Calls to ban grouse shooting are increasing: what do you think?
Is it time to ban grouse shooting?
There’s a war underway on Scotland’s grouse moors.
However, the guns booming aren’t just those of the shooters currently blasting away on estates across the country.
Instead the battle has been joined by conservationists, animal rights activists, land reform campaigners and industry lobbyists.
They have all made a stand on a subject which intersects many of the biggest issues facing Scotland today.
Namely: the balance between conservation and exploitation andwho owns whatand who decides what happens over huge swathes of our country.
The campaign against the grouse shooting industry has increased markedly in intensity over the past few years, spurred on by the likes of naturalist Chris Packham and the publication of the polemic Inglorious by former RSPB conservation director Mark Avery.
RSPB Scotland, meanwhile, has been quick to link the destruction of birds of prey and other protected wildlife with gamekeeping activities on grouse moors.
Conservationists have argued that the predator-prey balance is artificially altered on the moors by often illegal suppression of wildlife in order to provide a habitat for grouse, which are there specifically to be exploited by the lucrative shooting industry.
They argue that huge swathes of land are kept ecologically sterile, in effect a monoculture, to suit the sporting tastes of a wealthy few.
The shooting and gamekeeping lobbies, in contrast, paint themselves as the guardians of wild Scotland, arguing that they help safeguard the land and its creatures, while providing employment in remote areas.
They are victims, they say, of an unfair onslaught from a conservation industry which is loaded with agendas and which does not understand or appreciate rural life.
So who is right? What do you think?Is it time to ban grouse shooting?
Vote now and get the debate going by leaving a comment.