The first day of the grouse shooting season, traditionally known as the "Glorious Twelfth" has just passed and the Scottish land-owners have launched a campaign to protect their privileges called ‘Gift of Grouse’. The 'sport' has an appalling record of crimes against wildlife, and its land management practices not only work directly against efforts to counter climate change, they cause immediate damage to communities downhill from shooting estates through increased flood risks.
The RSPB Scotland has again called for grouse moors to be licensed following the discovery of a dead hen harrier on a moor in south west Scotland. The young female bird, named Annie, had been fitted with a satellite transmitter as a chick.
Tom Quinn of the League Against Cruel Sports said people were giving the impression shooting game for the table was healthy, sustainable and environmentally friendly, but that it was none of those things.
“Millions of other animals and birds are deliberately killed to protect the grouse shooting industry. The environment is being devastated by the burning of grouse moors, and millions of tonnes of lead shot are left to poison the countryside.”
Ownership and use of much of the land in Scotland is positively medieval. Those neo-feudal landowners got their large estates by nefarious means and over many generations have systematically cleared the land for the venal pursuit of profit. Socialists would like to see the moors, hills, glens, shores and mountains rewilded and repopulated, a place where we are not shooting the life out of the birds, the deer and raping the landscape. We have no doubt that the loss of a few cap-doffing, servile gamekeepers and ghillies will be more than compensated by new employment resulting from proper agricultural use, leisure and tourism, and wildlife conservancy. Reforest the moors, re-introduce wolves and watch the country come back truly alive.
Scottish “grouse moors” cover an estimated area of approximately 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) making it one of Scotland’s most extensive land uses. Much of the land was taken from the working people so it could usually be handed over to sheep farming or grouse coursing. It was privatized from commonly held lands to the ownership of a few elites. Those people were squeezed into the unhealthy cities of Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh or onto ships to the New Worlds where they could take the lands of other peoples further down the chain.