Aug 122013

Today is the “Glorious Twelth”, a day when according to tradition hunting enthusiasts gather on moors in Scotland and the north of England to shoot Grouse.

Proponents will tell you that that this is an important British tradition.

They will also argue that it is good for Britain’s economy by attracting tourists, providing jobs for thousands of people and generating several £100 millions annually .

Eight Reasons to Oppose Grouse Shooting:

  1. Killing birds for sport is cruel and uncivilised.
  2. A large number of native birds and mammals who interfere with grouse shooting are trapped, poisoned or snared. Victims include stoats, weasels, and even iconic raptors such as hen harriers, red kites and golden eagles.
  3. An unnatural, heather-rich environment is created because the grouse thrive on young heather shoots. To create fresh young shoots, the heather is burned, which can harm wildlife and damage the environment.
  4. The burning of heather, reports an expert, ‘threatens to release millions of tonnes of carbon locked into the peat bogs underpinning the moors. Where burning occurs, the hydrology changes and the peat is open to decomposition and erosion. This strips the moor of carbon as surely as setting fire to the Amazon Forest.’ (Adrian Yallop, New Scientist magazine, 12 August 2006)
  5. The harsh ‘management’ of moorlands causes grouse numbers to boom. But as they overburden the landscape, they become weakened and fall prey to a lethal parasite – Strongylosis. This attacks the gut and leads to a collapse in the population.
  6. A cycle of population boom and bust is the norm on Britain’s grouse moors.
  7. Large quantities of lead shot are discharged, which is toxic to wildlife.
  8. Grouse shooting estates use the Countryside and Rights of Way Act to restrict public access to mountain and moorland.

Eight Reasons to Support Grouse Shooting:

  1. Grouse shooting is carried out with a high level of care and responsibility and is considered by many to be the pinnacle of game shooting.
  2. Careful conservation of grouse moors allows millions of visitors to enjoy access to areas of breathtaking scenery and wildlife.
  3. The management of uplands for grouse shooting is protecting the iconic heather moorland habitat for future generations to enjoy.
  4. Managing heather helps preserve the UK’s biggest carbon store in underlying peat.
  5. Over 60% of England’s nationally protected sites are managed grouse moors.
  6. Heather moorland is rarer than rainforest and threatened globally. The remaining 75% worldwide is in Britain thanks to grouse shooting.
  7. Nationally scarce waders and bird of prey flourish on grouse moors.
  8. Grouse shooting provides the economic engine to pay for conservation management and to maintain employment in remote rural areas. In turn, this employment helps communities and their schools, shops and pubs to survive. Local hotels benefit from shooting parties staying and there are knock-on effects through to garages, gun-shops and a whole range of related businesses, many of which would otherwise struggle.

The Glorious Twelfth is the official starting date for the red grouse shooting season in Scotland and parts of northern England.

The Glorious Twelfth is the official starting date for the red grouse shooting season in Scotland and parts of northern England. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe

“Fox Hunting” was made illegal a couple of years ago and perhaps the time has come when this so-called “sport” should also be banned.

We invite you to vote FOR or AGAINST the continuation of “Grouse Hunting”. Even if you’re not from the UK, please vote and also leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should "Grouse Hunting" be allowed to continue?

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Eight Reasons to Oppose Grouse Shooting was published by Animalaid.org.uk
Eight Reasons to Support Grouse Shooting was published by Basc.org.uk

Leave a Comment

  • PattieB123

    To all of you bloodthirsty apologists. This is why we don’t want your cruel sport

  • Caroline

    Crispin Worledge. Of course there is a reason to maintain the habitat of wild creatures and that reason is simply because wild creatures deserve protecting from morons with guns. Responsible citizens believe wild creatures should have wild places; they are not “sporting quarry” that need managing. Nature manages very well without human interference and we should be setting aside wild places where killing is prohibited. What a myopic viewpoint Crispin Worledge has and one so typical of those who see nature as something to exploit. Those who are unable to envisage an ecology without human interference are the morons, Crispin.

  • Heather Watterson

    All grouse-hunters are a bunch of ‘Dahling’ bastards! Hope the winds change at just the right direction!

  • Pingback: POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? | Exposing the Big Game()

  • Karina1

    Hunting is what real predators do not thrill seeking dudes with big guns.

  • Pingback: POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? | Vegan Lynx()

  • Winn Adams

    No, no a thousands time NO!

