Labour has said that grouse shooting damages important habitats and has called for a new review

The Glorious Twelfth – the traditional start of the grouse shooting season – has been marked by a new attack from Labour on the sport.

The party has stated that there are “viable alternatives”, like simulated shooting and that protecting the rare moorland environment is a priority.

“The costs of grouse shooting on our environment and wildlife needs to be to properly weighed up against the benefit of land owners profiting from shooting parties,” said Sue Hayman, the shadow environment secretary.

“For too long the Tories have bent the knee to land owners and it’s our environment and our people who pay the price.

“There are viable alternatives to grouse shooting such as simulated shooting and wildlife tourism. The time has come for a proper review into the practice.”

However Duncan Thomas, regional director at British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) was positive on the matter, pointing out that any review would show how a well-run grouse moor is beneficial.

“Grouse moors are bio-diverse and the shoots they support create vital employment in isolated rural areas supporting communities,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“Effective heather management including burning and cutting creates amazing habitat and of course reduces the fuel load and risk of wildfire.”

 

The grouse season, which begins on Monday, will bring £32m to the Scottish economy and will attract visitors from Europe, North America and further afield.


The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group reports that there are 270,000 visitor trips to Scotland per year for country sports overall, with a value of £155m to the tourist economy. Sporting shooting supports 11,000 full time jobs in Scotland, of which 2,640 are in the grouse sector.

Grouse shooting is a significant driver of tourism to Scotland with 20% of all country sports visitors shooting grouse and 89% of visitors shooting at live quarry.

Steve Mitchell of Maryton Garage in Kirriemuir commented:

“We are busy all year round with vehicles from the estates in Glen Clova, Glenogil, Kinnordy and the lower glens too. It’s not just all the gamekeepers’ vehicles, there’s all the other estate staff too, from chefs to maintenance staff and factors. The estate work is a really important part of our business. I have four people employed here and we are able to rely on that work coming in on a regular basis. The boost from the grouse season is very significant for businesses in the area.”

Shooting Times will be running a full report in this week’s issue, out Wednesday 14th August.

Video: Grouse season opens