Archive for March, 2013


No need to criminalise possession of Carbofuran, reckons UK govt

EACLast October the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee recommended a range of measures to help tackle wildlife crime in the UK (excluding Scotland) following an extensive public inquiry into the scale of wildlife crime (see here, here, here, here, here for previous blog entries). The recommended measures included:

  • Criminalising the ‘possession’ — not just the use — of the poison Carbofuran, to make it easier to secure bird poisoning convictions;
  • Introducing an offence of vicarious liability to make landowners responsible for wildlife crimes on their land;
  • Providing long-term Home Office and Defra funding to the National Wildlife Crime Unit, and
  • Tightening up the recording of wildlife crime data to help keep track and tackle trends in wildlife crime.

Today, the Government has published its response to the EAC report and has rejected calls from MPs to criminalise possession of Carbofuran and has refused to give funding certainty for the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Joan Walley MP, said:

“The Government has missed an opportunity to take two simple measures to protect important wildlife threatened by poachers and criminals in the UK.

It has failed to follow Scotland’s lead in criminalising possession of carbofuran – the main poison used to kill birds of prey. And it has refused to provide the long-term financial certainty that the National Wildlife Crime Unit needs, only making money available for the next 12 months.

It’s good news that the Government will watch how well the ‘vicarious liability’ law works in Scotland, making landowners responsible for what happens on their estates. But the Government should also look at how well the tougher law in Scotland acts as a deterrent, not simply how many convictions there are there.”

Here are the government’s specific responses on the two measures directly relating to raptor persecution:

Recommended measure: To discharge its obligations under the EC Birds Directive, to demonstrate its commitment to addressing raptor persecution and to send a clear signal that it regards poisoning birds of prey as wholly unacceptable, we recommend that the Government immediately introduces an Order under Section 43 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 proscribing possession of carbofuran and other similar substances in England and Wales.

Government’s response: The Government is firmly committed to addressing raptor persecution in England and Wales and this is one of the UK’s wildlife crime priorities (with a focus on hen harrier, goshawk, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, red kite and peregrine). There is a robust legal framework for protecting birds of prey with penalties which can include imprisonment for offenders.

Approvals for pesticide products containing carbofuran were revoked in 2001; this means that the advertisement, sale, supply, storage or use of products containing carbofuran is already a criminal offence under existing UK pesticide legislation. This offence carries, on conviction, an unlimited fine.

Similar restrictions apply to all other pesticides as the basis of UK and EU pesticide legislation is that no pesticide may be sold, stored or used unless it is first approved. All sale, storage and use of approved pesticides are subject to strict legislative control and are also subject to a code of practice3  as published by Defra.

Additionally the use of any poisonous substance to kill or take wild birds is already an offence under section 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The laws surrounding the possession of pesticides, such as carbofuran, which are harmful to wildlife, have been considered, and the conclusion is that there are alternative ways to handle the issue other than introducing an Order under s.43 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. These include the existing powers under UK pesticide legislation (the Plant Protection Products Regulations 2011 and the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012), or by encouraging participation in amnesty initiatives, such as the Home Office’s pesticide amnesty, which have already been run very successfully.

 It is difficult to see what more the Government could do that could make it any worse for someone caught using or possessing carbofuran or other similar pesticides.

Recommended measure: Given the scale of ongoing persecution of birds of prey, the current law appears to carry insufficient deterrent weight. We recommend that the Government evaluates the effect of the introduction of an offence of vicarious liability in relation to raptor persecution in Scotland and considers introducing a similar offence in England and Wales in that light. We expect the Government to report to us, or otherwise publish, the results of that review within the next 12 months.

Government’s response: There is already strong legal protection afforded to birds of prey through the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 where it is an offence to intentionally kill or injure any wild bird; take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built; or take or destroy an egg of any wild bird.

Some birds are further protected by their listing in Schedule 1 to the Act. It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb them while they are building a nest, or are on, in, or near a nest containing eggs or their young. Native raptors are listed in the Schedule and so are afforded this additional protection.

