Let’s make this the last Inglorious 12th!
For over 150 years, moorland has been managed for red grouse-shooting – a Victorian blood sport.
Scotland’s upland landscapes were transformed by the construction of access infrastructure; burning of heather moorland and the extermination of species such as white-tailed eagle and red kite through poisoning, trapping and shooting.
Almost a fifth of Scotland has been made into a grouse moor and the resultant heather moorlands are highly modified habitats managed to encourage high populations of one species, red grouse that can be killed for fun.
Peat moorlands are internationally important resource storing 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon and there’s growing concern about the increasing extent and intensity of burning, especially the effect on deep peat.
Almost any other land use is more productive and creates more jobs. Industry figures show that grouse shooting adds fewer than 3,000 jobs, on an average salary of £11,500 a year – less than the minimum wage, a small economic contribution small compared to forestry and tourism
Other well documented concerns relate to outdoor medication on a massive scale; the culling of 26,000 mountain hares annually; the thousands of miles of tracks in often sensitive upland environments; the electric fencing to exclude wild red deer from the grouse moor and to contain sheep on the moor. The sheep are used as ‘tick-mops’ making many grouse shooting estates eligible for farming subsidies – many should be eligible for substantial subsidies up to over £300,000 a year.
Success of a grouse moor (and its economic value) is measured by the number of grouse shot each season (the bag size) and owners can make a fortune from selling the land.
Scottish Greens call on the Scottish Government to take this opportunity to Revive the moors to benefit local communities, our environment and our wildlife.