Sir,

Readers will be shocked but not surprised, to read about the persecution of hen harriers by grouse shooting estates in your article dated 12th September. This is just another example of the way this outdated sport is affecting not just the animals targeted, but also other innocent creatures.

'Game' bird shooting is big business. The more birds an estate has on it at the beginning of the season, the more money can be made. Figures show that in 2003 more than a quarter of the nesting attempts for hen harriers in England were “lost under circumstances suggesting illegal prosecution” (English Nature 2003). In fact, the persecution of hen harriers is considered so rife that in 2004 the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) launched Operation Artemis to enforce the Wildlife and Countryside Act provision which sees those who deliberately destroy eggs or kill endangered birds face up to 6 months in jail or a heavy fine.

If the situation continues there’s a real concern that the hen harrier might become extinct as a breeding species in England.

Articles such as yours help to highlight the far-reaching negative effects of blood sports like grouse shooting and add fuel to our argument that they should come to an end.