Should driven grouse shoots be banned?

Dr Mark Avery has just launched an e-petition on the No 10 website calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting in England.  Anyone who follows his blog “Standing up for Nature” will realise that he must have agonised about this action for some considerable time.  He admits that he is not really very keen on banning things so it has clearly taken a lot of soul searching to launch this petition.  However, he reasons that despite the species ‘enjoying’ 60 years of complete legal protection, the Hen Harrier is now rarer than it was (in England at least) when it got that protection!   And after at least a couple of decades of talking about solutions with the moorland community, in which he played a part for a while, the Hen Harrier is almost extinct in England.  As most readers would recognise there are generally times when one can reach an understanding with ‘the other side’ but he argues persuasively that this doesn’t appear to be one suchtime.  Avery considers that the systematic, illegal, wholesale removal of a protected bird from our countryside is a disgrace.

He admits and we’d be inclined to agree that we would all be rather surprised if this e-petition led to the banning of driven grouse shooting but it is hoped that it will highlight the issues around this land use (which are far wider than a protected bird of prey) and make it easier for some sort of sensible solution to emerge.  But if grouse shooting were banned, would we really miss it, he asks?

We would echo his sentiments about signing petitions, all of us I am sure are inundated with requests to add support to a campaign petition, but he is right when he only seeks support from those sympathising with the situation.

So, do readers sympathise with the fact that there are less Hen Harriers breeding now than when they first received protection, should grouse moors in receipt of public funds be accountable?  Is there sufficient support out there to get the issue debated in Parliament?  For more detail see “Ban driven grouse shooting” , so far there are 1,110 signatures …. can Avery do for Hen Harriers and upland moorland what Chris Packham has done to raise the profile of Malta Massacre on Migration?

The previous post to this raised the politics of the European elections, as I understand the situation the case involving the Walshaw Estate and breach of legislation is still ongoing …. without the Habitats and Birds Directives much UK wildlife would be less protected?

Or maybe, just maybe the various political parties are all going to review and revise their respective environmental policies?  Or will they simply dust down those which used to lurk somewhere in a cupboard …. ever an agnostic …. and in the meanwhile Hen Harriers need our help, so – can the critical mass of the conservation community achieve a debate in the Westminster village, aka Parliament?


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