Alex Sobel has called for a national ban on grouse shooting in effort to protect the wildlife, the environment and people at risk of flooding. Grouse shooting season starts on the 12th of August and Otley’s MP has warned that as well as being unethical, the practice could cause hazards for areas of his constuituency such as Otley.
In addition to grouse, other animals such as their predators and competitors are killed to increase the population available to shoot. Private landowners can gain thousands of pounds each day for selling the rights to shoot grouse on their land. While they gain, animals and local communities are disproportionally paying the costs, which can include flooding and wildfires.
Damage comes from the way in which land is kept to maximise grouse numbers. This includes draining and burning all existing growth to create new shoots
which grouse eat. The state that this leaves land in reduces its capacity to hold water and has been repeatedly found to increase flooding.
Having experienced the devastating effects of flooding over the past years, Otley remains at risk. Residents from Hebden bridge took issue as it became clear the floods they have seen were indeed impacted by the existence of grouse shooting areas located upstream of the town. Alex insists that he will condemn grouse shooting and aim to protect Otley from risks caused by such a sport.
According to prominent environmentalists, the huge fire that blazed through Saddleworth Moor in Manchester was spread so easily because of the conditions of the land. The areas that caught fire correlate to the areas used for grouse shooting on the moor. Land that has been prepared for grouse shooting is much more susceptible to catching fire, compared to than land that has not, especially in hot and dry summers.
Alex Sobel has a track record of supporting environmental issues. He is a member of the environmental audit committee in parliament and has campaigned on issues such as clean-air and plastic-free. Mr Sobel has also actively sought expert advice on flood prevention in Otley. Further to this, Alex Sobel has been an outspoken critic of blood sports condemning fox hunting and is part of the bill committee for the ivory. Adding his support to local groups last year, they saw the successful ban of grouse shooting on Ilkey Moor.
Mr Sobel said: “I find the practise of grouse shooting and its long-term costs for wildlife, the environment and local communities concerning. As a consistent supporter of environmental sustainability and protected animal species, I fully support a national ban on grouse shooting. These are unsustainable practices that lead to devastating effects on people and wildlife.”