On Saturday 10 August members of 3 Valley Vegans attended a rally in Bradford, the headquarters of Yorkshire Water, to urge the company to pull the plug on grouse shooting. Despite the rain it was an inspiring day. Why? Because the public are waking up to the horror that is grouse shooting.
An estimated 700,000 grouse are shot every year in Britain for ‘sport’. Grouse live on moorland and during a ‘shoot’ they are frightened by beaters who drive them towards men who shoot them. Many birds won’t be killed straight away and suffer a frightening and painful death. All so that very rich people (shoots often cost over a £5,000 a day to participate in) can kill birds for fun.
Birds of prey and other animals such as badgers, stoats and weasels are also killed by snaring, poisoning and trapping. This is done by gamekeepers in order to reduce the number of young grouse killed before the shooting season starts.
Maintaining the moors for grouse shooting involves considerable environmental damage. Burning heather for instance alters the flow of water off the hills and contributes to flooding – something we know a lot about here in Calderdale. Burning also dries out the peat on the moorland resulting in increased losses of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere; at a time when we need to be storing more carbon in the soil if we want to reduce the effects of climate change.
Some say that grouse shooting brings money into an area but the evidence is clear: driven grouse shooting is a burden on the public purse (Sheffield Hallam University and Cormack Economics).
Yorkshire Water is a large land owner and they lease out 13 different moorland areas for grouse shooting. The money you pay to Yorkshire Water goes to fund this slaughter. Many people have contacted Yorkshire Water asking them to stop and demonstrations have taken place across the county.
So how can you help?