Tag: grouse moors

(To the surprise of no-one) banned poison found on Leadhills Estate

To the surprise of almost no-one a large quantity of banned poison has been found on the Leadhills Estate, a South Lanarkshire shooting estate notorious for wildlife crime (though no doubt somewhere in the offices of the SGA they’ll be considering saying it was a plant). The poison was discovered by a League Against Cruel Sports investigator carrying out general field research in July last year on ‘Deadhills’ as it’s been dubbed (and anyone who’s visited this depressingly silent slab of grouse moor and wondered where the hell all the wildlife was, will understand why). Police Scotland has confirmed the poison was – again to the surprise of no-one – the ‘professional’s’ weapon of choice against birds of prey, a banned substance hazardous to humans and wildlife alike which is illegal to keep or use in the UK: Carbofuran. As we and countless others have pointed out, just a few grains of carbofuran sprinkled on to a rabbit corpse makes for an illegal but cheap and highly toxic bait.

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Mail Online lobbying (badly) for grouse moors

There is nothing wrong with lobbying (it’s what we do after all), but we do think that lobbyists – and the people who ‘report’ their words – ought at least to feel obliged to be as accurate as they can (it’s what we do after all). So, here’s a little Fact Check-style breakdown for the journos at the Daily Mail who copy out press-releases from grouse moor owners with very little analysis – and for any of the Mail’s readers who might wonder just how accurate these ‘reports’ really are…So, after all that Daily Mail, do you think that grouse moor owners are ‘lobbying to educate’ or ‘lobbying to mislead’? Answers on a postcard please….

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RPUK | FIFTYONE Hen Harriers missing or dead since 2018

Raptor Persecution UK are by now, as far as most people are concerned, the most accessible – and certainly most current – talliers of just how many Hen Harriers have ‘disappeared’ or been confirmed illegally killed on grouse moors. The site has today updated their list again following a response earlier this month to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request made to Natural England. In their most recent post they put the figure at a staggering fifty-one recorded dead or missing Hen Harriers – and that’s SINCE 2018. We don’t want to tread on RPUK’s toes in any way (though we’ve been assured many times by Dr Ruth Tingay that all she wants is to get the information out there and seen by as many people as possible) so we suggest heading over to the RPUK website immediately – but to summarise what they’re saying today is that they began compiling this astonishing and disgraceful roll-call of dead protected birds in 2018 because that is the year that the ridiculously self-important grouse shooters decided they would graciously stop illegally killing Hen Harriers and welcome them back to the moors instead…

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Hen Harriers return to Wharfedale moorland

Well, well, well. Who could possibly have predicted this etc etc. In what must be one of grouse shooting’s worst-case scenarios coming true, a previously ‘dead’ moorland that banned grouse shooting activities (ie high levels of raptor persecution and rotational burning) has reportedly sprung back to life, birds of prey have started to roost, and peatland habitats have begun to regenerate. After all the time and money grouse shooting’s lobbyists have spent telling us that without the skilled management techniques (ie high levels of raptor persecution and rotational burning) of the ‘conservationists with guns’ Britain’s uplands would simply curl up and waste away…Nonsense, of course. Kudos NG Bailey, and kudos the Yorkshire Post and journalist Grace Newton for continuing to speak up for wildlife in a region that has repeatedly been acknowledged as the worst for raptor persecution in the UK

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Alex Hogg knows nothing about birdwatching…

The wonderful Raptor Persecution UK (RPUK) has posted a blog today about a claim by Alex Hogg, Chair of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, that grouse moors – those wildlife crime-riddled, ecologically devastated, playgrounds for so-called ‘sportsmen’ – are ‘a birdwatchers’ paradise’. RPUK has analysed the context and linked back to numerous articles of their own looking at the rampant raptor persecution that takes place on grouse moors, so – stepping outside of ‘team WoW’ for a moment – as a life-long birdwatcher I’d like to add my own comments about Hogg’s ignorant claims from a personal perspective. I had planned to leave it at the tweet posted below, but I won’t let him get away with it so lightly.

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Scotland | Licencing sends Grouse industry into meltdown

After ignoring every warning they’ve ever been given that unless things change Scotland’s government was going to be forced into doing something about grouse moors, the industry is shaking its collective head in faux-shock and faux-indignation that Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon has decided that self-regulation hasn’t worked (“self-regulation alone will not be enough to end the illegal killing of raptors”) and has stated in parliament that, “I believe that the Government needs to act…and begin developing a licensing scheme now”. Ms Gougeon also said that the Scottish government planned to regulate the use of medicated grit (trays of the stuff litter grouse moors), and to license muirburn, the controversial practice of burning old heather to promote younger growth for grouse to feed on. This fetid industry should have been gone long ago. It doesn’t deserve the opportunity to survive that licencing gives them, but it’s so unlikely that shooting can stop behaving like a delinquent it will end up closing itself down within a few years anyway…

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RSPB launches burning reporting website

The RSPB is today launching a website where members of the public can submit their records of managed burning in northern England’s uplands as part of showing the Government where burning is still taking place. The charity will then analyse the records to see if they’re likely to be on peat soils (to indicate where blanket bog should be) and in protected areas (SSSIs, SACs). An IUCN report on peatland estimated that the UK may host between 8.8 and 14.8% of Europe’s peatland area and about 13% of the world resource of blanket bog. They state that though blanket bog has a species-poor assemblage it “contains an exceptionally high proportion of species with legal protection under UK and European conservation law“. Blanket bog forms the largest expanse of semi-natural habitat in the UK, but almost three quarters of peatlands in England are already damaged or degraded, according to Natural England, with burning a key driver.

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Herald Scotland Poll | Grouse shooting in Scotland: Are you for or against?

The grouse shooting industry has been fighting a rearguard battle lately, attempting to sell its message of ‘Game is Good’ amidst a tidal wave of reports of raptor persecution, the widespread use of traps and snares, Mountain Hare culls, and burning moorland. Adding to their woes is an increasing backlash against killing hundreds of thousands of wild birds for ‘fun’ and arising awareness of animal sentience. It’ll be interesting then to see how the industry responds to a poll by The Herald (a Scottish broadsheet which is the longest running national newspaper in the world and the eighth oldest daily paper in the world) which has closed after asking its readers ‘Are you For or Against Grouse Shooting’ .

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