On the 12th of August every year, the most hideous members of our society – and, incidentally, the most wealthy (is there a link here?) – slither out onto our moorlands in search of ‘sport’.
“The Glorious Twelfth”, the start of the grouse shooting season, is the reserve of the (often obscenely) rich but is subsidised by the British public through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme where moors gamekeepeers can claim for maintenance costs. Yes, reader, you (if you are British) are partly funding the excesses of these vile people, even though they can buy you many times over. Just think French Riviera and yachts.
What do the gamekeepers do with the money?
Moors maintenance for grouse shooting hinges on maximising the heather coverage of the moor. The methods used to do this include burning off the old growth and competing plants in order to encourage the growth of heather shoots on which the grouse feed. The moors are an important national resource, but they are also underpinned by peat – a mass of locked-in carbon. Setting fire to the moors does not make a great deal of environmental sense to me. Burning that locked in carbon, releasing millions of tons into the environment in the form of greenhouse gases, is not doing the rest of us, those who cannot possibly afford the fees charged for grouse shooting, any favours.
Then there is the matter of the wholesale slaughter of wildlife. Animals who compete with or predate the grouse are killed off.
So that people that any fair-minded person with a social conscience and a sense of justice would never wish as a passing acquaintance let alone a friend can indulge in their manly ‘sport’ of slaughtering helpless birds.
Can grouse shooting actually be called a sport?
Consider the difficulty a grouse has in getting airborne and the blanket-bombing approach to shooting inherent in shotgun use – then tell me what you think.