The Keeping Game

“The Mossdale estate in the Yorkshire Dales, owned by the Van Cutsem family, obtained £54,000 in [EU common agricultural policy (CAP)] subsides in 2014 and £170,000 in 2015. In June, the estate resigned from the Moorland Association after a keeper was filmed setting illegal pole traps.” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/28/grouse-shooting-estates-shored-up-by-millions-in-subsidies)

Resigning from that interest group is simply a saving of £75.00 pa; how about our money back?

The parliamentary debate on driven grouse shooting is Monday 31 October 2016, 4.30pm, Westminster Hall.

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Hounded

“PR disasters for the UK’s shooting industry dog the opening of the pheasant season …
A catalogue of incidents, including the government-sanctioned killing of buzzards to ‘protect’ pheasants so they can be shot later and the RSPB’s recent withdrawal of its support for the Hen Harrier Action Plan (because of continued persecution of these protected birds of prey on grouse moors), are shining a spotlight into the murky secrets of the commercial shooting industry.” (http://www.league.org.uk/news-and-opinion/press-releases/2016/sept/kill-a-buzzard-save-a-pheasant-then-kill-the-pheasant)

The UK’s shooting industry dog has had its day.

Eagle Eight

“These eight birds have all disappeared in an area where driven grouse moor management dominates the landscape, and where there have been many previous cases of illegal killing of protected raptors, including the poisoning of a golden eagle and a white-tailed eagle as recently as 2010.
Given the reliability of the transmitters, the chance of so many birds disappearing over such a short timescale without some kind of human interference is so small as to be negligible. The pattern we see here is consistent with the birds having been killed and the transmitters destroyed.” (http://www.rspb.org.uk/media/releases/423406-satellite-tagged-golden-eagles-disappearing-in-the-monadhliath-mountains)

“I have instructed officials to analyse the evidence from around 90 surviving and missing satellite-tagged eagles, to discover if there is a pattern of suspicious activity. … The public rightly expects all businesses in Scotland to obey the law. Let me be clear: grouse shooting is no exception.” (http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Eagle-disappearance-review-2881.aspx)

Let’s not leap to any conclusions: this could be the work of extreme conservationists, systematically bumping off birds of prey in the vicinity of grouse moors over decades in a bid to undermine the inglorious twelfth. Or alien abductions. Or spontaneous combustion.

If you’re cynical of the grouse shooting industry’s hand-wringing over these unfortunate but unconnected crimes, please consider signing and sharing the petition to ban driven grouse shooting in the UK and the petition to license gamebird shooting in Scotland – or read more about the case at Missing Hen Harriers: time for zero tolerance.

Small Mammals of Prey

“Landowners and shooting groups said it was too early to tell whether the voluntary arrangements under the action plan had failed.
They accuse the RSPB of ignoring other reasons for the hen harriers decline, such as weather and the activities of other predators, including voles.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/07/countryside-groups-split-over-hen-harrier-conservation-plan/)

Curses, the campaign targeting grouse shooters as responsible for the near-extinction of hen harriers is rumbled as the true culprits emerge: vegetarian, hedgerow-dwelling small mammals.

If this smells fishier than an osprey’s talons to you, please consider signing and sharing the petition to ban driven grouse shooting – or read more about the case at Missing Hen Harriers: time for zero tolerance.

Ensnared

“It can’t have been easy being a caveman, living the life of a hunter gatherer. … However, though the gathering might have been relatively rural, the hunting was hell. Meat wasn’t easy to catch, whether it came in the form of a slavering jawed dinosaur, a leaping gazelle, or even a jet propelled small rodent or rabbit. … the very necessary function of feeding human families, who – back in those prehistoric times – had very few alternatives to meat and veg. … Many, many thousands of years ago then, snares were a means to survival. And not only for food. The hunter made sure that he visited the trap regularly so that animals did not disfigure or maim themselves in their struggles. It wasn’t an example of prehistoric animal welfare, it was a matter of keeping warm. Nobody wants a fur coat with rips and tears in it.” (http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2987646/snares_a_barbaric_relic_whose_time_is_up.html)

Perhaps Bill Oddie’s ancestors were contemporary with dinosaurs. Perhaps that’s how he knows how often hunters visited their traps thousands of years ago. Or perhaps this is a result of his special food options, I suppose involving mycoprotein and synthetic vitamins, while the rest of us still have few alternatives to meat and veg. Perhaps he’s simply aiming his writing at the lowest common denominator i.e. those who set snares. However, his reasoning has more holes in it than a creature snared in barbed wire.

Notwithstanding Bill Oddie’s whimsy, snares are outdated. Please sign the petition to ban snares in the UK.

The Gaffe of Grouse

“Tim Baynes, director of the Gift of Grouse campaign, said: ‘Burning heather is the same as getting your hair cut.'” (http://www.giftofgrouse.com/article/news/estates-and-gamekeepers-heather-on-fireok)

“Yes, I always look forward to visiting the hairdresser to have my hair doused with a fire accelerant and then lit with a blow torch.” (https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/burning-heather-is-the-same-as-getting-your-hair-cut-claims-grouse-moor-propagandist/)

Forests are like hippies who have let themselves go and will never amount to anything.

Lead Grouse

“On the basis of this sample of 40 Red Grouse, Iceland Foods have been selling grouse meat with average lead levels over 100 times the maximum legal level for other meats (though it is legal for them to sell game meat with such high lead levels).
…those employed on game shooting estates, presumably especially gamekeepers and their families, will have much higher lead-shot game intakes than the average member of the public (several lead-shot game meals a week would be expected) as this is a free or cheap, and readily available, source of meat. They are also likely to consume game meat that is so heavily shot that it cannot be sold as an attractive proposition to the public, which, I surmise, is likely to have even higher lead levels than those identified here.” (http://markavery.info/2016/01/27/lead-week-12-pbweekmia/)

Can anyone remember what it is that lead does to the human body? Could it affect the thing, you know the thing you do… in your head…?