Westminster debate on driven grouse shooting – the evidence session

img_2495 As you’ll be well aware, in August Mark Avery’s petition to ban driven grouse shooting successfully passed the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a Parliamentary debate, which is due to take place in Westminster Hall on Monday 31 October 2016.

In the run up to that debate, the Petitions Committee (along with the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee) held an evidence session last Tuesday (18 Oct) at Portcullis House – the ugly looking building across the road from Big Ben – where oral evidence was given by Mark Avery, Jeff Knott (RSPB), Amanda Anderson (Moorland Association) and Liam Stokes (Countryside Alliance).

The evidence session was recorded and is available to watch on Parliamentary tv here. A transcript of the evidence session is available to read here.

In addition to the oral evidence, approximately 500 pieces of written evidence were submitted to the Petitions Committee’s inquiry. These are just beginning to be posted on the Parliamentary website (see here). So far, 104 submissions have been published and presumably the remainder will be published over the next few days.

We’ll be blogging about the oral evidence and the written evidence over the coming week. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Mark Avery’s blog as he too is examining the written evidence (e.g. see here, here [this one is priceless], here).

11 Responses to “Westminster debate on driven grouse shooting – the evidence session”

  1. 1 Chris
    October 23, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    I read a comment on this the other day from in a facebook post from the Countryside Alliance. The writer had the arrogance to suggest that an unknown number of signers of the petition would not even know what a grouse is. I used to support the aims of the CA a long time ago, but I now see how out of touch they are with reality.

    • October 23, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Chris the main problem I have always had is their arrogance in suggesting that they in any way represent “the countryside” – they have always been a one trick pony – they represent the shooting community – and not all of them like the CA either…

      • October 25, 2016 at 9:30 am

        The CA represent: Fox and Stag Hunting, all wildlife shooting and in particular pheasant shoots that routinely destroy much of our wildlife so as to protect the poults, the Hunts Terrier men and their underground work, arguably the most cruel aspect of fox hunting. these people also block badger setts, illegal, allow or take part in the digging out of badgers for badger/dog fights which involves big money. probably quite a high number of our police . was very saddened that during this meeting the RSPB man said that he supported some shooting of birds! I found this meeting incredibly depressing and b egin to feel that the killers, the Hunts are clearly taking over.Cub hunting still going on.

    • 4 dave angel
      October 24, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Is this the petition that initially stated that grouse moors provide ideal habitat for stone curlews?

  2. 5 Doug Malpus
    October 23, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    In a counter attack on the CA, one could say the same about them. Their indiscriminate shooting, mostly grouse, pheasants, partridge along with tiny birds like quail, woodcock, snipe, golden plover and more, only highlights their lack of concern of countryside issues.

    My answer to their shooting of pheasants. 1. the gamekeeper grows the birds in cages (this they already do), 2. on the day of the shoot, gk and helpers (formerly beaters), humanely kill the birds, play recorded bird sounds. 3. load corpses in catapults and launch them over the heads of shooters, 4. shooters fire blanks (most would not know the difference). 5. helpers walk around and collect corpses. The meat is not filled with toxic lead. The ground is not polluted with toxic lead. The shooters can slap each other on the back for their 100% KILL and having a jolly good time. 6. the shooters can go back to the bar to get even more drunk than they were. They can brag about the kill and the low flying bird or the neighbouring gun that nearly killed them.
    Driven game shooting is altogether so barbaric and primitive (prehistoric man did it thousands of years ago but they had a need).


  3. 6 Mr Greer Hart, senior
    October 24, 2016 at 2:53 am

    Last week, I began phoning various MPs and party headquarters, to make sure that they knew of the debate on the 3l October about Grouse shooting. I was assured that message would be given to the relevant person, but those to whom I spoke, did not seem to have much interest in the subject, even when I expanded on the importance of the subject, and its implications for radical change in the use of the wild landscape of the UK, and even land ownership. The usual topics were obviously paramount in the minds of our ambitious politicians and their paid and volunteer staff, that is, the NHS, Poverty/Equality/Inclusiveness, Immigration, Brexit, Independence, etc. I am not being contemptuous of such issues, but how can we win the case for the enforcement of the laws to protect our wildlife, and to create a more humane way of using certain areas of our landscape, and ridding the UK of the taint of the excessive practice of blood sports, when the aforementioned subjects have been adduced as priorities? That is how they arm wrestle causes such as ours down, and so maintain the status quo of barbarity towards wild creatures, along with the spurious arguments to justify their “sport”, as controllers of “vermin” and the providers of a wildlife rich countryside along with being providers of wholesome lead laced food.

    Our campaign to protect our Birds of Prey, Mountain Hares and other creatures, has its counterparts throughout the planet, with the gross shooting of Elephants, Rhinos and other wild creatures, targets for trophy shooters, and recent examples have shown proud killers standing over just shot Elephants in Zimbabwe, as there are supposedly too many such animals there! Meantime, in the USA, there is furious attempt to make sure their Senate does not become stuffed with anti-green/conservation Senators, as much of the National Park system could be under severe threat if it does. Trump and Sons are big game hunters, and that is sending a shiver through the wildlife conservation campaign groups, if he should win. Greenpeace, Avaaz and other petition groups, are all clamouring for signatures to protect Whales from Japanese whaling, as the IWC is now convening. Througout South America and Africa, no wild place or forest is safe from developments, such as gold, oil/gas, diamond, dam builders, plantation agriculture and the roving bands of terrorists and poachers.
    There is a World War on against the natural world and its life forms, and the enemy is all powerful and corruptingly influential in getting what it wants.

    One positive reply to my recruiting support the debate on Grouse Shooting, was from Ian Murray, Scotland’s Labour MP, who sent me an extensive email showing his deep knowledge of the subject, and his support. With the SNP no such luck, and I did emphasise to those to whom I spoke, that it would not look good if no one from their ranks in the Commons, spoke up about the persecution of Birds of Prey on Scottish moorlands where Grouse were to be shot. I await SNP contribution, if any, to this debate, with eagerness, and also hope the Green Party stands on our side, by giving credible verbal support. One could measure the level of leverage by the shooting industry over our politicians, by the level of support our cause gets from our MPs on Monday.

    • October 24, 2016 at 8:37 am

      The select committee seemed top heavy with NFU and pro Grouse shooters, Countryside Alliance and natural england was mentioned frequently. Just to say that to me: Natural England with Andrew Sells introduction to that org, the horrible unelected NFU abd DEFRA are one and the same in reality. The point made about shooting is for fun was not taken seriously. Pheasant shoots make money for landowners and pheasant shooting is for fun just as fox hunting, stag hunting are. Add on to the many illegal wildlife crimes and my greatest fear is that we will not have any wildlife left. I wish to see foxes and badgers and our birds of prey protected but didn’t hear much from the Select Committee members that had that interest at heart at all. The local people will know what causes more run off than all the experts put together………………

    • 8 dave angel
      October 24, 2016 at 9:39 am

      It will be interesting to see what the SNP party line on the matter will be at Westminster, (and unlike the other parties they will have a party line which will be followed no matter what views the individual MPs may have) given that they are in a position to actually do something about it in Scotland.

  4. 9 mairi
    October 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

    And yet they may find the time to hold a vote for this – (if I may add this link, please?) https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/161635

  5. October 24, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Is there a way you could change the white font on grey background… it’s melting my eyes! Thanks

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