Campaigners slam the Inglorious Twelfth and the cruelty of grouse shooting

Animal welfare campaigners at the League Against Cruel Sports have pointed to the huge number of birds shot every year, the wildlife trapped and snared by gamekeepers to keep grouse numbers high, and the damage caused to these moorlands.

Renewed calls are being made for landowners to behave more ethically and review how moorlands are managed, with a view to ensuring they are more environmentally and animal friendly – something that is simply not in line with driven grouse shooting.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Driven grouse shooting involves hundreds of thousands of birds being shot every year, wildlife being indiscriminately snared and killed by cruel traps and snares, and intensive burning of the moors – which releases stored pollutants such as heavy metals into rivers and carbon into the atmosphere.

“We are once again calling on landowners and businesses to manage moorlands in a way that helps restore a wide range of animal species, could mitigate climate change, and improve the natural environment. That does not include allowing shoots to operate on their land.”

A study published by the League in Scotland established that up to 200,000 animals are killed every year on grouse moors in the country by gamekeepers using traps and snares.

The study, called Calculating Cruelty, involved an independent surveyor who mapped the snares and traps found across seven grouse shooting estates in Scotland.

Stink pits have also been found by League investigators. These are as repugnant as they sound – a pile of dead and rotting animals dumped by a series of snares to lure more animals into their deaths in these cruel devices.

The persecution of birds of prey has also been heavily linked to the driven grouse shooting industry with hen harriers pushed to the brink of extinction in England only a few years ago.

In England, the League has been campaigning since 2018 to get utility giant Yorkshire Water to end shooting on the eight areas of moorland it leases out to driven grouse shoots.

The League has also commissioned polling from Survation which shows how unpopular grouse shooting is compared with other activities among people living in the countryside.

Nick added: “Independent polling shows that rural residents have spurned blood sports in favour of more ethical activities, and now businesses are waking up to the damage caused by driven grouse shooting.

“We should be looking to rewild our moorlands which will result in much needed environmental benefits. And for those that want a diversity of wildlife in our countryside, grouse moors will simply not provide the answer.”


Notes to editors

The polling was conducted independently by Survation and took place in early December 2018 with a sample size of 1,072 people aged over 18 living in rural areas in England and Wales.

Full details and tables available here:


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