The Scottish Government introduced the concept of vicarious liability for certain offences by an employee or agent through the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Scotland) 2011 which inserted a new section 18A into the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as it applies in Scotland). This provision came into force in January 2012 but it is early days, and as yet there have not been any convictions under the new provisions. While there are no plans to introduce similar vicarious liability offences in England, we will be looking closely at how the new offences in Scotland work in practice and once prosecutions begin to be brought forward it will be possible to start to assess the impact that the introduction of this legislation has made. It is important that such measures are able to deliver a real improvement in the enforcement of wildlife offences if they are to be considered in the shaping of our future wildlife crime policy in England and as yet it is not possible to assess the effect of these measures.

We are happy to review this as soon as suitable statistics are available.

To read all of the Government’s responses, read the report here.


Analysis of the SGA’s Deeside eagle report

Last month the SGA released a report into their ‘investigation’ into the death of the Deeside golden eagle (see here to read their report).

At the time we said we would comment on their report once we’d received responses to some pending Freedom of Information requests. We’re now in a position to comment.

So, the motivation for the SGA’s ‘investigation’ into the circumstances of this eagle’s death was because of what they perceived as “irregularities” in the media reports put out by the RSPB. Let’s have a look at those ‘irregularities’ in turn.

May2012 GE tayside grampianThe SGA don’t believe that the eagle was caught in an illegally-set trap because during their discussions with the estate’s staff, it was claimed they only ever use Mark 4 Fenn traps as opposed to Mark 6 Fenn traps (and of course statements made by those involved with grouse moor management should always be believed). The SGA say the Mark 4 Fenn trap is too weak to smash the legs of a golden eagle and it would be impossible for an eagle to get both feet caught inside the trap at the same time. However, if you read the RSPB’s original media statement about this incident (released 24th September 2012 – here) nowhere do they mention a Fenn trap. All they mention is a “spring type trap”, which covers a wide array of different traps, both legal and illegal, that could have caused the injuries sustained by that eagle. Indeed, independent veterinary pathology experts at the Scottish Agricultural College laboratory concluded that the two broken legs sustained by this eagle “could be consistent with an injury caused by a spring type trap”. It’s up to the reader to decide whether the statements made by the estate’s staff and the SGA are more authoritative than those of the independent veterinary pathologist experts at the SAC lab.

The SGA say they visited the precise location of the ‘alleged’ trapping on the estate. They say, “Close by, on one side, was a large multi-catch crow cage. On the other was a 7-8 foot deer fence”. This is an interesting interpretation of what “close by” means. We understand that the deer fence is actually at least 80m away from the location where the bird was static for 15 hours.

The SGA say that the eagle could have broken both its legs by crashing into the fence at a speed that could have been in excess of 50mph (according to their falconer friend). However, the post mortem report clearly states that the eagle’s injuries could be consistent with being caught in a spring type trap, not crashing into a static object at high speed. In the event of crashing into the fence with an estimated speed in excess of 50mph, you might expect injuries to the feet and to the pelvis, as a bare minimum. The post mortem report documented two broken legs as the bird’s only injuries. It’s up to the reader to decide whether the statement of an un-named falconer with an unknown level of ‘expertise’ holds more authority than the statements of the independent veterinary pathologist experts at the SAC lab.

The SGA say that after hitting the fence the eagle “would then have undoubtedly tried to regain flight. This is consistent with the GPS signals which we were shown by the RSPB, which appeared to show variations in the readings. The readings do not show that the bird was “static” for 15 hours”. It seems that the SGA have a limited understanding of how to interpret GPS sat tag signals. The variations in the readings are entirely within the +/- 18m variation quoted by the manufacturer (Microwave Telemetry). In other words, all of the signals received during the 15 hour period in question were within an 18m circle radius. To all intents and purposes the bird was “static”. It’s up to the reader to decide whether the SGA’s interpretation of the satellite data is more authoritative than those of the sat tag manufacturer or the experienced biologists tracking this eagle.

