Sup­port for full re­view of grouse moor man­age­ment

Campbeltown Courier - - FARMING -

Coun­try­side and wildlife or­gan­i­sa­tions have ap­pealed for the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment-led re­view into grouse moor man­age­ment to be al­lowed to take its course. The Bri­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Shoot­ing and Con­ser­va­tion, The Scot­tish Coun­try­side Al­liance, Scot­tish Land and Es­tates and the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­try Sports is­sued a joint state­ment as anti-shoot­ing ac­tivists called for fur­ther re­stric­tions on grouse moor man­age­ment. The cross-sec­tor state­ment said: ‘Since the end of last year, there has been an in­de­pen­dent re­view – com­mis­sioned by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment – of grouse moor man­age­ment, led by Pro­fes­sor Alan Wer­ritty. ‘It is due to re­port in the spring of next year and a wide range of or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als – with dif­fer­ing opinions – have been con­tribut­ing to the re­view process. ‘That process needs to take place with­out con­stant at­tempts to de­monise an im­por­tant ru­ral sec­tor. ‘Anti-grouse shoot­ing ac­tivists want to fur­ther their agenda un­der the guise of call­ing for re­form of grouse shoot­ing. ‘They want to stop it and pur­sue that agenda re­lent­lessly with lit­tle or no recog­ni­tion of the facts. ‘For decades, the grouse shoot­ing com­mu­nity has been em­brac­ing re­form and mod­ernising land man­age­ment prac­tices. ‘This is a sec­tor that com­plies day in, day out with a wide range of reg­u­la­tion and leg­is­la­tion and is com­mit­ted to con­stant im­prove­ment. ‘Stan­dards have im­proved greatly and – like progress in farm­ing meth­ods and ad­dress­ing cli­mate change – they will con­tinue to de­velop. ‘Grouse moor man­age­ment also pro­vides a mul­ti­tude of so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits. ‘These in­clude the sus­tain­ing of thou­sands of jobs in re­mote ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to Scot­land’s tourism in­dus­try and the safe­guard­ing of many bird species and habi­tats. ‘This takes place against a back­drop of the low­est wildlife crime fig­ures on record. ‘We fully un­der­stand pub­lic con­cern that man­age­ment of wildlife is car­ried out to the high­est stan­dard. ‘Ev­ery sec­tor should seek to im­prove and moor­land man­age­ment is no ex­cep­tion. ‘We to­tally con­demn all forms of wildlife crime and sup­port the weight of the law be­ing en­forced against those who com­mit of­fences. ‘Scot­land is for­tu­nate to have in grouse shoot­ing and moor­land man­age­ment a world-class tourism of­fer­ing and ev­ery­one who truly has the in­ter­ests of ru­ral Scot­land at heart should be work­ing to­gether to en­sure that we main­tain this pre-em­i­nent po­si­tion in fu­ture.’

The grouse count gets un­der way in 2016.

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