WITH the so-called Glorious Twelfth rapidly approaching, let us consider a few of the many reasons why this bird-killing festival is nothing to celebrate.
A large number of native birds and mammals who interfere with grouse shooting are trapped, poisoned or snared. Victims include stoats, weasels, and even iconic raptors such as hen harriers, red kites and golden eagles.
An unnatural, heather-rich environment is created because the grouse thrive on young heather shoots. To create these fresh shoots, the heather is burned, which can harm wildlife and damage the environment. Another technique used for encouraging new heather growth and for providing habitat for grouse is to dig drainage ditches. Like burning, this also damages the peat bogs - drying them out and causing carbon to be released.
Furthermore, the harsh 'management' of moorlands causes grouse numbers to boom. But as they overburden the landscape, they become weakened and fall prey to a lethal parasitic infection - strongylosis. Consequently, a cycle of population boom and bust is the norm on Britain's grouse moors.
Finally, large quantities of lead shot are discharged, which is toxic to wildlife.
In short, August 12 on Britain's grouse moors is anything but glorious.
ANDREW TYLER Director Animal Aid The Old Chapel Bradford Street Tonbridge