News, Blog & Research Latest News Labour Party backs calls for a tougher line on grouse shooting An announcement by the Labour Party calling for an independent review on grouse shooting has been welcomed by The League Against Cruel Sports. The move – announced by Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sue Hayman on the day the driven grouse shooting season opened – will question whether it is morally acceptable to kill animals for pleasure. It will tap into recent Labour Party proposals to strengthen legislation based on the view that the suffering and killing of animals in the name of ‘sport’ is fundamentally unacceptable. It will also call on the Government to mandate the end of heather burning on moorland which the shooting industry currently uses to encourage the growth of the plant, but which causes massive environmental damage including flooding downhill in local towns and cities. Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the acknowledgement by the Labour Party of the terrible toll driven grouse shooting has on the ‘game’ birds, on the environment, and on rural communities and that action is sorely needed to address this. “The impact of practices such as heather burning and the trapping and killing of other animals are particularly acute, so it’s vital that this discussion takes place and that swift progress is made. “A strong next step would be to see the Labour Party take the lead set by the Welsh Government and call for an end to shooting on public land. This is particularly important in light of the terrible impact driven grouse shooting has on animals, people and the environment.” To ensure the maximum number of birds are available for paying shooters, gamekeepers routinely kill predators including foxes, magpies, crows, stoats, weasels and even endangered birds of prey. Cruel and indiscriminate methods are often used, including: snares, cage traps with live bait birds and spring-loaded body traps. Hares are also victims – today new research showed that the number of mountain hares on Scottish grouse moors has dropped to 1% of the population 50 years ago. The near extinction of the hen harrier in England is a direct result of their persecution on grouse moors – just three nesting pairs remain in the country. Chris Luffingham, said: “Shooting is a cynical industry which exploits loopholes in animal welfare laws, puts our landscape at risk and exaggerates any financial benefit to the economy. “The shooting industry’s own figures indicate that 700,000 grouse are shot every season – this is simply a massacre which has no place in a modern, compassionate society. “We welcome this opportunity to model alternatives that could replace the ‘game’ bird shooting industry in rural areas such as simulated grouse shooting which uses clay discs rather than live birds.” Pressure on the government to put an end to ‘game’ bird shooting is mounting after new polling shows that nearly seven out of ten people (69%) in Great Britain want the cruel ‘sport’ made illegal. -ENDS- Notes to Editors For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected] The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).