The Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Sue Hayman MP, have called for a public inquiry into grouse shooting this evening , citing the negative impact the practice has on wildlife, habitat, tourism and the regional economy. The move comes amid some of the region’s most prominent Labour MPs, including Alex Sobel (Leeds North West), Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), Judith Cummins (Bradford South) and Naz Shah (Bradford East), backing a ban on the practice.
Wild Moors, which earlier this year persuaded Labour-controlled Bradford Council to end grouse shooting on iconic Ilkley Moor, has strongly welcomed the move. Wild Moors further commends the recognition of simulated grouse shooting as an economic model for upland estates across the region and its potential to remove damage to wildlife, the environment and regional economy which comes part and parcel with its game-bird shooting counterpart.
Sue Hayman, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “This grouse season, Labour is calling on the government not only to mandate the end of rotational heather burning but to launch an independent review into the economic, environmental and wildlife impacts of driven grouse shooting and to model some of the alternatives that could replace the trade in rural areas. We would protect jobs as well as our natural environment, water quality and some of the UK’s most beautiful and endangered birds of prey.”
Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, said: “I find the practise of grouse shooting and its long-term costs for wildlife, the environment and local communities concerning. As a consistent supporter of environmental sustainability and protected animal species, I fully support a national ban on grouse shooting. These are unsustainable practices that lead to devastating effects on people and wildlife.”
Luke Steele, Director of Wild Moors, said: “The Shadow Secretary of State must be commended in the highest of terms for committing the Labour Party, the second largest political party in Westminster, to supporting a public inquiry into grouse shooting and recognising the considerable toll on wildlife, environment and regional economy which comes with the practice remaining legal.
“As we have seen this Glorious Twelfth, grouse shooting is so unsustainable that something as simple as a change in weather can result in the industry falling apart and all purported economic advantages lost. Simulated grouse shooting, which replicates traditional grouse shooting in every way, except the guns are firing at clay disks hurtling through the air, proves a reliable replacement for the uplands, with considerable economic and employment potential.
“Unlike its game bird counterpart, simulated grouse shooting provides unlimited bags, no closed season and added provision of full-time jobs for everyone involved in running shoot days. When coupled with removing the incentive for purging the uplands of wildlife, burning heather to increase red grouse numbers, and the flooding which comes with degraded peat bog, it’s a win-win scenario.”
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