Thursday, 25 August 2016

An open letter to Antoinette Sandbach MP

I am posting here the email I have sent to my MP Antoinette Sandbach today. If you have not already done so, would you please consider writing to your MPs asking them to support the ban driven grouse shooting debate in parliament. Mark Avery has a great template that you can use here.


Dear Mrs Sandbach,

Firstly I just wondered if you have ever seen a hen harrier before. I can vividly remember the first time I ever saw one. I was high up on the North Wales moors. The fine rain and mist covered my face in water and the low cloud limited my views over the vast landscape.  Despite the rain and mist, I resolved to walk even further up the moors, but my plans to keep going suddenly came to an abrupt stop. A grey ghost, elegant and effortless, glided past within 10 metres of where I stood. He soared effortlessly on the wind, appearing and reappearing through the sloping hills. An image locked in my head forever.

I am a young constituent of yours and I signed the e-petition on the parliament website entitled Ban Driven Grouse Shooting 

On the 13th of August this petition reached the target of 100,000 signatures, which as you know means that this petition will be considered for debate in parliament. Currently at the time I am writing this email, the petition stands at almost 118,000. That’s 118,000 members of the public calling for the ban on an activity (for I can’t call it a sport) that leads to the persecution of upland wildlife; hen harriers, red kites, buzzards, peregrines, mountain hares, foxes and many other species. The persecution of raptors is of course illegal, and yet it still happens. This year just 3 pairs of hen harriers bred in England when the uplands could support over 300 pairs.  In our constituency of Eddisbury 166 people have supported this petition.

Driven grouse shooting means that the uplands are intensively managed to support unnaturally high levels of red grouse to then be shot.  Managing this “investment” also means getting rid of any species that are a threat to the red grouse.

The e-petition is expected to receive a debate in Westminster Hall some time later than 9 October.  I hope that when the date of the debate is determined you will be able to attend the debate. When the debate occurs I really need you to represent my views in that debate. I want to see stronger regulation of driven grouse shooting and changes in the way our hills are managed. Do you think you would be able to speak on that subject?

I would be grateful for your response and the opportunity to talk to you about it if you are planning to attend the debate. Please, please attend if you can. We have lost 50% of world wildlife over the last 40 years, so we have to ensure that we are doing the best we can for the natural world. We cannot survive without it.

It really is a simple question you have to ask in the end, what is more important; the money that goes to a tiny number of people on the back of an industry based on killing, or giving something back and restoring the balance of species we should have in the uplands.

I am asking you and hoping that you will be able to attend the debate and would it be your intention to do so? I hope you can represent mine and others views, and if you want to or know you can take part in the debate, I would be very grateful for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Findlay Wilde


  1. Excellent Findlay, put extremely well.
    Sadly I think this petition will fall on deaf ears though; a rich minority will overrule the wise majority.
    Sooner or later the 'people' will need to take the will of the 'people' to those in power, like the misguided Badger cull.
    A long, hard road, but one that can be won.

  2. You represent part of the next generation of conservationists, so they have to listen to you, I agree though that it will take more than an open letter to get it considered.

  3. A well though out letter which hopefully if enough people in your area contact her, May at the very least take some notice. Hopefully you'll get a response back and you'll post that too.