A major new academic report has given a ringing endorsement to grouse shooting, writes Matt Cross in this week's Shooting Times

A newly published 242 page report by a team from the University of Nottingham entitled “Sustainable Grouse Shooting? A Summary of the Evidence” looked at the cases for and against driven grouse shooting. Its conclusions will come as a serious blow to critics of moorland management for grouse.

Examining the economic impact of a ban the experts concluded that: “It is unlikely that the alternative uses that are proposed by some groups for the moorlands would deliver the same positive economic impacts, at least for a number of generations.” The report also backed the environmental case made for grouse shooting, concluding that “Driven grouse shooting management results in an increasingly rare assemblage of plants, animals and invertebrates being supported and enhanced to the benefit of the UK and Europe. This assemblage is different from alternative habitats and typically provides a net gain in diversity and abundance over similar but unmanaged moorland”. Finally social scientists looking at the effect of driven grouse shooting on the wellbeing of its participants concluded that: “In terms of social impacts, driven grouse shooting should be seen as sustainable”.

The report was overseen by Professor James Crabbe a fellow of Wolfson College Oxford. Professor Crabbe, who has no background in grouse shooting or in debates over the sport, was unambiguous in his conclusions. Professor Crabbe told the Daily Telegraph: “When driven grouse shooting is done properly, as part of integrated moorland management, we conclude it is indeed sustainable.” 

Economic role

The report was welcomed by the GWCT. Andrew Gilruth the Trust’s director of communications said “This detailed report shows the important social and economic role that grouse shooting has, often in disparate communities.  Added to the ecological benefits, this shows a system that is delivering jobs and wellbeing for many people. Those who have spent years calling for grouse shooting to end are yet to provide an alternative that delivers on all these fronts.”

The sports critics have yet to respond to the report and it has not been mentioned on any of the major anti shooting blogs or social media feeds. 

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