The SGA say, “The RSPB state that the eagle could no longer become airborne. We disagree, having witnessed on several occasions various bird species gaining flight with leg injuries”. But it wasn’t the RSPB who said that the eagle could no longer become airborne, it was the independent veterinary pathologists at the SAC, who said the injuries were so severe “they would prevent the bird from being able to take off”. If anyone has ever watched a golden eagle take off they will know that the bird bends its legs to push off from the ground/perch. Clearly, two broken legs would prevent this from happening. The SGA suggest that the bird could have used the “advantageous slope of the ground” to “get air below its wings”. Actually the area where this bird was static for 15 hours is relatively flat – not on the edge of a high cliff where an injured bird might be able to roll off and find a thermal uplift. So, imagine an eagle with two broken legs on the flat ground – it will be lying on its side, back or front – do you think it could get airborne? It’s up to the reader to decide whether the SGA’s explanation is more plausible than that of the independent veterinary pathologist experts at the SAC lab.

The SGA say that the eagle could have flown 15km in the dark, tried to land but crashed into the tree and fell to its final resting place underneath a tree branch. This crash would, according to them, explain the eagle feathers found between the road lay-by and the dead eagle. Unfortunately the post mortem report doesn’t show any evidence of the eagle having crashed into a dense conifer tree. It’s up to the reader to decide whether the opinion of the SGA is more authoritative than that of the independent veterinary pathologist experts at the SAC lab.

To conclude then, the SGA’s version of what happened to this eagle was that it died as a result of a terrible accident. However, they haven’t been able to provide any convincing evidence and what they propose happened is not supported by the evidence provided by the independent veterinary pathology experts.

The RSPB’s reaction to the SGA’s report included this statement:

This is a rather desperate statement from the SGA, which seemingly does more to reveal their nature as apologists for the worst types of wildlife crime, as they try to defend the indefensible. Indeed, it calls into question their very commitment to the aims and objectives of the partnership for Action Against Wildlife crime Scotland (PAWS)”.

It’s interesting (and obviously totally unrelated) to learn that in a recent meeting with the Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, the SGA were told very clearly that they would not be issued with licences to kill raptors for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing incidents of criminal raptor persecution. According to the police, the case of this particular eagle obviously falls within that category.  

Unfortunately we’ll probably never find out who was responsible for this eagle’s death. Had a full police search, under warrant, taken place then further supporting evidence might have been retrieved. As it stands, it appears that this supposedly ‘on-going investigation’ is as dead as the eagle.

This bird will simply join the long list of other dead or ‘missing’ eagles whose killers have never been brought to justice: 26 eagles in six years at our last count, including ‘Alma’ who was found poisoned in 2009 on, er, this estate.


Prison officer Liddell pleads guilty to egg trading

Keith LiddellAt long last the case against Inverness prison officer Keith Liddell has finished. Today he pleaded guilty to the majority of the charges against him connected to the possession and trading of wild birds’ eggs. He is due to be sentenced on 9 April.

This case has dragged on and on and on, no doubt at considerable expense. For previous blog entries about Liddell’s case see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

Article on today’s guilty pleas in Highland News here

RSPB press release on today’s guilty pleas here

Well done to all involved, especially wildlife fiscal Kate Fleming.


Poisoning stats down, incredulity up

Poisoning 2008-2012The ‘official’ 2012 incidents of confirmed poisoned raptors in Scotland have just been published and show a marked decline in the number of poisoning incidents. According to the latest figures, the number of reported poisoned raptors fell from 16 in 2011 to three in 2012 (one golden eagle and two buzzards).

PAW Scotland press release here

BBC news article here

Are these figures an accurate reflection of what’s going on? We don’t think so. In fact we know they’re not. What the latest poisoning maps fail to show is the number of poisoned baits that were discovered in 2012, the number of other bird species that were poisoned in 2012, and the number of other animals that were poisoned in 2012. And obviously the maps don’t show the poisoning incidents that went undetected/unreported in 2012.

