by Countryside Alliance

This week has seen Labour reverting to the class war agenda. Despite all the serious environmental issues facing our planet, they have called for a review of grouse shooting. They claim that grouse shooting could be having detrimental effects on the climate and wildlife. This is blatantly ignoring the facts.

Heather moorland is a habitat of international importance, with 75 per cent of that remaining worldwide being found in upland Britain. It is the only habitat in which red grouse, a totally wild species unique to the United Kingdom, is found, and it is no coincidence that 70 per cent of England’s upland Sites of Special Scientific Interest are managed grouse moors, and over 40 per cent are also designated as Special Protection Areas for rare birds and Special Areas of Conservation for rare vegetation, the highest designations under European wildlife directives.

It falls on anyone who claims that there are viable alternatives to grouse shooting, to first undertake a thorough assessment of the environmental, social, and economic consequences that would arise as a result. These are the three dimensions to the core of mainstream sustainability that have been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and anyone wanting to see a change to the status quo has a responsibility to ensure that any alternative land use is at least as beneficial. Labour must articulate their alternative solution before any decision can be taken, given the international importance of Britain’s heather moorland and the associated peatlands in Britain. It is widely recognised that grouse shooting has been instrumental in protecting heather moorland and its associated peatlands.

The shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA would benefit greatly from speaking to people on the ground who are involved in grouse moor management. I repeat what we have said already: The Countryside Alliance would be happy to facilitate this.

On top of this, the Telegraph also revealed that Labour intend to implement further laws to strengthen the illogical Hunting Act. At the Countryside Alliance, we have yet to receive any straight answers on what the problem with foxhunting is or what solutions Labour have, other than they seem obsessed with wanting people who wear red coats and ride horses hauled before the courts.

You might have thought that if improving animal welfare was the real motive behind the Hunting Act, a bit  of research might have been undertaken to see precisely what effect this law has had on those species previously hunted. Sadly, we all know this is obviously a cover for yet another attack on rural communities – or simply put, people they perceive to generally not vote Labour.

The Countryside Alliance will continue to stand up for rural communities by challenging misinformation, robustly calling out class war-driven political attacks, while putting forward the facts in the mainstream media and in Westminster.

Polly Portwin

Follow me at @hunting_ca

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