Every year hundreds of thousands of Red Grouse, dosed up with medication and kept at unnatural stocking densities, are killed on Scotland’s grouse moors. It’s industrialised slaughter, but one that industry lobbyists attempt to greenwash as being all about ‘conservation’, ‘natural food’, and ‘tradition’.
What the grouse shooting industry doesn’t like to talk about, except in glowing terms about how it apparently helps Curlews, is the massive number of native wild animals it traps and snares every year so that those grouse can be served up to the guns.
A new downloadable Report from the Revive coalition, ‘Untold Suffering’, reveals the truth behind grouse shooting’s welfare impact on the untold thousands of animals that are killed so that more grouse can be shot for ‘sport’.
It’s difficult reading sometimes, but how could it not be?
Untold Suffering: How thousands of animals are trapped, snared and killed
‘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.