SGA challenges misleading Scottish Greens’ grouse moor flyer

PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 April 2021 | UPDATED: 17:30 07 April 2021

Grouse moors have become a political tool... potentially at the expense of wildlife, jobs and communities
Credit: ANNEYP/Getty

Grouse moors have become a political tool... potentially at the expense of wildlife, jobs and communities Credit: ANNEYP/Getty

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Scottish Greens’ election campaign flyer slammed for containing false information on grouse shooting

Some of the findings of the most recent grouse moor socioeconomic research, 2020Some of the findings of the most recent grouse moor socioeconomic research, 2020

The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association is writing to the Electoral Commission about campaign literature form the Green Party which they say “promotes misleading information about grouse moors” while calling for it to be phased out.

In a flyer that has been posted by the party in the run-up to May’s Scottish Parliament elections, Maggie Chapman, who is running for the Greens in the North East region, is quoted on several misleading statements, all of which have been proved incorrect by various research and studies, one of which is the Scottish Government’s own review into grouse shooting – The Werrity Review.

The utterly misleading flyer circulated by the Scottish GreensThe utterly misleading flyer circulated by the Scottish Greens

The flyer claims:

* Grouse moor owners averagely pay less than the minimum wage

* Grouse moors cover up to a fifth of Scotland

* grouse moor owners support less than 3,000 Scottish jobs

Research into grouse moor socioeconomics by SRUC and James Hutton Institute, which was commissioned by Scottish Government, dismisses the claims; the reports, from 2018 and 2020, state that grouse moors cover an absolute maximum of one tenth of Scotland’s uplands. Gamekeepers’ wages vary between full- and part-time employment, with full-time positions often providing a vehicle and a home.

Grouse shooting itself supports 2,500 full-time Scottish jobs (more per hectare employment than woodland and forestry schemes, which also require more public subsidy), while the majority of gamekeepers also provide unsubsidised predator and deer control as part of their job. The 2020 report demonstrated that driven grouse moors provided more jobs, per hectare, than all the other moorland land uses which the authors studied.

The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association Chairman, Alex Hogg, commented: “The Green Party have the right to campaign on whatever platform they choose. However, if they are going to propose measures which will put 2,500 skilled workers and their families on the dole, they shouldn’t be trying to dupe voters on the basis of inaccurate information.

“The Scottish Government’s report into grouse moor economics was paid for by the Scottish tax payers. It seems the Greens have selectively chosen to ignore it.

“If voters are to be able to make informed choices and for confidence in the Parliament to be maintained, surely politicians have at least some duty to present a semblance of fact.

“This is especially true if what they are proposing is the destruction of peoples’ livelihoods and a way of life which is part of the country’s cultural heritage.”

Read the original press release on Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association website

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