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Now it's the grouse shooters who are in firing line

IT is heartening to see the growing opposition to grouse shooting. Animal Aid has long spoken out on behalf of the grouse destined to be blasted from the skies for "sport", as well as for the wild animals trapped, snared, or shot, because they pose a "threat" to the shooters' quarry.

We now see a steady procession of environmentalists and conservationists raising their voices in protest.

And replacing the usual, jolly Glorious Twelfth stories in the newspapers are in-depth reports on the illegal killing of birds of prey and the environmental damage caused by grouse shoots to our most precious habitats.

In response, the shooting industry attempts to defend this indulgence of the super-rich with its alleged economic benefits.

Yet, tellingly, when talking about the hard money that is the real driver of this activity, bloodsports enthusiasts fail to mention the millions of taxpayers' pounds that are claimed by grouse shoots, via schemes that are supposed to improve the uplands. Grouse shooters may well have friends in high places, but the damage, cruelty and excess that characterise shooting is well documented and has led to the huge increase in those calling for an end to this vile activity.

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