The Ritz has reportedly stopped serving grouse in its restaurant, prompting celebration from environmental groups.
According to the Guardian, the iconic London hotel and restaurant has “quietly removed” the game bird from its menus.
Grouse—which is traditionally served with fruit jelly, game chips, and gravy—is commonly offered by up-market restaurants in the autumn and winter.
The dish is controversial due to environmental concerns, however. Gamekeepers on shooting estates will often artificially boost grouse populations by disrupting local ecosystems.
Grouse shooting season begins on August 12, a date dubbed “the Glorious Twelfth” by advocates of the “sport.”
Around 700,000 red grouse are killed throughout the season, which ends in early December. Shooting parties can pay up to £14,000 a day to participate in the activity.
Inside the UK grouse industry
Grouse are generally hunted on managed areas of land known as grouse moors, which are created specifically for the purpose of grouse shooting. The moors are sometimes set on fire to encourage the growth of new green shoots to feed the birds. Wildlife can be killed as a result of this, and animals that hunt grouse are also ensnared in traps.
It is thought that around 40 percent of shot birds will be wounded rather than killed, meaning they will likely suffer a prolonged, painful death.
Celebrating the news that grouse has been removed from The Ritz menu, Luke Steele, executive director of wildlife campaign group Wild Moors, said: “Behind every shot grouse on a restaurant menu is a moorland where foxes, stoats, and weasels have suffered in traps and snares, and carbon-rich peatlands have been set ablaze.”
“In an age where protecting the environment is all the rage, it’s clear that there’s nothing less classy than supporting grouse shooting – and the cruelty and ecological damage which goes with it.”
Grouse is still appearing on The Ritz’s online menu. However, the Guardian reportedly spoke to the hotel, and received confirmation that the bird is not currently being served due to “supply issues.”
Plant Based News has reached out to The Ritz for comment.