  • Vijay Karippil

    All hunting is violence. It is unethical. It is inhuman. It is for God who creates and controls it.. It is not within the power of man to control or kill.sentient beings, the earthlings! God does not supply guns when a child is born! No bloodshed! Peace and justice! Sensibility and compassion! Truth triumphs!

  • Peter Deelen

    En dan zijn er nog (mensen) die dit heel gewoon vinden de idioten die moesten ze het zelfde lot toedelen!!!!!!!!

  • hugo

    don’t get why people think any one how shoots are barbarians I have been bought up shooting and also keep livestock and love my wildlife and idle rich do you even bloody think before you speak I am joiner by trade a started of labouring at 13 years old and only got paid £15 a day and my mate is a gamekeeper he only lives on the bread line so think before you speak and wildlife doesn’t control itself any more as lack of bigger natural predators

  • Jim Hinds

    I believe that our society has become so detached from reality that some truly do not realize that in order to eat something it must first be killed. We are omnivores. Living your life as some sort of apology for that is truly beyond any rational understanding.

  • jo

    Wildlife does not need ‘managing’. It can cope by itself Morten krudsen. Stop making excuses for yourself and shut up about ‘townies’ because you know nothing.

  • Field Man

    Is there any hope for a reasoned discussion about our countryside (let alone grouse moors) when the public have been brainwashed into thinking an urban landscape crawling with mangy foxes constitutes “wildlife”? Sadly we are heading for a time in the not too distant future when that may just be the case and the sound of a dawn chorus or a skylark will just be a memory. Then perhaps some of the contributors to this little discussion will be satisfied.

  • DNACowboy

    This is the same group that is attempting to connect shooting with pornography. They have been protesting outside Smiths and other retails stores, writing to pressure retail stores in discriminating against law-abiding shooters.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000256591793 John S. Armitage

    Perhaps readers might also like to sign the E-petition ( in the UK ) aimed at applying more control to upland grouse shoots and all gamekeepers. see ref

    Thank you, John Armitage.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1192846746 Robin Wilson

    yes, let it continue.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1192846746 Robin Wilson

    yes, let it continue.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001213592501 Sam Gebbie

    Hardly a fair poll I have tried to vote several times but it fails. I take it only selective votes are counted

  • phil webster

    Some of u want to look at your own comments & have a serious rethink. Large estates & shoots manage land very well & effectively to which many of u will drive through, camp/caravan in or just generally enjoy without even knowing that the land is shot over through the game season. How or why do u think its kept like it is? It’s down to land management & looking after/creating habitat, which many creatures enjoy not just grouse. If there weren’t any shoots then there would be no grouse as its only through land management & creating/keeping the right habitat that they will survive & the numbers will keep rising. This in turn provides u lot with a lot of nice countryside for u to enjoy.
    I’ve read several comments saying that the grouse are bred purely for shooting. They are a wild bird, not reared & their numbers are carefully monitored & only certain numbers shot to make sure there is enough to sustain a healthy population. Totally free range, had a life & many many birds don’t get shot. Can I just ask one question, what are u all going to have for ur Sunday dinner? Roast chicken, lucky if it’s even 12 weeks old before its been slaughtered & will certainly never have seen sunlight let alone the country. Pork, beef,…u name it they’re all bred purely for food, some better than others but they’re all bred & all killed. How do u think ur turkey is made available for ur Xmas dinner? Because it’s reared & then slaughtered, & a hell of a lot of them aren’t free range either. So get off your high horses & have a long look at what u do & eat before u start slagging grouse shooting off & shooting as a hole. What is shot is eaten as food, same as it has been for centuries.

    Roll on October 1st…..phessie season

  • Ian

    I did a year HNC course in gamekeeping and I can tell all the opponents of grouse shooting that without grouse shooting we would NOT have the numbers of grouse that we have. I read the opponents views on grouse numbers crashing due to strongylosis, but this is more about the weather conditions. When the weather is wet the strongyle worm thrives due to it being able to climb the heather stalks therefore allowing the grouse to injest the worm during feeding therefore starting the cycle over again.
    A heather moor is burnt in strips to create a habitat of fresh heather for birds to feed with heather also being left unburnt to create nesting areas for all other birds as well as grouse.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=522700165 Thomas Jennings

    This definitely “hunting”. Tough work, but well worth the effort. Long may it continue and contribute to the survival of the Red Grouse in the U.K.

  • ethicalfarming

    Stoats, weasels foxes, crows, birds of prey. not pests;just native wild animals, living their lives.

