Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Greens at loggerheads with country sports enthusiasts over grouse shooting during the coronavirus pandemic

grouse shooting
The grouse shooting season is underway.

A furious row has erupted over the exemption of grouse shoots from coronavirus public health rules limiting gatherings to six people.

The Green Party, which opposes blood sports, has objected to exceptions to the new guidance which suggests that organised outdoor activities can go ahead if there are more than six people involved.

Green MSP Alison Johnstone described the exemption as ludicrous, but country sports organisations accused the Greens of a “vindictive” focus on an activity that brought in £200 million to the economy and sustained more than 8,000 jobs.

Not for the first time, the UK Government has indicated that public health emergency rules don’t apply to their wealthy friends.”

Green MSP Alison Johnstone

The Greens urged the Scottish Government not to make grouse shoots exempt after the Huffington Post reported that Boris Johnson’s government would allow shoots and other hunters to gather in groups of between six and 30 people.

Ms Johnstone said this should not be allowed to happen in Scotland, despite official Government guidance suggesting organised outdoor activities can go ahead when there are more than six participants.

The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) said a framework for the operation of country sports – backed by the Scottish Government – was published in July.

Alison Johnstone MSP.

The framework allows outdoor fishing, angling, stalking and shooting activities operated by businesses to continue.

Ms Johnstone said: “This exemption is ludicrous. The restrictions on gatherings is a difficult but important public health measure to prevent the spread of a deadly virus. Not for the first time, the UK Government has indicated that public health emergency rules don’t apply to their wealthy friends.

“This cannot be allowed to happen in Scotland. The tiny minority who derive pleasure from killing wildlife are not more important than the thousands who are being kept apart from seeing friends and family. Thirty people should not be able to gather to shoot grouse when thirty people cannot attend a wake for a lost loved one.”

She added: “The Scottish Government need to urgently clarify the Scottish rules so that this doesn’t happen.”

I don’t think the Greens are looking at the health of the nation in respect of the pandemic. I think they are focusing in on activities that they seem to dislike.”

Colin Shedden of the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group

Colin Shedden of the SCSTG said: “We are working under the guidance we produced in the summer with respect to Covid restrictions under the government’s suite of guidance for the outdoor sector. So they’ve effectively approved or endorsed our guidance.

“The exemption only applies to the sport itself. It doesn’t apply to accommodation and shoot dinners and so on.

“The Greens seem to be picking on grouse shooting. To bring the restriction into an organised sport like shooting which is conducted in the great outdoors with physical distancing easily recognised is quite vindictive of them.

“I don’t think they are looking at the health of the nation in respect of the pandemic. I think they are focusing in on activities that they seem to dislike.”

Mr Shedden added: “We are coming into the main shooting season for game birds and we know that shooting is worth £200m a year to the economy and employs 8,800 full time employees. So they are really jeopardising a very important rural business, which backs up tourism in the lean winter months.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Under the regulations, a maximum of six people from two different households are able to gather together. However, there are some exemptions in place for organised activities. Outdoor and sporting activities such as shooting may be permitted if they meet criteria laid out in the legislation and adhere fully with physical distancing requirements.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]