Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Post 444 - What I've learnt from the Grouse debate

Hey everyone, I was busy yesterday with my post on half term so I didn't get time to read about the debate on grouse shooting. So I decided to look today at what people were saying about it on social media. From what I have seen it doesn't seem to have been a very fair discussion. Lots of people seem really unhappy that the grouse moor owners and shooting organisation's side of the argument was the one that was mainly heard and that some of the evidence that was quoted wasn't right. Nature got a mention but the main things that people say were mentioned is that Gamekeepers are the saviours of our nature, that they work hard to conserve many species. I'm not sure that the Hen Harriers that hardly got a mention would agree with that...
It has been great as a young person to watch how this debate came about. I've seen all the hard work that a lot of people - Mark Avery in particular - have put in to get the debate to happen. I've learnt about making petitions and about writing to my MP. I've had some responses and I've learnt how my MP at least is quite good at not quite answering the question I ask. (I asked if he thought it was fair to give money to grouse moors for a few people to have a hobby when our local hospital needs funds to provide important services for lots of people).

I've learnt how wildlife charities and other people have to work very hard to do studies to show what is happening to nature in our moors. I've learnt how a lot of people ignore evidence if it doesn't suit them. I've learnt a lot about how our Government works. If it's always like this I learnt that I don't like it very much, that it doesn't seem very fair.

There are some things I don't understand though. Why do so many MP's support this hobby. It's a pretty horrible one when you just frighten birds towards a load of people waiting to shoot them. Why do we pay land owners to make the moors great for grouse but not for raptors? Why can't some moors at least be left to be more natural and wild to help Hen Harriers and other birds? Maybe they are but there can't be enough of them if we only have a few Hen Harriers managing to nest and raise young.

I tried to help a little bit by writing to my MP, by tweeting about the petition like lots of other people did. I think it is amazing how much people like Mark Avery and Chris Packham have worked on this and I'd like to say a big thank you to them. I'd also like to thank Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett for sticking up for nature.

 Another thing I've learnt is that you need to have a lot of energy and persistence to try and make changes happen and that I think it is more important than ever that we tell our Government and MP's how much we treasure nature and how we want them to protect it.

I saw what Mark was doing with the Grouse petition and I decided after the Brexit vote that I would start one asking the Government to look after nature when we leave the EU. Reading about the grouse debate has made me even more glad I did. I've got about two months left to go and I need just over 3,600 signatures to get a government response so I'm going to do my best to try and get one!

The petition is here if you want to sign it, I'd be very grateful if you did and so might our wildlife and future generations that enjoy it if we can get the message through to our Government.

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. The grouse shooters and their supporters, in the form of the "It's Not About the Birds" group headed by Ian Botham and backed by big money, have a lot of pull.

  2. Sadly petitions are not going to change government policy - a greater understanding of real world politics is needed to achieve change: http://tinyurl.com/lqga5ft
    the CASJ, uniquely, understands this: www.casj.org.uk

  3. So important for more people to know about this, so thank you for blogging about this Zach! It's sad to hear that the financial side of things took so much precedent over the importance of the environment and the birds themselves. When it comes to environmental issues both politics and money seem to take the floor as many big companies stand to invest so much from damaging the environment. I think however, that bringing issues like this to government means that they will be discussed and while it's not the result we were hoping for, it's a move in the right direction and hopefully in the near future we'll see a bigger shift in attitudes. As I always say, keep the pressure on and raising awareness and the more people it reaches, the better! - Tasha