Parliament and the Ban Driven Grouse Shooting e-petition | Dr Mark Avery
In October 2016 Dr Mark Avery, a former Conservation Director of the RSPB, was in Parliament to debate a petition to ban driven grouse shooting, which as most respected conservationists acknowledge has led to widespread raptor persecution and the near extinction of the Hen Harrier as a breeding bird in England. Those of us who watched the debate - either at the Commons or online - were not expecting too much given how the parliamentary evidence gathering session a few weeks before had gone, where Mark and Jeff Knott, the RSPB Head of Nature Policy, had come up against a belligerent and seemingly dismissive committee of MPs who were almost wholly supportive of the grouse shooting industry. As expected, the proceedings were less of a debate than a reassurance to grouse shooters that - as far as these particular MPs were concerned - nothing was going to change. Charlie Moores met up with Mark in November to chat about what had been a very long campaign and ask what - given Mark's recent experiences - was his current opinion of Parliamentary democracy.