THOSE who signed a League Against Cruel Sports-backed petition to ban grouse shooting have been misled by an extremist campaign which could result in the destruction of much of Britain’s heather moorland.

The government has responded in detail to the petition, stating that grouse shooting makes a significant economic contribution, provides jobs and investment in some of the UK’s most remote areas, and offers important benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation.

The petition may lead to a parliamentary debate, which BASC believes will provide an opportunity to dispel the myths which are being promoted by organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports.

Tim Russell, Director of Conservation at BASC, said: “Celebrity bullies and internet trolls have whipped up online support by pedalling half-truths, gross exaggerations and myths. The principle is that if you throw enough mud some of it will stick. That’s no way to decide policy for the UK’s precious uplands.

“We look forward to the opportunity to put the case for grouse shooting in parliament, evidence-based debate is the enemy of propaganda.

“Governments of all political colours have acknowledged the benefits of grouse shooting. Grouse shooting supports wildlife, supports conservation and is the lifeblood of isolated communities which would suffer immeasurably in its absence.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “Government deals in evidence-based policy and BASC will continue to be at the forefront of providing that evidence in support of grouse shooting and the management of heather moorlands.

“The government is committed to helping create a sustainable future for the uplands. Grouse shooting fits into that strategy by providing water regulation, carbon storage, biodiversity and recreational opportunities for health and wellbeing.

“Evidence proves the positive environmental and economic impact of grouse shooting; evidence provides truths which will prove inconvenient for the extremists and the anti-shooting celebrities who have misled the public.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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