100,000 people call for a ban on driven grouse shooting

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100,000 people call for a ban on driven grouse shooting

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This is a guest blog by Jeff Knott, Head of Nature Policy marking the enormous achievement  by the campaign to ban grouse shooting.

Over 100,000 people have now signed this petition to ban driven grouse shooting. This is a huge achievement from everyone involved, including of course the petitions creator, my former boss, Mark Avery.

What makes it all the more impressive is that this is a genuine grassroots movement. It’s not the result of a coordinated campaign by a big conservation organisation. Its support has grown organically, as groups of people have flocked to its message.

We have not called for a ban, our position is to press reform through licensing but we are under no illusion ... this is a spectacular achievement this is a powerful message that will not be ignored.

So what happens next? Well, having secured the magic 100,000 signatures, something only a tiny handful of petitions manage, there will be a parliamentary debate on the issue.

The RSPB will actively promote this to MPs, encouraging them to attend the debate and emphasising why change is vital. We don’t believe a ban is inevitable, so in the briefing, we will highlight our view that licensing is the best way to secure these changes and talk about why this approach could work. The best way for law-abiding shoots to avoid a future ban, is to embrace licensing and deliver meaningful change.

We will also ask our supporters to write to their MPs, asking them to attend the debate and speak positively.

We should all be realistic. This debate is unlikely to lead to an immediate change. I’d be amazed if either a ban or licensing was introduced off the back of it. However, it can still make a huge positive contribution to moving the debate forward. 100,000 signatures for change, backed by a strong debate where the necessity and options are clearly set out can be a major turning point in the fight for our hen harriers and our uplands.

That fight will need to go on and we will of course continue to be part of it, as I’m sure everyone who signed this petition will too. This isn’t the end, but it might be the beginning of the end.

So congratulations to everyone involved in the petition. Now let’s work together to make the debate a success and then to secure the changes we need to see.

  • 38degrees petion to NT here you.38degrees.org.uk/.../no-moor-management-for-grouse-shooting-on-two-national-trust-estates-in-derbyshire

  • It takes two to work together, and RSPB's genuine (if misguided) attempt to try and make the Hen Harrier plan work has been brutally re-buffed by a grouse shooting industry that seems to have had no intention of shifting one inch, leading to not one successful pair of Hen Harrier on a grouse moor in England this year.

    RSPB should not have to take the lease: it is extraordinary under the circumstances that NT is even proposing to re-let its moor for  shooting in the Peak after all that has happened: NT need successful Hen harriers on their land far more than they need the money from  the shooting lease as they are struggling badly to catch up with anything like a positive reputation in this area - at least RSPB, through heroic efforts, has managed to protect at least one pair of HH on its land - NT have far more moorland and need to do far, far better.

  • As Elwood goes missing in the strange Scottish triangle where it seems birds of prey drop out of the sky for no reason can I ask for a response from someone at the RSPB on my first question regarding the National Trust tenancy.It may not be possible but has the RSPB considered approaching the NT to running said tenancy.

  • Now how about consulting RSPB members?

  • Thanks for making the RSPB position clear, Jeff.

  • Thanks all for your comments. To be clear, we wont be briefing against the idea of a ban. We'll set out why change is needed (which we agree on) and explan why licensing is an approach we think can work.

    We'll also be carefully coordinating with those behind the campaign (hope to see you soon Mark!) to make sure our efforts make the debate as successful as possible.

  • Jeff

    Undeniably a well cajoled petition by Mark Avery and the debate will be welcomed by all. But similar to Brexit, I do wonder if those promises behind banning driven grouse shooting can deliver the sunlit uplands that Mark writes about in his book 'Inglorious' - that chapter 6 very much based on the guest blog I did for him in 2014 markavery.info/.../guest-blog-silence-guns-rob-yorke.

    I fear that many of those cajoled to signing the petition may not be that interested in 'working together to make the debate a success', let alone visiting the soon to be rewilded, wild fire riven, curlew and black grouse lost sunlit uplands.

    As you know, I seek solutions around common ground but am not convinced that wider public benefits always flow out of single issue petitions (beware Malta*) www.thefield.co.uk/.../conservation-conflict-ending-conflict-32001

    I am happy to be proved wrong.



    ps* beware the war terminology as nobody ever wins without damage to all theconversation.com/black-stork-down-the-trap-of-communicating-the-wildlife-wars-38083

  • Yes the petition is a fantastic achievement. Just shows that strong support for wildlife is out there, one just needs to tap inti it in the right way.

    I have always said that the RSPBs call for a licensing system for driven grouse moors/shooting and Mary Avery's call/petition for a ban, are one of the same thing for a much better deal for our uplands and its wildlife. The petition and the licensing system must work together. and in combination in taking this whole issue forward as a single cause to be won. There must absolutely be no "them and us" at any level whatsoever..

    So with he RSPB working at every level with Mark when facing up to the politicians we shall win this battle.

  • Good article Jeff.

    Welcome back on board the RSPB. I agree that we should all work together to make the debate a success and then to secure the changes we need to see. I assume that this now means that the RSPB will, at long last, ask its 1 million members, directly, to join in and support this debate. (make that 999,999 members as I am already fully committed)

    Keep going



  • Thanks Jeff - all happened a bit quickly, didn't it? And now we stand at 102,558 on petition.parliament.uk/.../125003.  I emailed Mike Clarke on Thursday evening to suggest working even more closely together and I look forward to hearing from RSPB soon. many thanks. Mark

  • To be blunt, Martin, the RSPB will be briefing MP's not to listen to those that signed the petition. That is the inescapable logic of the position the RSPB is now in. You know; 'thanks for getting all this attention to the issue, but settle down, we know best'. So why not start acting democratically and consult all RSPB member as to what they really want; no change, licensing, or a complete ban? If the RSPB members position turns out to be different to the Ban Driven Grouse Shooting campaign, then start (and fund) your own campaign accordingly.

  • Too wishy washy from RSPB. We need a total ban. These people are criminals who break the law with impunity. If no ban then direct action is inevitable like the 30 brave people who walked in front of the guns on Ilkley Moor yesterday and stopped the shoot.

  • Hi Martin

    Congratulations to Mark and everyone that has signed the petition.

    Can i ask a question regarding the tenancy that is open on the National Trust site in the Derbyshire Peak District because of the illegal activities, have the RSPB considered approaching the National Trust to see of they can have the tenancy and run it as a flagship site for wildlife rather than a shoot?