticed . She made rather a fool of herself but I found comfort in the knowledge that my cartoons were having the right effect !

  2. I wrote to the RSPB about the mixed messages their web site carries about burning heather:


    RSPB NI calls for ban on peatland burning

    but in The true cost of the burning of our uplands

    the RSPB write: “Small-scale burning of heather carried out over the autumn and winter months is a traditional method of re-generating heather and can be very beneficial to farmers and wildlife, providing fresh heather for grazing and a mosaic of habitat for wildlife.”

    There again, in

    the RSPB write: “The reason they are burnt on shooting estates is to encourage the growth of young heather on which the red grouse feed. But burning blanket bog dries out the underlying peat soil and damages the internationally important ecosystem, impacting on water quality and flows and releasing the stored climate-changing carbon into the atmosphere.”


    “Continuing this outmoded practice of burning peatland habitats in a climate and ecological emergency is wholly inappropriate”

    So, one section of the RSPB web site states that the burning of heather is a “traditional method” and can be “very beneficial to .. wildlife” which creates “a mosaic of habitat for wildlife”, while an opposing section states that burning blanket bog is an “outmoded practice” which ‘damages the internationally important ecosystem”.

    It cannot be both: very beneficial AND harmful.


    I received this reply:


    Thank you for getting in touch. I’m sorry for the confusion our website has caused.

    Simply put, burning vegetation is complex, effects are dependent on the area, and does indeed have both benefits and detriments. However, we believe the harmful impacts outweigh the benefits. All the of articles you have linked state that we are against burning on bogs and other peatlands, which is our current position. We have pointed out why people continue to burn vegetation – because the burning encourages new vegetation growth that grouse feed on. This is why it is traditional and is the main benefit. However, although it provides this food source, burning on peatlands causes a lot of damage to the environment. Peatlands are incredibly valuable as they hold a lot of carbon and have a big role in fight against climate change. Therefore we believe the cons of burning do not justify the pros.

    (Just to note, the second link is from May 2011 and refers to a burning incident “over the past week”, which would be during the breeding season. It specifically points out that traditional burning happens in autumn and winter due to the issue with burning during breeding season)

    I hope this makes the subject a bit clearer.


    I, for one, do not regard that “burning encourages new vegetation growth that grouse feed on. This is why it is traditional and is the main benefit.” is a benefit at all, especially since the Grouse are to be later shot.

    It makes one wonder how the RSPB think Grouse managed to survive before the gun (and, therefore, deliberate burning) was invented…

    Burning in the UK is always detrimental to ecosystems as a whole. That some species of plant can recover is neither here nor there: what else is lost and may not recover?

    Clearer thinking is required, I say.

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