Call for grouse shooting to end
A leading animal charity has called for the groue shooting season to end at the start of the “glorious twelfth” – the biggest day in the shooting calncer.
OneKind said in order to keep red grouse numbers as high as possible, gamekeepers routinely kill thousands of wild animals with the methods of killing cruel and can inflict prolonged suffering upon the animals.
Domestic animals may also be injured or killed accidentally.
It comes as Scotland’s mountain hare licensing scheme came into effect earlier this month (1 August), after they were given protected status in March.
It is now illegal to intentionally kill, injure, or take mountain hares at any time unless a licence is obtained.
This will effectively put an end to the mass scale mountain hare killings which previously took place across Scotland’s grouse moors.
The Scottish Government has also committed to licensing driven grouse moors but OneKind believes that only a ban on driven grouse shooting will ensure an end to the widespread suffering of animals.
OneKind Director, Bob Elliot, said: “Today marks the Inglorious Twelfth- a day where the routine killing of thousands of animals begins.
“Thankfully, this year marks the first year where an estimated 26,000 mountain hares will no longer be killed across Scotland’s grouse moors.
"While there are shortcomings to the mountain hare licensing scheme, such as the failure to introduce a requirement that those who kill mountain hares under license are competent shooters, the scheme is a huge step in the right direction.”
He added: “We do not yet know what the grouse moor licensing scheme will encompass, but we are concerned that animal welfare will not be at the heart of the scheme.
"While we do welcome the licensing of grouse moors as a step towards ending the circle of destruction on Scotland’s grouse moors,
OneKind maintains that only a complete ban can end the widespread suffering of the thousands of animals. It is time that the Scottish Government ban this cruel ‘sport’, which is enjoyed by only a small minority in Scotland.”