Birds worth £90 each and shot on some of Britain’s most exclusive estates
It is a taste more likely to be savoured by the super-rich than the rest of us. But grouse shot on some of Britain’s most exclusive estates is being given out at food banks and homeless shelters
“We want to make this part of game shooting culture. We are trying to add the good cause to the good meal so that people see the social responsibility” – Game Share initiative organiser Ian Gregory
With participants typically paying around £180 a brace – or pair – of birds to take part in shoots, grouse shooting on moorland in Scotland and northern England has been nicknamed a “sport of kings”.
Now under a new philanthropic scheme, participants are being invited to donate all or part of their haul of birds to projects for people at risk of going hungry.
The first batch of 1,300 birds, shot at the start of this year’s grouse shooting in August – the Glorious Twelfth – was carefully portioned up, packaged and distributed to food banks and other good causes in September.
Now organisers of the “Game Share” initiative hope to dramatically expand the scheme, inviting companies hosting corporate shooting days for staff or clients to take part.
They also hope to move beyond the exclusive confines of grouse moors to shoots for pheasant and other game, in a drive to change the culture of game shooting.
The meat is being distributed through Fareshare, a charity which collects food from which would otherwise go to waste shops and caterers and to a network of needy causes from school breakfast clubs and homeless hostels to women’s refuges and community cafes.
“It is not just food banks, it is homeless hostels and lunch clubs for older people” – Fareshare spokeswoman
“We want to make this part of game shooting culture,” said Ian Gregory one of the organisers of the Game Share initiative.
“We are trying to add the good cause to the good meal so that people see the social responsibility.”
He said it is hoped the scheme will help counter some of the negative attention on shooting from anti-hunting lobby.
“We believe the ethics of game birds are far superior to what people consume from the supermarkets,” he said.
“Even free range chickens can have a stocking density of 13 birds per square metre whereas with game birds it is in square miles.”
A spokeswoman for Fareshare said: “We received the grouse in September, it had all been portioned and packaged, we sent it to our five regional warehouses which distribute to over 600 organisations – it is not just food banks, it is homeless hostels and lunch clubs for older people.”