A crofter from Glenelg has submitted a petition to the government to ask for the removal of legal protection for sea eagles (and other predators, including golden eagles, and inexplicably, badgers) so that he and his fellow crofters may kill them. The petition (#1309) was submitted in February 2010 by crofter Farquhar Macbeath.
The petition comes after SNH sponsored a research study in 2009 about the effects of sea eagle predation on lambs at Gairloch, Wester Ross. Local crofters and farmers had claimed that sea eagles at Gairloch were eating over 200 lambs a year. The subsequent research demonstrated that they weren’t (no surprise there then!). After the study was completed, the Gairloch farmers claimed the research was “flawed”, because the sea eagles were “put off” taking the lambs by the big plastic tags attached to them as part of the research study. (There’s your solution then, farmers – in future, just attach plastic tags to your lambs!!). Here is the link to that story: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/birdsofprey/Sea-eagles-39not-taking-lambs.5788299.jp
Farquhar Macbeath’s petition was heard by Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee on 20 April 2010. It really is worth a read – it includes his and his family’s sightings of pumas and he refers to eagles as ‘vermin’ and ‘vultures’ – hideously out-dated and uneducated views but then Farquhar is 85 years old, bless him.
You can also watch the discussion surrounding this petition on Holyrood TV by clicking here: http://www.holyrood.tv/library.asp?iPid=3§ion=43&title=Public+Petitions Scroll to the petitions heard on 20/4/2010. The video is 4 hours long, but you can fast forward to this particular petition at 2.17hrs – 2.38hrs. It is worth watching!
In response to the petition, the Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, SNH, National Union of Farmers Scotland, Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Scottish Wildlife Trust, SSPCA and RSPB to ask for their views. No prizes for guessing what those will be.
Click here to read Farquhar’s amazing petition: PE1309