Published yesterday in the scientific journal Ibis, this is a free access paper which means everyone can read it without having to pay high subscription fees:
Thompson, P.S., Douglas, D.J.T., Hoccom, D.G., Knott, J., Roos, S. and Wilson, J.D. (2016). Environmental impacts of high-output driven shooting of Red Grouse. Ibis 158: 446-452.
This paper provides a timely and succinct review of the damage caused by various aspects of intensive grouse moor management, including predator control, heather burning and the medication of red grouse to prevent disease. It’s well written, well referenced and well worth a few minutes of your time.
The authors argue that grouse moor management could contribute a lot to upland conservation but not in its current form. They say that for this to happen, “a fundamental shift in behaviours and practices would be needed, informed by evidence, supported by public policy, and led by landowners committed to a sustainable future for grouse shooting”.
This paper is another damning indictment of the current intensification of grouse moor management and is authored by some well-respected scientists from the RSPB. It’s interesting then, that the RSPB’s Conservation Director Martin Harper is still advocating ‘constructive’ dialogue (see his blog from this morning here) with an industry that has proven, time and time again, that it is unwilling or incapable of change.
Sometimes (often) dialogue can be a good strategy, and it’s certainly where you should start, but there comes a time when you have to recognise that behind-the-scenes dialogue isn’t working. A good example of this can be seen with the Scottish beaver fiasco, where the RZSS has been engaged in behind-the-scenes diplomacy to work out a plan for managing the beavers on Tayside, but this morning has sent a damning open letter to Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod, accusing her of dragging her feet at potentially enormous cost to the beavers (see here).
The dialogue about the mis-management of upland grouse moors has been going on for years, and especially the impact of this mis-management on the conservation of hen harriers (remember the six-year chat that ended in failure?). The RSPB walked away from that; how long before they join those of us whose patience ran out a long time ago and call for a ban on driven grouse shooting?
Please sign the latest e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE
Photograph of an intensively-managed driven grouse moor on Donside (RPS).