  • Morten Knudsen – Denmark

    To me this poll confirms the tremendous lack of knowledge to wildlife management in the real world. Sustainable hunting and shooting is conservation.
    As someone mentioned earlier, if the Grouse shooting is banned – who will have interest in moorlands and the Grouse? – not the “Townies” they have forgotten all about it in just a few moments – it is so sad!
    Hunters generally harvest the surplus of game only. It is a historic fact, that modern day hunting is conservation – it is proven in Africa, Europe, Asia and America – I really dont understand why conservationists can’t see that – Hunters loves nature and the wildlife and has all reasons to conserve it.
    Most people voting against in this poll – doesn’t really know anyting about hunting.
    Let me quote a few native american sayings:
    Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins
    When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard. – Lakota Indian.

    • PattieB123

      Typical animal killers excuse. You manage nothing, you just like firing missiles into living flesh

  • Christine

    Impact of mankind on the planet was a phrase I heard on the TV this morning together with the information that 1 in 10 animals are threatened with extinction 60% of British species are in decline. The hunting and shooting community try to redress the balance in an environment that man destroys. We try to stop the rot of green space being eroded by developers. Pushing wildlife into every decreasing areas where there is no longer enough green space to sustain them. We feed a lot of wildlife when we feed our birds.

  • Field Man

    An ecosystem rarer that the rain forests would be lost if it weren’t for grouse moors. It has been proved time and again that a grouse moor supports far more wildlife than unmanaged open hill. It is an ill-informed public perception, so for removed from any country roots, that is the greatest threat to our beloved countryside, not grouse shooting.

  • Aghaji

    Hunting shooting and fishing are the mainstay of country life and the whole countryside would deteriorate with out them as is seen with the fox poulation now scouring dustbins in towns and cities KEEP the country side alive keep hunting

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003270185422 Gemma Geary

    Keep our heritage alive!

  • DeerDog

    The last survey carried out by the RSPB reveal that the last full population survey recorded 500 pairs of hen harriers in Scotland – a stronghold of grouse shooting. They have also reported that there are NO hen harriers breeding in the rest of the English uplands (the non-grouse moor bits, including their own nature reserves!!). So Ban Grouse shooting and the habitat that is currently managed by the gamekeepers for the benefit of grouse shooting (and hence grouse) will not be managed, Grouse will not thrive as they are doing now and neither will the Hen Harriers. Loose shooting and you WILL loose a whole lot more!

  • Ben

    Interesting to read a few mis-informed, biassed opinions. Going off half cocked springs to mind and not really understanding the ‘whole picture’. Grouse shooting along with other forms of hunting in the countryside make it what it is. What you see now didn’t happen by accident. Its a well known fact that unmanaged land doesn’t mean a natural haven for wildlife. Countryside management to sustain livelihoods and communities through shooting allows many other flora and fauna to flourish, this being the rule opposed to the exception.

    I also find it distasteful to accuse people involved with shooting of killing protected species and using illegal methods to control vermin.

    This Poll should read ”8 mis-informed reasons to get involved with something you dont understand”.

  • Rene Gonzalez


    • DeerDog

      Who wants to exterminate grouse? Its certainly not hunters or gamekeepers as they are the VERY people actively maintaining the habitat so that the grouse can flourish. After all, who would want to go for a day grouse shooting if the grouse were all exterminated?

  • Steve Dann

    Grouse are raised for the sole purpose of being shot by the idle rich. These vile, despicable social parasites should be returned to the dark ages where they belong.

    • DeerDog

      Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about, allow me to educate you. Grouse are not bred or raised. They are wild birds! The moorland that they NEED to survive is managed by gamekeepers. Without gamekeeprs the grouse will not survive. You have just proved how people like yourself with no understanding of how these things work are a danger to the very wildlife that they are trying to protect.

    • Mike the Limey

      Idle rich?
      I work 50 hours a week & earn less than a junior civil servant, so I’m neither, yet I shoot grouse, pheasant, deer, rabbits & other animals, most of which I eat.
      Those animals have a far more natural existence than beef cattle, sheep & pigs that put meat in the supermarkets.

      If you are a vegetarian, consider this:
      Rabbits are too, as are deer & without their numbers being restricted, you wouldn’t have any vegetables to eat

      • Steve Dann

        Ok then, raised to be shot. It matters not one jot how rich or poor the toss pots are that are shooting them. Meat eaters eat more vegetables than Vegetarians ever do but only because they are used to fatten up the animals ready for slaughter. Not Veggie but Vegan actually. Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you but contrary to popular belief, animal rights activists do have lives :)

  • jo

    A bunch of barbarians shooting birds for fun in this day and age. It must stop.

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