Marks and Spencer has announced it won’t be selling red grouse in its stores for the second year running. Excellent!
Read their statement here.
It’s quite interesting that the reason given is “because of the cold wet spring and the toll this took on red grouse on our single estate in the Scottish Borders, we won’t be selling grouse this year – as a responsible retailer, we believe that conserving the birds this year is the right thing to do. We intend to stock grouse next year, assuming the weather allows us too! [sic]”.
It’s hard to imagine that if M&S really wanted to sell red grouse they wouldn’t be able to find another stockist – there are over 400 grouse moors in the UK. Do they really only source their grouse from one (as yet unnamed) estate in the Borders? Are they saying that the other 400+ grouse moors don’t meet the requirements of their (as yet un-described) Responsible Sourcing Code? Or is what they really mean that they can’t find any grouse moor in the UK that meets the requirements of their Responsible Sourcing Code but they don’t want to say that for fear of a customer backlash/possible boycott by those who support grouse shooting? If so, using the ‘poor weather’ as a reason is quite clever as it keeps all customers happy: ‘we’ are happy because they’re not selling red grouse and ‘they’ [grouse industry supporters] are happy because M&S isn’t publicly saying that red grouse is an unethical, unhealthy and unsustainable product (which it is).
Whatever, we’re delighted that M&S won’t be stocking red grouse this year and we also applaud them for trying to develop a new Responsible Sourcing Code – we look forward to finding out just what that code entails in due course.