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The Labour Party has called for an independent review on grouse shooting, claiming a number of practices commonly employed by the industry are damaging to the environment – as well as animals.
According to the announcement – by Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sue Hayman, an estimated 700,000 grouse are shot every year in Britain for ‘sport’.
Her announcement follows a recent poll which shows nearly seven out of 10 people (69 percent) in Great Britain want the blood sport made illegal.
The Labour Party wants the Government to mandate the end of heather burning on moorland which the shooting industry currently uses to encourage the growth of the plant, but which causes massive environmental damage including flooding downhill in local towns and cities.
According to welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, the environmental damage is just one issue when it comes to shooting: a number of animals, above and beyond the grouse who are shot, are indiscriminately killed in ‘cruel’ ways – to stop them predating grouse. These include foxes, magpies, crows, stoats, weasels and even endangered birds of prey.
LACS adds: “The near extinction of the hen harrier in England is a direct result of their persecution on grouse moors – just three nesting pairs remain in the country.”
Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the acknowledgement by the Labour Party of the terrible toll driven grouse shooting has on the ‘game’ birds, on the environment, and on rural communities and that action is sorely needed to address this.
“The impact of practices such as heather burning and the trapping and killing of other animals are particularly acute, so it’s vital that this discussion takes place and that swift progress is made.
“A strong next step would be to see the Labour Party take the lead set by the Welsh Government and call for an end to shooting on public land. This is particularly important in light of the terrible impact driven grouse shooting has on animals, people and the environment.”.