Monday’s debate by MP in Westminster on the petition: “Ban Driven Grouse Shooting Wilful blindness is no longer an option” was notable for the preparedness of speakers against the motion and the lack of economic alternatives brought by the supporters of the movement.
The petition was launched by Chris Packham, Ruth Tingay and Mark Avery of Wild Justice and a similar petition was debated by MPs in October 2016.
Mind-boggling levels of ignorance and disdain – mentions that alternative uses would involve rewilding with Pumas & Honey Badgers. Pathetic & very disappointing. @pow_rebecca (my MP) clearly towing govt line & ignoring evidence. But good to know UK has 75%, rarer than rainforest!
— Rob Williams (@robsrw) June 22, 2021
Kerry McCarthy, Shadow Minister for Green Transport, opened the debate speaking on behalf of Wild Justice. She said: “Just as I do not accept the conservation argument, I do not accept the economic argument either. As Chris Packham says, the Government have never quantified this matter. The lack of data and the lack of transparency mean that we cannot say with any degree of accuracy how much money is going where, who is benefiting and who is not benefiting.”
In answer Robert Good, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said: “As my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Tom Hunt) said at the start, grouse shooting is very important for the rural economy—not just for the gamekeepers and those involved in it, but for the hospitality that supports people when they come and the money that they put into the rural economy. Furthermore, were it not for the mixture of tall and short heather and succulent young heather, sheep farming would become increasingly difficult on the uplands.”
Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford gave figures: “There are 2,592 full-time jobs in England, Scotland and Wales on the moorlands, with 1,772 actively managing the moors. The economic value per year is worth £67 million. Then there are those who come for tourism—those from the EU and America who come to shoot on the moors and take advantage of that. There are very successful grouse shooting moors across England, Wales and Scotland.”
👏Thank you to the thousands of people who made the economic, social and environmental case for grouse shooting to their MPs.
The vast bulk of MPs who spoke today, did so in favour of grouse shooting.
Wild Justice FAILED to mobilise a sufficient number of MPs to attend. https://t.co/MQdep0zkze
— Countryside Alliance (@CAupdates) June 21, 2021
Reaction from Wild Justice
The Wild Justice blog commented on yesterday’s proceedings on its blog:
“The Wild Justice petition, signed by many readers of this blog and many, many others across the UK, including in grouse shooting areas (see map below) had a debate in Westminster Hall yesterday. Labour MPs were woefully thin on the ground and LibDems totally absent. The SNP spoke and made some good points about how they do things differently in Scotland and the Labour Shadow Minister, Olivia Blake, was good.”