by Ben O’Rourke
BBC TV’s Chris Packham wanted a debate that would lead to a ban on grouseshooting. Instead, he got a resounding thumbs-up for the sport, for its environmental, economic and social benefits.
MPs lined up to criticise the assumptions behind Packham’s Westminster Hall debate on Monday 21 June 2021. Again and again, they made the point that grouseshooting is good for Britain’s uplands.
Here is a selection:
On the anti side, Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, claimed that grouse shooting “produces a very unhealthy landscape”.
McCarthy pinned her speech on a claim that raptor persecution is part of grouse moor management and is causing “catastrophic biodiversity loss”.
She said grouseshooting is damaging to both the environment and climate, and she disputed the fact that grouse shooting supports rural communities.
Her colleague Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, went on to point to falling hen harrier population figures up to 2016, ignoring hen harrier breeding successes in the last five years, which have mainly been on grouse moors.
The overwhelming support for grouseshooting put both Blake and McCarthy on the losing side in Parliament. The question now: how long will it take Wild Justice to come up with the same petition again, and force another debate?
Most of McCarthy and Blake’s claims came straight from Wild Justice. Fieldsports Channel put out these films, setting the record straight on Wild Justice’s fibs: