Wow. Little did I realise when posting my views concerning the current campaign to ban driven Grouse shooting on Friday quite how quickly events would progress. Even as I hit publish the count 85,919 was immediately rendered out of date by a constant procession of new signees, all of whom were willing to make a stand and declare that the persecution of wildlife across our Grouse moors has to stop. By midnight we were only a few hundred short of the magic 100,000 mark, a target smashed early on Saturday and one which now recedes in our rear-view mirror with every passing hour. As of now this is where we stand and it warms my heart to think of so many other like minded individuals standing up for nature.
I should probably also apologise at this point to those readers who aren’t used to seeing such campaigning on my blog, and who may indeed disagree with the goals of this very petition. I must admit to usually leaving this kind of thing to others but increasingly it’s been getting harder and harder to step back and hope that others ‘get the job done’. Social media is much to blame, not in the usual terms of glueing people to their phones but in opening many of our eyes to what is really going on in our countryside. At times it can make for rather depressing reading but where else would the Badger cull, Buzzard cull, Hen Harrier persecution, missing Golden Eagles and endless other wildlife crimes have got such wide readership? Certainly not in the national or local press, although coverage of this years inglorious 12th has been pretty darn good, and definitely not by the likes of the BBC whose impartial reporting I am increasingly beginning to question. But I digress. The truth is I see all this injustice and with it a large part of the population whose response is one of apathy. Not deliberate apathy let me make that clear, but one born out of a complete disconnect with our natural world and the challenges that it faces. The last couple of days has been a prime example where widespread information dissemination through blogs, radio, leaflets and interviews has managed to reach people who had thus far been disengaged but once better informed knew intrinsically that what was going on was wrong. This is indeed encouraging and shows the power of getting a message spread far and wide. For I genuinely believe that alone the wildlife organisations and their supporters cannot succeed. It takes that wider public engagement to really make a message heard and this one should hopefully be doing just that in the Houses of Parliament very soon.
All that brings us to what some are now dubbing The Glorious 13th, the date on which the petition to ban driven Grouse shooting surpassed 100,000 signatures. This means that it now has the chance to be debated in parliament and given its context and scientific backing there should be no reason for that not to take place. Yes there are other important issues on our governments agenda (here’s looking at you Brexit!) but in the next six months I hope to see this issue debated in our highest house. The outcome? Hard to say, but given the vested interests of some of our MP’s it could be an interesting and rocky road ahead. An important first step has been taken however. The Grouse shooting industry now knows they have a serious fight on their hands whatever happens. Campaigners will not back down and the ball is now firmly in their court to change their ways, step up to the mark or face consignment to the history books. The Inglorious 12th may stand for all that is bad about driven Grouse shooting but The Glorious 13th marks the day where we the public stated loud and clear, “No more”.
Sign the petition to ban driven Grouse shooting