Henry’s Tour: Day 24

Wed 6 May - Copy

Henry is visiting the premises of Yorkshire Game in North Yorkshire.

According to its website, Yorkshire Game supplies fresh and frozen oven ready game and wild venison to supermarkets, wholesalers, butchers and food service. Their most popular products are grouse, pheasant, partridge, hare, rabbit, wild venison, wild duck and woodpigeon.

You might remember we blogged about Yorkshire Game quite a lot last year. Yorkshire Game was the sole supplier of grouse to Marks and Spencer: See this information sheet –  Marks and Spencer Game

However, when we, Mark Avery, Ethical Consumer, RSPB, and many others asked Marks and Spencer to reassure their customers that they were sourcing their grouse from estates that weren’t involved in the illegal persecution of hen harriers and other protected species (see here, here, here, here), they couldn’t. They couldn’t even tell us the name of the individual estates because that was considered “commercially sensitive information“, which was slightly odd for a company that is big on traceability and is more than happy to tell you the name of the actual farmer who has supplied their beef and lamb!

Anyway, as we all know, increasing public pressure forced Marks and Spencer to eventually make the bold move to stop selling grouse for the forseeable future, stating, “We have not been able to guarantee a responsible source of red grouse in the numbers we need” (see here).

That was a big result. We’ll be watching with interest to see what happens this year.

Meanwhile, Mark Avery has today published a long list of London restaurants who are believed to sell red grouse and he’s encouraging people to contact those restaurants to ask them about the provenance of their grouse. Hopefully many of you will join in.

We’ll also be keeping an eye on Yorkshire Game’s website, which prominently features the word ‘Traceable’ on its home page. It also has a sub-category named ‘Suppliers’ which should make for interesting reading, if Yorkshire Game ever get around to finishing the site’s construction. Which of those suppliers are grouse moors in North Yorkshire and which of those moors has supported the successful breeding of hen harriers in recent years? According to our information (which comes from an impeccable source) hen harriers haven’t bred successfully in North Yorkshire since 2007!

We’re also interested in Yorkshire Game’s sister company, The Blackface Meat Company in Scotland. According to their website, they ‘insist on traceability’, they source their gamebirds from ‘selected Scottish estates’ which are ‘well managed’ and grouse is their ‘speciality’. Sounds like a wonderful company who’d be happy to share information about the provenance of their game birds. Let’s see, shall we?

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