New paper on environmental impacts of driven grouse shooting

A new scientific paper has just been published that drives another nail in to the coffin of driven grouse moor management in its current form.

Published yesterday in the scientific journal Ibis, this is a free access paper which means everyone can read it without having to pay high subscription fees:

Thompson, P.S., Douglas, D.J.T., Hoccom, D.G., Knott, J., Roos, S. and Wilson, J.D. (2016). Environmental impacts of high-output driven shooting of Red Grouse. Ibis 158: 446-452.

This paper provides a timely and succinct review of the damage caused by various aspects of intensive grouse moor management, including predator control, heather burning and the medication of red grouse to prevent disease. It’s well written, well referenced and well worth a few minutes of your time.

The authors argue that grouse moor management could contribute a lot to upland conservation but not in its current form. They say that for this to happen, “a fundamental shift in behaviours and practices would be needed, informed by evidence, supported by public policy, and led by landowners committed to a sustainable future for grouse shooting”.

IMG_5393 (2) - Copy

This paper is another damning indictment of the current intensification of grouse moor management and is authored by some well-respected scientists from the RSPB. It’s interesting then, that the RSPB’s Conservation Director Martin Harper is still advocating ‘constructive’ dialogue (see his blog from this morning here) with an industry that has proven, time and time again, that it is unwilling or incapable of change.

Sometimes (often) dialogue can be a good strategy, and it’s certainly where you should start, but there comes a time when you have to recognise that behind-the-scenes dialogue isn’t working. A good example of this can be seen with the Scottish beaver fiasco, where the RZSS has been engaged in behind-the-scenes diplomacy to work out a plan for managing the beavers on Tayside, but this morning has sent a damning open letter to Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod, accusing her of dragging her feet at potentially enormous cost to the beavers (see here).

The dialogue about the mis-management of upland grouse moors has been going on for years, and especially the impact of this mis-management on the conservation of hen harriers (remember the six-year chat that ended in failure?). The RSPB walked away from that; how long before they join those of us whose patience ran out a long time ago and call for a ban on driven grouse shooting?

Please sign the latest e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE

Photograph of an intensively-managed driven grouse moor on Donside (RPS).

9 Responses to “New paper on environmental impacts of driven grouse shooting”

  1. 1 Simon Tucker
    March 22, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Unfortunately, the usual suspects will dismiss the report because it is authored by the RSPB scientists. Perhaps they need to get somebody involved who is seen to be impartial: somebody like Steve Redpath.

  2. 3 Ian Robinson
    March 22, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    You can only have a dialogue with those who listen and give honest responses. Especially in England, where government is at best apathetic about raptor persecution, grouse moor landowners appear smugly confident that their wealth and influence outweigh the facts and the law.

    Time to walk away from these people.

  3. 4 barbmc
    March 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I agree. The attitude of entitlement doesn’t consider others’ rights or needs. They are not prepared to seriously discuss the rights and wrongs of their actions, and rectify them, and the bodies supposedly responsible for correct organisation and monitoring of the situation are worse than useless, covering up the truth and defending their moneyed friends. More
    support and action is required to show them they are not above the law, and NOW is a good opportunity, while the government is in complete disarray.

  4. March 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Off Topic – but ON topic- Birders Against Wildlife Crime are reporting Hen Harrier ‘Lad’ found shot on an estate in Speyside.

  5. 7 Merlin
    March 22, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    ” but this morning has sent a damning open letter to Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod, accusing her of dragging her feet at potentially enormous cost to the beavers (see here). ”

    Can anyone who follows this blog regulary honestly be surprised at that sentence, how long before she gets moved in a reshuffle and we realise we have just lost another two/three years, I feel sorry for our wildlife at the moment it is being completely neglected by those who are being paid to protect it and is completely at the mercy of the hooligans

  6. 8 Tony Warburtopn MBE
    March 23, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Are you suggesting that ‘Aileen the Silent’ actually exists?

  7. 9 Secret Squirrel
    March 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Beavers may be off tiopic here, but I suspect the RSZZ has raised the issue as the suspicion is that the delay in publication will facillitate a slaughter this summer by landowners/water managers on Tayside

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