Glorious grouse, we salute you

All hail the Glorious 12th, the day the moors of Scotland begin to echo to the sound of gunfire and which, we are told, bring great economic benefit to the country.

According to a new report, the red grouse shooting season generates 23.3 million for the economy and supports a 1,000 jobs.

Although the Fraser of Allander Institute study says the economic resilience of grouse shooting is being tested, it is cautiously optimistic for the future.

Which is all very well for those who shoot, and obviously good for Scotland's ailing economy, but there is one group ignored in all of this: the Lagopus Scoticus itself. Just imagine what it is to be a grouse. For much of the year life on the moor is tolerable, if a bit bleak, with the only risk being the occasional attack from those vicious golden eagles. Suddenly all hell breaks loose as you are forced by beaters to fly into the gunfire.

It's not much of a life - and not much of a death. So today, think not of the well-to-do on the moors, but spare a thought for their victims. Never in the field of huntin' and shootin', have so many given their lives to gratify so few. Without a thought, if they can think, grouse make the supreme sacrifice for Scotland's economy. Glorious grouse, we salute you!

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