Labour MSP Elaine Murray asked the Scottish government on 25 March 2010 what action it is taking to tackle wildlife crime.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Environment Minister, claimed the government was committed to tackling wildlife crime and used four examples to support her assertion:
1. Strengthening and re-structuring the Partnership for Wildlife Crime (PAW) to improve its effectiveness. [Presumably this ‘strengthening’ includes supporting the words of Sheriff Kevin Drummond, Paw Chair, who recently told a wildlife crime investigator to “Get a life” after he dared to suggest that sentencing for wildlife crime was too lenient].
2. Establishing a fund aimed at supporting innovations in combating wildlife crime. [This is good – is there a report available to show what innovations have been funded?].
3. Taking action to reduce the single farm payments made to five claimants in cases connected with poisoned birds. [Excellent. Is there a report available to show which five claimants have had their subsidies withdrawn? We are only aware of two –
- James McDougal (Blythe Farm near Lauder, Scottish Borders) who had £7,919 withdrawn in January 2008 after his gamekeeper, George Aitken, was convicted of wildlife crimes – see blog entry 6 March 2010.
- John Dodd (Glenogil Estate, Angus) who had £107,000 withdrawn in September 2008 after poisoned baits were found strewn across his estate. Dodd is apparently contesting this decision – see blog entry 3 March 2010.
So who are the other three claimants who have had their subsidies withdrawn? The two we know of happened in 2008, during the tenure of the previous Environment Minister, Michael Russell. How many withdrawals happened in 2009 when Roseanna Cunningham took office?]
4. The recent appointment of a special lawyer to act as Crown Council for Wildlife Crime. [Excellent – we look forward to seeing an increase of successful prosecutions in the very near future].