TV star Chris Packham backs campaign to reform grouse moors

A radical new campaign group is being launched today with the aim of reforming Scotland's grouse moors.
A radical new campaign group is being launched today with the aim of reforming Scotland's grouse moors.
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A radical new campaign group is being launched today with the aim of reforming Scotland’s grouse moors.

Called Revive, the organisation is a coalition of social, environmental and animal welfare charities.

Partners include Common Weal, OneKind, Friends of the Earth Scotland, League Against Cruel Sports and Raptor Persecution UK.

The coalition has backing from naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham and Scottish Green MSP and land reform campaigner Andy Wightman.

To coincide with the launch, the organisation is unveiling a new report that puts the case for changing the way grouse-shooting estates are run, to benefit communities, wildlife and the environment.

Revive’s senior campaigner Max Wiszniewski said: “We are under no illusion that this will be a short campaign, but we have laid the foundations to take the first steps towards reform and we relish the challenges ahead.

“This is the first time organisations have come together in this way and our partners did so with no hesitation. It’s time we took back ownership of Scotland’s uplands and make our vision of reform a reality.”

Mr Packham, who is launching the campaign in Edinburgh today, added: “Dead, burned and barren has to go – Scotland’s hills should be alive.”

It’s estimated around a fifth of Scotland’s land is managed to rear grouse for sport.

In order to maximise the number of birds available for commercial shooting, a range of techniques are employed. These includes heather burning, predator control, including culls of mountain hares, use of medicated grit to reduce parasites and construction of roads and tracks.

Revive members believe these measures have negative social, environmental and welfare impacts.

But estates say the new group is setting out to destroy valuable rural livelihoods.

A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “People should not be fooled. This is a wrecking ball campaign by a cohort seeking to ban grouse shooting and to put thousands of Scotland’s rural workers and their families on the dole.”

A Scottish Government commission has been set up to examine the environmental impacts of grouse shooting, with conclusions expected in spring next year. The review was set up after an SNH report showed almost a third of golden eagles in a satellite-tracking project had disappeared in “suspicious” circumstances.