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The Government has publicly backed grouse shooting saying that it “is a legitimate activity providing benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation and investment in remote areas”.

In its response to an online petition calling for a ban on ‘driven grouse shooting’, the Government said it “will continue work to ensure a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship between shooting and conservation” and that “the Government has no plans to ban grouse shooting”.

The Government’s response does raise concerns that “there are still individuals who continue to commit these crimes [raptor persecution]” and that stakeholder groups such as the National Wildlife Crime Unit and Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group need to “eradicate these crimes”.

Caroline Bedell, BASC executive director of conservation, said: “The Government’s commitment to grouse shooting is terrific news for the whole shooting community. The response sends out a clear message to those hard working and dedicated landowners, gamekeepers and shoot managers that the Government recognises the benefits provided by active land management.

“The Government is correct to raise raptor persecution as a serious issue however progress is being made. Confirmed cases remain low and many bird of prey species are witnessing unprecedented population highs. BASC is proud to stand with the Government in working towards the eradication of all reckless crimes.

“Whilst this current Government has made its decisions based on sound science and knowledge, the next Government may find it harder to ignore the continuous lobbying from celebrity and clickbait conservationists. It is therefore vital that the shooting community continue to build partnerships to ensure public goods are delivered, stamp out any remaining bad practice and look actively to the future of shooting instead of standing still.”

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