Reg­u­late grouse shoot­ing sec­tor

The Herald - - OPINION -

IN re­sponse to large-scale killing of moun­tain hares on Scot­tish pri­vate es­tates, Scot­land’s First Min­is­ter has con­demned this and warned that leg­is­la­tion is be­ing con­sid­ered to pro­tect the “iconic” species (“Anger over footage of moun­tain hare killings”, The Her­ald, March 30).

The per­pe­tra­tors of the killing of hares de­scribe their ac­tiv­i­ties as “man­age­ment” to jus­tify an oper­a­tion that is sim­ply an or­gan­ised slaugh­ter of a species of Scot­land’s mam­mals. The rea­son: they com­pete with red grouse for their main food, heather.

Red grouse are sus­tained at ar­ti­fi­cially high den­si­ties to sup­port a shoot­ing in­dus­try on many of Scot­land’s sport­ing es­tates. As well as hare culling, this in­dus­try is used to jus­tify heather burn­ing, which con­trib­utes to global warm­ing. Ad­di­tion­ally, reg­u­lar heather burn­ing pre­vents the suc­ces­sion of this mono­cul­ture to a di­verse ecosys­tem. The grouse shoot­ing in­dus­try needs to be reg­u­lated. For­tu­nately, it seems that the Scot­tish Govern­men­tis tak­ing this need very se­ri­ously.

Dr Philip R Rat­cliffe,

Lochan Wood,

Sand­bank Road, Dunoon.

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