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Countryfile presents positive image of grouse shooting

PUBLISHED: 10:15 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:15 15 August 2016

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ssh news11

Archant

The BBC’s Countryfile has taken a big step towards a more honest depiction of rural life by dedicating a section of the show to an interview with a Scottish gamekeeper

The BBC’s Countryfile has taken a big step towards a more honest depiction of rural life by dedicating a section of the show, on Sunday 5 June, to an interview with a Scottish gamekeeper, who was encouraged to talk freely about the conservation benefits of grouse shooting.

The presenter, Naomi Wilkinson, was taken in a 4x4 on a ‘wildlife tour’ around the stunning Invermark Estate by gamekeeper of 25 years, Andy Malcolm.

After pointing out grouse and a distant deer, and alerting his companion to the calls of the oystercatchers and ring ouzel, Andy was given the time to talk, and communicated effectively the conservation benefits that grouse shooting brings to such areas of land.

He said: “The red grouse are like the bread and butter of the estate; people will pay big money to come and shoot them and those four or five weeks of grouse shooting supports the estate for the rest of the year.”

He explained the system used whereby only the surplus grouse are shot, before going on to describe the responsibility that gamekeepers, such as himself, feel not just for the animals they manage for sport, but for the surrounding wildlife. He also mentioned how some of the wildlife species that struggle on unmanaged land, thrive on estates where the land is managed for shooting.

Predictably, the episode incited outrage amongst animal rights campaigners and viewers of the show. A blog post by ex-RSPB Conservation Director Mark Avery, who is amassing signatures to have grouse shooting banned, claimed that Countryfile has sunk “lower than even [he] thought was possible with a hopeless piece about grouse moors”.

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