Labour takes aim at grouse industry

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: Jonathan McGee
Photo credit: Jonathan McGee

Related tags: Labour party, Restaurant, Game, Chef

Labour is calling for a review into grouse shooting, as the Glorious Twelfth marks the start of game season.

The proposed review would examine the economic and environmental impacts of driven grouse shooting, which sees the birds driven towards hunters by beaters and shot in flight.

‘Viable alternatives’ including simulated shooting and wildlife tourism would also be considered as part of the review.

Labour says it is making this call in light of ‘extensive evidence’ that driven grouse shooting causes substantial environmental damage, including destroying huge swathes of plant and animal life.

“The costs of grouse shooting on our environment and wildlife needs to be to properly weighed up against the benefit of land owners profiting from shooting parties, says Sue Hayman, Labour’s Shadow Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary.

“For too long the Tories have bent the knee to land owners and it’s our environment and our people who pay the price.”

According to Labour, the owners of the ten largest English grouse moors are paid more than £3 million in farm subsidies every year.

Responding to Labour’s calls, Tom Adams, founder and managing director of the British Game Alliance (BGA), says that a ban on grouse shooting would have a harmful impact.

“Grouse shooting provides a high level of conservation first and foremost and supports many rural communities,” he says.

“Any BGA assured grouse moor has to uphold the highest standards in managing the land so that it continually benefits the wildlife and its environment.

“Banning grouse shooting would have a detrimental effect on our landscapes, as well as ensure that this fantastic meat is lost from menus and shelves for good.”

Restaurants across the country will feature game dishes on their menus throughout the season.

One such example is at The Game Bird restaurant at The Stafford London, where culinary director Ben Tish has created a grouse dish that will be on the menu from tomorrow to mark the start of game season.

Commenting on Labour’s proposal, Tish says: “Correctly controlled, driven grouse shooting is very sustainable.

“The practice is necessary for the bigger picture of the countryside, environment and ecology and without it, the eco-balance would tip.”

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