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Why grouse shooting and its benefits are "something we should celebrate"

With the publication of the University of Northampton's groundbreaking research into the social and economic benefits of integrated moorland management and grouse shooting.

But this excellent video from Fieldsports Britain goes one step further by talking to the people on the ground who work in and around the moors.

"We would descend into the dark ages", says Curtis Mossop of BASC, "Because there are no big employers and no infrastructure to support employment...People would be lost and the ground would just grow fallow."

Dog trainer John Cavana

“If you stopped grouse shooting tomorrow you would have very significant negative effect on the economic and social life and wellbeing of large numbers of communities in the UK,” explains Simon Denny who conducted the research. “That's just in and around the moors. Additionally you would have a negative effect on the wider UK in terms of health and wellbeing costs. It would be a catastrophically stupid short-term decision."

Publican Charles Bowen, of The Inn at Whitewell, sees the economic benefits of grouse shooting. But he also sees the social benefits. "If it's a year where they're not shooting it’s a lonely life. So when you have guns up there and beaters, the centre of their life includes dramatically", he explains.

And it's not just about rich people shooting birds for a hobby – which is the bandwagon that anti-shooting campaigners and some of those on the left like to jump on.

"A lot of [anti-shooting campaigners] believe that grouse shooting is purely elitist”, says dog trainer John Cavana. “I come from a council estate in Middlesbrough; I'm not elitist. But I take part in it. What's actually happening is they're creating the biodiversity for us all to enjoy, for 365 days of the year."

And we meet 8 year-old Daisy Frankland, who enjoys going beating to look at the scenery and birds around her. "Curlew, oystercatchers, lapwings", she lists.

Daisy enjoys spotting birds while out on the moors

We need to keep sharing the good news; the benefits that grouse shooting brings to everyone, whether that’s walkers who enjoy the moors, local businesses who enjoy the economic benefits; the wildlife which flourishes, and yes, the guns and landowners who spend money to enable grouse to thrive.

“This is part of an integrated system with real heritage, a real culture. It is something we should celebrate”, says Simon Denny. “It is unique to us. We are really good at it. We should be proud of what we are delivering here, because not only are we pulling in foreign money, not only do we deliver this unique experience, but it delivers all these economic and social valuable benefits.”


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