Again another delayed article, but a reminder of the atrocity of grouse shooting season is something which can be discussed and fought against any time. Firstly apologies for the awful formatting. Not my fault, I have tried for some considerable time to sort it out and it seems that this all too common wordpress glitch will not resolve.
The Yorkshire Dales of course is not the only locality that provides this obscene form of pleasure to the elite minority, other locations include the Durham Dales, the Yorkshire Moors, Exmoor, in fact any area that has heather moorland. Throughout the UK since the mid 1800s many areas of heather have been carefully managed to provide grouse for shooting.
My family and I have enjoyed this breathtaking scenery for many years without knowing the disturbing reasons for its existence.
A return trip to the dales in late September and the situation was even worse with three shooting parties in close proximity.
The three shooting parties where in short distance from one another and many many birds who were once enjoying the beautiful windy day were shot from the sky for the pleasure of these over privileged psychopaths. I did tell one group what I thought of them along the lines of “you murdering bastards, cowards shooting tiny defenceless birds”. Yes I know I often say that verbal abuse does little good but…well… I get angry, so angry. It is depressing, and frustrating knowing that there is nothing I could do to stop this as this country (UK) allows the annual barbaric slaughter of these innocent helpless birds. It’s all about money and abhorrent pleasure, shooting parties are charged as much as £10,000 per trip just to shoot these tiny birds. Like many of the awful things that happen in the world it is I fear the acquisition of wealth for the minority that perpetuates this atrocity. Vast acres of this beautiful landscape are managed in order to accommodate this barbaric pleasure. Notices displayed all over the hills at the commencement of footpaths tell people not to disturb ground nesting birds or in the case of the notice below not to allow dogs except on public footpaths. No not for the welfare of the birds but so that there are more birds for these wicked people to kill every year.
The Yorkshire dales is a popular place for hikers, people like to walk in the hills, myself included, and it is awful to suddenly come across these shooting parties. This aspect of grouse shooting is rarely considered.
The locals accept this blatant cruelty as a way of life, just the way things are and even make light of it. In a local tea room a notice says something a long the lines of: ” It is grouse season, be careful to duck! Relax with a nice soothing cup of tea.
This day in September was a glorious day with sun wind and even a little rain with rainbows but all this was spoiled by the sound of gunfire.
The Yorkshire Dales is a peaceful place and very scenic until you become aware of the awful things that take place there to animals. The shooting season lasts from August 12th until mid December, so for four months of the year these helpless birds are shot down from the skies, walkers and other visitors to the dales are more than likely to meet up with a shooting party and even if you just drive through, stop for a picnic or admire the view you are likely to be confronted by the sound of gun fire and see men – well it is still mostly men- approaching carrying dead grouse.
Why, why do we allow this barbaric practice to continue. It is a fact the majority of the population oppose grouse shooting, yet it remains.
Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which increases flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions, relies on killing Foxes, Stoats, Mountain Hares etc in large numbers and often leads to the deliberate illegal killing of protected birds of prey including Hen Harriers.
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003 This petition is now closed
The above petition by Scientist Dr Mark Avery supported by the League against Cruel Sport and wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham aimed to bring an end to this barbarity.
In particular, the Committee welcomed contributions on the following points:-
– What effect does grouse shooting have on wildlife and the environment?
– What role does grouse shooting play in rural life, especially the rural
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003 and go to the heading: Other parliamentary business
In addition to the sound arguments against grouse shooting – such as the intensive habitat management required, which is responsible for damaging protected wildlife sites, increased water pollution, flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions – there is an even more important consideration: morality. Yet there is no mention included in the points of evidence to be considered of the ethics of killing thousands of living beings simply to fulfill some perverted pass-time of the well shod.
Yes I of course realise that nothing would change on the basis of morality as a stand alone argument, the rights and wrongs of killing another living being for the purpose of pleasure would sadly not alone hold any weight in such a debate, yet this issue is surely one of the most important.
Concerning the Countryside Allowances’ now familiar argument
- For many upland communities, grouse shooting plays a pivotal role in the local economy, providing a valuable source of jobs and income for local businesses. It also underpins the social life of these communities and helps to tackle rural isolation.
The chilly air chaps your cheeks as your boots rustle through the heather – and when you reach the top of the hill, you can see for miles.
Stretched out all around you is moorland. Open, treeless, with not a house or farm in sight.
It looks and feels wild, so you should expect to be able to see plenty of wildlife . But there is nothing, it’s silent and still, it’s eerie.
Then you pass a log lying over a little stream. On it, inside a metal cage, is a trap and in its jaws are the smashed and tangled remains of a stoat, its eyes squeezed from their sockets, its mouth locked open in a grimace of terminal pain.
Before that, you had stood holding your nose at the side of a gamekeeper’s “stink pit”, gazing in disbelief at the rotting bodies of foxes , crows, magpies, all mouldering in a vile mess of feathers, fur and flesh and bone.
And then through your binoculars, you spot something. It’s a bird, flapping furiously, battering itself against a post. It is hanging with its feet clamped in a trap.
When you get closer, you can see its bent and bloody legs, its long black-tipped grey wings and its frayed tail. It is a male hen harrier and it has been caught in a pole trap. It will die a long, painful death.
All this so the birds of prey and natural predators won’t harm grouse – birds that have been bred and reared to be shot for pleasure.
Ban grouse shooting – it’s cruel, harms the environment and we’re all paying for it
“Intensive grouse shooting depends on wildlife crime – protected raptors have to be killed in order for the big ‘bags’ of Red Grouse to be possible. Even if a particular grouse moor does not kill protected raptors, they will benefit if other grouse moors, near and far, do so. Intensive grouse shooting is underpinned by wildlife crime.“
Another immorality is that this cruel practice is subsidised by the tax payers, most of whom do not support this barbaric so-called sport. Grouse shooting is supported to the tune of 17 million pounds which is paid to landowners and farmers, people who are already wealthy and who will accrue even more wealth as a result of the business of grouse shooting.
“But through the efforts of wildlife campaigners (like Packham and the RSPB) and people whose homes have been flooded downstream, the grouse industry is now being called to account”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/16/grouse-shooters-kill-first-casualty-is-truth-astroturfing-botham-rspb-packham This article discusses less obvious concerns of Astroturfing and the threat of such to democracy
Watch the real Price of Grouse: Subsidies
As a result of government funding cuts Newcastle council are considering axing school crossing patrols.
Getting rid of the 53 lollipop men and women would save more than £200,000.
Other areas of the Labour-run authority also face big cuts, including £4m from children’s services, and more than £11m from adult social care, as well as the city’s community and information hubs.
Social care cuts take English service to tipping point, regulator warns
Newcastle is of course not the only council affected by government cuts which forces them to make cut backs to vital public services. While millions of the tax payer money is spent subsidising the “sport of kings “(grouse shooting) our services are cut. Grouse shooting is referred to as the “sport of kings” as it is only the wealthy elite who can afford to participate. Yet this is subsidised at the expense of poor people.
Schools also suffer as a result of cuts by the government
Most of the land in the Yorkshire Dales is managed to encourage the numbers of grouse to increase, this is many many acres of land. The following blog provides a good assessment as to what goes on behind the scenic facade that people enjoy all the year round, including hunting, shooting and sheep farming,
A vegan’s observations in the Yorkshire Dales
The UK can never claim to be a civilised country while it allows people to use live animals as target practice. I had hoped that this debate would bring us closer to a more modern nation which respects the lives of the other beings who inhabit our beautiful countryside.