Letter: Gamekeepers' role in the not-so-glorious twelfth (CORRECTED)

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The Independent Online

Sir: In his article 'The grouse moors' annual shot in the arm' (10 August), defending the slaughter of 650,000 grouse for fun, Jonathan Young, of The Field, rightly states that the League Against Cruel Sports opposes this so-called 'sport', but he wrongly suggests that the league offers no thought as to how the moorlands could be maintained and jobs retained.

Much of the grouse moor is an artificial environment created by the destruction of forests for sheep farming. Mr Young would probably be among those lecturing the Brazilians on the folly of destroying their rainforests, while he would refuse to restore ours, because he and his Italian bird killers want to retain their killing-fields. Sensitive forestry, increased tourism and recreation would bring far more benefits to the Scottish economy than the miserly 2,171 jobs provided by shooting in Scotland. Mr Young admits that the over-population of grouse has caused a crash in numbers due to disease and parasites. What he omits to say is that these over-populations are caused by gamekeepers slaughtering the predators such as foxes, goats, stoats, corvids and protected birds of prey.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds points out that of 25 prosecutions for killing golden eagles, 24 have involved gamekeepers. Of between 60 and 70 red kites released in the Highlands in recent years, six have already been poisoned. The British Trust for Ornithology states: 'Hen harriers still suffer very considerably from persecution on grouse moors.' And to cap it all, the shooting fraternity blast arund 4,000 tons of toxic lead shot into the British countryside every year. Conservationists?

Yours sincerely,


Wildlife Officer

League Against Cruel Sports

London, SE1

10 August