We believe that grouse moor management is out of control. It involves unacceptable levels of wildlife cruelty and persecution, and it’s time to say #NoMoorCruelty, no more drive grouse shooting!
Up to almost a fifth of Scotland is a grouse moor, which is land that is managed for shooting purposes for recreation. This happens within a four-month shooting period beginning on what the industry calls the ‘Glorious 12th of August’ and finishes on the 10th of December.
Grouse moors are managed by gamekeepers with the aim of maximising the grouse available to shoot. This brutal management regime involves the persecution and local eradication of a wide range of wildlife that might otherwise predate on grouse, including:
• Snaring and killing of foxes, often using ‘stink pits’ which are piles of rotten animal corpses which are used to lure the foxes in to trap them.
• Trapping and killing of magpies and crows, usually caught in a large trap which can catch multiple birds at the same time, which are then bludgeoned to death.
• Killing small mammals like stoats and weasels using spring traps.
In addition to the persecution above, which is legal, the illegal persecution of birds of prey such as hen harriers and golden eagles is also associated with intensive grouse moor management. This is usually achieved through trapping, poisoning or shooting.
As well as eradicating red grouse predators, maintaining red grouse in unnaturally high densities on the moors require grouse moor managers to take a leaf from the intensive farming manual and carry out preventative disease management. Medicated grit, for example, can be found throughout grouse moors and is used to reduce the incidence of parasitic worm. On average, 26,000 mountain hares are culled each year because of the belief that they may transit a virus to red grouse, however Scottish Government backed research has found no links between mountain hare control and red grouse densities.
Grouse shooting can be either ‘walked up’ or ‘driven’. Walked up shooting is the more traditional activity of walking a moor, seeking grouse and shooting and killing a small number of birds. Driven grouse shooting is an increasingly common practice and it operates on a completely different scale. Shooters wait ready in a line, partially concealed in ‘grouse butts’. Beaters effectively round up the grouse and drive them towards the waiting guns. The objective on a driven grouse shoot is to kill as many grouse as possible. Not only is this objectionable in itself, it creates a strong motivation for intensive grouse moor management.
What does OneKind want?
We believe grouse moor management is out of control. It involves unacceptable levels of wildlife cruelty and persecution, and it’s time to say #NoMoorCruelty, no more driven grouse shooting!
However, we recognise that Scotland is a long way from delivering this kind of change. In the meantime, we are therefore calling for urgent reform that would lead to better protection for animals on grouse moors and transparency. With transparency, we believe further change will be inevitable. The more the public understand about intensive grouse moor management, the less they like it.
Our key recommendations are:
1. Strict licensing of all driven grouse shoots and moor management to protect raptors and other wildlife
2. Bans for the most damaging practices on grouse moors. That means no more mountain hare culls, mass medication of grouse, and snaring.
3. Tax and subsidy reform so that grouse moors pay fair taxes and receive no public subsidy
What is OneKind doing?
In 2018, OneKind joined Revive the coalition for grouse moor reform which is a groundbreaking initiative created to challenge the intensive management of Scotland’s uplands. The coalition includes Common Weal, OneKind, Friends of the Earth Scotland, League Against Cruel Sports and Raptor Persecution UK