Raptor persecution “a part real – part imaginary crime”, says MSP

The stage 1 debate on the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill took place in Holyrood yesterday. The televised debate is available here: http://www.holyrood.tv/library.asp?iPid=3&section=31&title=General+Debates

The video lasts for 2.04 hours, and the WANE bill debate begins at 30 mins and runs to the end of the video.

Perhaps the most astonishing comment was that made by John Scott MSP (who begins his short speech at 57 mins into the video), who said that the Scottish conservatives do not accept that raptor persecution is widespread, they don’t believe a case has been made for the introduction of vicarious liability, and that raptor persecution was “a part real – part imaginary crime”.

Mr Scott is a member of the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee – the group charged with leading on the WANE bill – and so presumably he has sat through hours and hours of evidence about the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland, and in particular raptor persecution. Was he asleep? Or is his mind padlocked? His eyes blinkered? His ears stuffed with lambswool? Here is his MSP profile: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msp/membersPages/john_scott/index.htm

Thankfully, other members of the Committee re-butted his claim during their own statements, and it seems that there is a general concensus that the on-going issue of illegal & widespread raptor persecution in Scotland should be, and will be addressed within the WANE bill, which has now moved into Stage 2 for more detailed discussions.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham announced that the Government’s response to the Committee’s Stage 1 Report will be published next week.

5 Responses to “Raptor persecution “a part real – part imaginary crime”, says MSP”

  1. 1 Dave Dick
    December 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Profoundly depressing – as a whole they come over as ignorant re legislation and afraid of anything that might be radical change.5 years before snaring gets reviewed – an area where they are actually debating how much cruelty they can allow – now that their own committees recognise it is cruel.

    Not one mention of the impending drop in police efficiency because of the cuts….who will prosecute any of this stuff….its the one area I actually agree with Sheriff Drummond!….Get Scottish SPCA powers now…vicarious liability, noy a hope in hell of that succeeding.

    The Wildlife Estates Initiative?…what are the chances of any neutral investigation of one of those estates!!…It will be like the Grampian Raptorwatch all over again….

    No…little hope of improvement in the future – just make damn sure any incidents are reported publicly….or youll get the John Scott heresy about “no proof” [dear God, how many years of dead kites and eagles does it take!] spreading.

  2. 2 Stewart Love
    December 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I see that Mr John Scott MSP is a farmer and a Tory, so it does not really surprise me that he and the Scottish Conservatives do not believe that Raptor persecution is widespread. I wonder if he takes part or allows shooting etc etc on his land or should it be called (sporting). What are the chances of getting neutral unbiased decisions from committees when people like him make a statement like this. How many (imaginary) bodies of Raptors have to be shown on camera to papers, web sites, media of all kinds before these people will be forced to do something about it. I just hope that the other members of the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee are not of the same “opinion” as Mr Scott.

  3. December 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Is it really any surprise that Scottish Tories are against the idea. It’s called solidarity……but not the sort we would subscribe to, ( or the Polish peoples of yesteryear), the values of truth, integrity and value. Oh no, they go about supporting matters in an entirely different way!! John Scott, MSP, touch your forelock!!!

    In an article in the Guardian newspaper on the 24th November entitled, ” Donations to Political Parties”, we learn that one John E.Dodd, owner of the Glenogil Estate, is a contributor to Tory Party funds to the tune of £50,000. Glenogil is an estate that has been mentioned elsewhere on this site. Yes, folks, in the end it does come down to politics, and playing dirty if necessary, as I’m afraid I very much feel not just sickened, but subjugated , by the sheer arrogance of such behaviour. Moves have been made to approach David Cameron and ask if he feels comfortable with receiving monies from a donor whose estate is currently under investigation associated with alleged incidents of raptor persecution. Whilst we would tell off our children for indulging in that off publicised Spanish gesticulation, this is what is being done in our faces by those who persistently countenance and practice raptor persecution. Years ago, when employed by RSPB, I often wondered how many of the law makers of the land ( does it matter whether that’s England, Scotland whatever ?) were the seasonal “clients” of shooting estates who made their annual pilgrimages to the moors, oblivious of the fact that their enjoyment was being provided, in parallel, by illegal activity. Or were they that oblivious? Seems to me there is a high element of arrogance and hypocrisy wound up in all such matters.

    Whilst I usually post on the Raptor Politics website, or my own, I really felt the need to draw attention to how important it is to keep giving support to Roseanna Cunningham’s initiative to bring “vicarious responsibility” into law . It must happen, must happen, or otherwise we are all being taken for patsys (or worse). Why should a minority persistently be allowed to erode away part of our natural heritage? If they were nipping into any provincial art gallery and taking away part of the national cultural heritage there’d be hell to pay? What is the difference?

    John Armitage.

  4. 4 nirofo
    December 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Perhaps Mr John Scott MSP lives in cloud cuckoo land and that’s where he gets his idea of imaginary crimes from! He should come down out of the clouds and live in the real world with the rest of us.


  5. 5 paul irving
    December 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I’m sure that these people do not live in cloud cuckoo land, its called obfuscation. If you question, delay or deny continuously despite the plain facts doubt is caste on those facts for those who are not committed.It is a tactic that the shooting lobby and their friends have always used along with divide and conquer. they know exactly what they are doing but we should not give them an inch or become despondent anger I find is a great motivator, who was it who said “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” We all have to be in it for the long haul.


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