Monday 3 October 2016

Don't just grouse about it

The driven grouse petition is due to be debated in the House of Commons on October 18th. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to write to your MP and urge them to support a ban.

Here's my letter. Please don't just copy it, because duplicate letters have less effect, but feel free to take inspiration from it. Other sources of inspiration include the blogs of Raptor Persecution Scotland and the Wildlife Detective.

Dear Richard Arkless,

You'll likely not recall me; we have met, and I delivered leaflets for you at the last Westminster election. I'm writing to urge you to support a ban on driven grouse shooting. There's to be a debate on the petition on 18th October, which I would appreciate it if you'd attend.

Key points from a Galloway perspective are:

This is a local issue and a current issue. Our eagle population is very small and very threatened. We have two nesting pairs. Yet, from that critically small population there's regular attrition. One was shot on a grouse moor near Wanlockhead in 2012; one satellite-tagged bird from Galloway 'disappeared' on a grouse moor in the Cairngorms this May. These of course are the birds we know about, one because it was found by a member of the public, one because it was satellite tagged. The number of Hen Harriers killed in Galloway is something we simply don't know at all, but they too are critically rare.

Wildlife tourism benefits Galloway. The successful reintroduction of Red Kites in the Glenkens is estimated to be worth £21 million to the Galloway economy. A more vibrant eagle population, making it easier for tourists to see eagles, would undoubtedly increase this further.

Grouse moors, by denuding steep slopes and high hill land of trees, greatly contribute to flooding in towns such as Newton Stewart and Dumfries at a cost of many millions to the local economy.

In short, driven grouse shooting provides entertainment for a very small number of very rich people at cost of promoting extensive criminality, environmental degradation, and significant losses to property. It has no place in modern Britain.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Brooke

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