Below is a letter from Dr Mark Avery, a renowned scientist and supporter of bird and wildlfife conservation. Have a read and sign the e-petition if you feel you want to. [ Ed. ]
I have just launched an e-petition on the No10 website calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting in England. At the moment it only has me signed up to it so it needs a bit of support.
I'm not really very keen on banning things so it has taken a lot of thought to launch this petition. However, after 60 years of complete legal protection, the Hen Harrier is rarer than it was (in England at least) when it got that protection! And after at least a couple of decades of talking about solutions with the moorland community, in which I played a part for a while, the Hen Harrier is almost extinct in England. There are times when one can reach an understanding with 'the other side' but this doesn't appear to be one of them. The systematic, illegal, wholesale removal of a protected bird from our countryside is a disgrace.
Of course, I would be rather surprised if this e-petition led to the banning of driven grouse shooting but I hope it will highlight the issues around this land use (which are far wider than a protected bird of prey) and make it easier for some sort of sensible solution to emerge. But if grouse shooting were banned, we really wouldn't miss it at all. I will be giving this e-petition plenty of publicity over the next 12 months.
Please don't sign the e-petition if you don't have some sympathy with it – that would be wrong. And I'm not going to know, whether any of you have signed it or not – unless, of course, the number of signatures remains at just the one.
If I can add another 9,999 signatures in the next 365 days then the government, perhaps a different government, will have to respond. If I can add 99,999 signatures, then the issue may be debated in parliament (it would be interesting to hear what Nigel Farage would say!)."
Dr Mark Avery [ http://markavery.info/about/ ]
This is the link http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627