I was born on the 12th of August, a date known to shooting enthusiasts as 'the glorious twelfth', because grouse shooting starts today. From this day and for the next few months, these unfortunate birds will be driven from cover by dogs to be blasted at by people who take pleasure in killing as 'sport'.
As if killing for fun isn't bad enough, there are other evils associated with driven grouse shooting. The practice is inextricably associated with wildlife crime - to protect the grouse (until people want to slaughter them), birds of prey such as rare hen harriers are poisoned, snared or shot. This is illegal - but somehow shooting estates continue to get away with it. Foxes and mountain hares, too, are targeted - and of course snares and poisons kill indiscriminately.
Then there's the matter of peat. A lot of 'game' shooting (quotation marks because I hate the term 'game', as if living creatures exist purely for human amusement) takes place on peat uplands. To keep the land clear from scrub and to promote the growth of heather, which grouse use for cover, peat-burning is a regular practice. This is highly damaging - not only does it endanger and kill wildlife, it destroys the peat which is a precious carbon store and should be protected. So it's needlessly adding to carbon emissions at a time when we urgently need to reduce them.
All this to make money and provide 'sport' for a wealthy minority.
It's time for a ban on driven grouse shooting. Support Wild Justice to learn more and add your voice.
I will enjoy my birthday far more when it really is the 'Glorious Twelfth' - when this barbarous, outdated, wasteful bloodsport is finally consigned to history.