An investigation by Friends of the Earth has revealed that grouse shooting is costing tax payers millions of pounds every year.
In an article in today’s Guardian (here), FoE shows how just 30 grouse moors in England received £4 million pounds in public subsidies during 2014 alone. These estates include those owned by lords, dukes, earls, barons, bankers, businessmen and companies based in off-shore tax havens. Imagine what the total would be if all 149 English grouse moors had been assessed.
One of the 30 assessed is the Mossdale Estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, whose gamekeeper escaped prosecution earlier this year after he was filmed setting illegal pole traps in the vicinity of a foraging hen harrier. The police later admitted they’d cocked up and that he should have faced prosecution. This estate received £54,000 in CAP payments in 2014, and a further £170,000 in 2015.
In an age of austerity, who’s happy that their taxes are being used to support criminal activities on grouse moors? Even if we weren’t in austerity, why the hell should we be paying anything to help the super-rich trash our uplands so they can amuse themselves by killing thousands of red grouse in the name of ‘sport’?
Guy Shrubsole of FoE said:
“These shocking new figures reveal the true, horrifying scale of grouse moors in England and the madness of the current farm payments system that subsidises them. Instead of handing out taxpayers’ money to billionaires and offshore firms to indulge in an elite sport, the government must reform farm payments so public money is spent on public goods – like tree-planting, restoring wildlife habitats, farming sustainably and preventing flooding downstream”.
For those of you with an interest in how FoE uncovered the scale of this scandal, have a read of this.
Photo: trashed upland grouse moor (RPUK)