Scale of animal suffering on Scotland’s grouse moors revealed in new report from Revive coalition

Press release from Revive (8 December 2019)

Animal welfare charities publish new report highlighting the scale of suffering on Scotland’s grouse moors

Leading animal welfare charities have published a new report illustrating industrial scale suffering on Scotland’s grouse moors to sustain the grouse shooting industry.

Untold Suffering, published by the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland and OneKind, documents the extent to which animals are being killed and subjected to negative welfare impacts to ensure grouse stocks are kept artificially high to be shot for entertainment.

The report which includes a foreword from TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, describes the circle of destruction that surrounds grouse moors to effectively wipe out any species which pose a threat to game birds stocks. It highlights a number of case studies illustrating the types of suffering endured by a range of different species, including protected and domestic animals.

The charities are calling for:

● An independent review of the welfare implications of all traps, conducted by animal welfare scientists.

● A ban on snares, stink pits, Larsen traps, the use of decoy birds and mountain hare culls.

● An end to driven grouse shooting.

● A system of mandatory proficiency tests and licenses for all shooters.

● All wildlife management carried out in Scotland to conform to the seven principles of Ethical Wildlife Control.

Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, Robbie Marsland said: “Thousands and thousands of animals are condemned to die a cruel death that fuels the circle of destruction that surrounds grouse moors – all to make sure there are more grouse to be shot for entertainment. It’s time for this madness to end.”

Director of OneKInd Bob Elliot added: “The report helps to raise awareness of the physical and mental suffering inflicted on the animals caught in these cruel traps and snares. The level of suffering inflicted on these wild animals, that will often die slow, agonising deaths, is completely unacceptable and would be illegal if inflicted on our pets.

‘’OneKind calls for a complete ban on these cruel and antiquated traps and snares and we’ve recently petitioned the Scottish Parliament to end these wildlife killings in Scotland.’’

As well as making a series of recommendations the report includes commentary from Romain Pizzi from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, describing the welfare impacts of the trapping and killing methods outlined in the report. In one case study, where a pine marten which has become trapped in a spring trap, Romain comments:

There is no doubt in my mind that this pine marten suffered severe pain and distress. Considering that it is an intelligent carnivore, probably the best way one can empathise with the animal’s suffering is to imagine a pet dog undergoing the same experience.”

The report was commissioned by Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform. The coalition partners are OneKind, League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, Common Weal, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Raptor Persecution UK.


The report can be downloaded here: Untold Suffering_Revive Report

A hard copy of this report will be sent to every MSP in the new year. It will also feature at the Revive coalition’s parliamentary reception later this week to mark the end of this year’s grouse shooting season.

If you support significant reform of Scotland’s grouse moors please sign Revive’s call for change here

9 Responses to “Scale of animal suffering on Scotland’s grouse moors revealed in new report from Revive coalition”

  1. 1 Greyandblue
    December 8, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Madness indeed….this horror MUST end.

  2. 2 TaddyOfKentoo
    December 8, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Revive’s call for change signed & shared! Await ‘Werrity’..

  3. 3 RCMF
    December 8, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Found quite a few hedgehogs dead in spring traps on Yorkshire grouse moors this year, both in rail trap and more hidden tunnel trap setups along walls. All photographed and recorded. Not many people look for this, and some of these were very close to public rights of way, practically hiding in plain sight but not being noticed. Really makes you wonder what the true death toll is of “non target” species, much like raptor persecution it will be under-recorded.

  4. 4 Simon Tucker
    December 8, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    So Countryfile are going to run an article on snaring tonight: showing how it’s done legally and illegally, showing farmers who use “other methods” etc. I guarantee the one question they won’t be asking: why is it necessary at all?

    Snares, spring traps etc are abominations: they should all be banned. If an animal is a genuine problem it should be live caught and relocated, as I do with the mice in my garage. We have no species in this country that warrant being snared or killed in a spring trap. Foxes, stoats and weasels are the arable farmer’s friend: preying on rabbits, rats and mice. Yes, they can be an issue for ground nesting birds, but there are other management methods that can take out the random killing of non-target species and the inhumane cruelty of snares and spring traps.

    • 5 heclasu
      December 8, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      You weren’t wrong Simon!

    • 6 Les Wallace
      December 8, 2019 at 10:09 pm

      Yes this is what they somehow forget to mention the negative effect predator ‘control’ has on agriculture. When I lived in Suffolk there was a tremendous problem with rabbits in the area, on our farm this manifested itself in them digging up and biting into the flexible tubing that ran off the hard plastic irrigation pipes. It was a constant job repairing it. One local farmer apparently tried to protect his crop by JCBing a trench around it and filling it with slurry – which wouldn’t have done local water quality much good. And yet there was a character called Trevor whose hobby was going round farms and blasting their foxes!! He was welcomed, in our case because the hen coop was crap and as I knew it would a fox got in within days and killed the farmer’s wife’s pet hens.

      • December 9, 2019 at 6:38 pm

        Back in the 1980s while working at a highland perthsire shooting estate famous for its woodlands, I talked to the head forester who said he had to re-plant young trees because of the damage from rabbits, the keepers would stay up all night killing foxes but wouldnt stoop to shooting rabbits!..he was not a happy man.

  5. December 8, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Plants are the fabric of the habitat,,,, we only get the species that can regenerate quicker after the fire….
    impoverished near monoculture.

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