An image of 3 guns out Grouse shooting

The Numerous Benefits of Grouse Shooting

A lot has been written about the benefits of Grouse Shooting in the past few weeks. In our support of this great spectacle and to save you the time of raking through numerous articles, we’ve read across a range of pieces from the industries top organisations and pulled what we think are some of most important benefits.

It is no surprise that The Guardian readers and other animal rights activists have a problem with driven Grouse shoots. We can only hope that some of them take the time, and make the effort, to read some of the following points. Perhaps, they will then understand the many, many benefits and the positive impact that they have on our wildlife, our Moorlands and our environment.

One of the greatest benefits of Grouse shooting and Moor management is the level of employment that it provides. A recent report by The Countryside Alliance estimated that Grouse shooting in England creates 42,500 work days a year, and over 1,500 full-time jobs. Clearly, with numbers this high, levels of un-employment in some of the most rural areas of the country would increase dramatically should some people get their way and the sport was banned. To further the economic argument for managed Grouse shoots, the Moorland Association (MA) stated, in 2010, that research estimated the industry was worth £68 million in England & Wales – and this number is likely to have increased in 2017. The MA also state that over 10 years, MA members have treated over 40,000 acres of invasive bracken to stop it swamping and killing other moorland plants. This is a huge amount of land.

The economic benefits of Grouse shooting are abundantly clear. Another benefit, which perhaps even exceeds those that are economic, is the environmental gain. According to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Moors managed for Red Grouse are shown to be better than other land uses in maintaining heather-dominated habitat. This is essential, as heather moorland is rarer than rainforest, and 75% is found in Britain – this is thanks to Moor management. GWCT also mention that many species of upland birds, including curlew, lapwing and golden plover, are more numerous and breed more successfully on moorland managed for Red Grouse than on other moorland not managed in this way – many of these birds are of conservation concern with declining numbers.

The RSPB also joined in listing numerous benefits of Grouse shoots, claiming in 2012 that heather left unmanaged would result in a significant build-up of wildfire risk, which would have great detrimental impacts on carbon storage.

And, we cannot forget our countries vital water supply. According to Natural England, Upland areas in the UK account for 70% of the UK’s drinking water. Work by moor managers to preserve and maintain peatland is helping to improve the ability of the uplands to store water and carbon, and should be recognised as playing a valuable role in improving water quality.

In response to the last petition to ban driven grouse shooting, the UK government released a statement recognising that: “When carried out in accordance with the law, grouse shooting for sport is a legitimate activity and in addition to its significant economic contribution, providing jobs and investment in some of our most remote areas, it can offer important benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation”. 

So, it comes as no surprise that The National Gamekeepers Organisation says banning Grouse shooting would be a disaster for the uplands, their wildlife, their economy and their communities. The management of Moorlands is largely paid for by private funds, yet benefit all of us – including the biodiversity and wildlife on these landscapes. It is inevitable that this debate will rage on, but we have the Science on our side to back up our argument!

 

 

Glorious 12th Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISWrS-yhvO4&list=UUzAY-rkQfuurGt2VeIUCuRQ

BASC – https://basc.org.uk/blog/press-releases/latest-news/the-benefits-of-grouse-shooting-interactive-infographic/

NGO – https://www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk/media/uploads/cat-259/grouse-shooting.pdf 

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