We know for certain that missing from this map is a poisoning incident recorded in the ‘Border’ region in May 2012. According to the published SASA statistics, a poisoned raven and crow were found, along with meat bait and two rabbit baits. This incident is listed as being subject to an ‘on-going police investigation’. Notably, this incident was not reported in the press. Why not? More importantly, why is this incident missing from this map? Why is the focus just on the number of confirmed poisoned raptors? Yes, the illegal poisoning of raptors is of huge concern, but it’s not just raptors that are victim to this barbaric practice. By excluding the discovery of poisoned baits and other types of poisoned species, the wider picture is not being shown. Why is that?

For example, we also know from the SASA stats that a horse and a dog were poisoned with Strychnine in January 2012, a cat was poisoned with Carbofuran and Isofenphos in March 2012, and another cat was poisoned with Carbofuran and Isofenphos in July 2012. None of these incidents appear on this map. There may well be others but the published SASA stats only go up to September 2012 – there’s the customary six-month delay in publishing more recent incidents. Obviously it’s not in the public interest to know where and when lethal poison is being laid out until many months after the event.

On a similar note, has anyone noticed the dot on the map in the Whithorn region (SW Scotland)? Could this possibly be the dead buzzard we blogged about last week (see here)? All we were told was that a man had been arrested following an investigation into a dead buzzard that had been found on the Glasserton Estate. Why didn’t the police press statement mention that the forensic tests confirmed it had been poisoned? Why are we not warned when potentially lethal poisoned baits are being placed out in areas where we might visit with our children and our pets? Why is it so difficult to tell the public what’s actually going on?

On a superficial level then, the latest figures suggest that all those people who’ve been busily poisoning our raptors for the last 100+ years have suddenly stopped. It’s highly implausible, but of course it is possible. Other possibile explanations include (a) the illegal poisoners have just got better at hiding the evidence; (b) they’ve switched to a new type of poison that isn’t currently being screened for in the SASA lab; (c) they’ve switched from poisoning as their method of choice to other methods that are less detectable, such as shooting and trapping.

Fortunately, the authorities are wise to point (c). Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “There has been real progress but we will not be complacent. I am determined to stamp out these practices once and for all and will remain vigilant to any change in approach being taken by those who seek to persecute raptors“. Of course, this statement is almost a carbon copy of statements made by previous Environment Ministers, going back several years, all of whom were ‘determined to stamp out illegal raptor persecution’ and all of whom failed. The current Minister has recently been presented with three perfect opportunities to make a stand: the dead golden eagle found on Deeside with two broken legs which is believed to have been caught in an illegal trap on an Angus grouse moor before being dumped further north away from the estate (we’ll be blogging more about this case in the next few days); the shot and critically injured golden eagle found on a grouse moor in Dumfries and Galloway; and the shot hen harrier that was found dead on another sporting estate in Grampian. It’ll be interesting to see how many more of these incidents he will tolerate before stronger sanctions are applied. Or, more to the point, how many more incidents we will allow him to tolerate.


Hawk and Owl Trust: official statement on their exit from hen harrier dialogue

HOT2Further to our blog earlier this month about the Hawk and Owl Trust becoming the third conservation group to walk out of the Hen Harrier Dialogue process (see here), soon after similar exits by the Northern England Raptor Forum (here) and the RSPB (here), the Hawk and Owl Trust have just issued the following press release to clarify their position:

The Hawk and Owl Trust (HOT) has resigned from Environment Council’s Hen Harrier Dialogue process: President of HOT, wildlife presenter Chris Packham calls for a firm stand against the persecution of birds of prey.

The Hawk and Owl Trust, as the last pro-raptor body participating in the discussion group the Hen Harrier Dialogue process, set up by the Environment Council back in 2006 to bring together those with an interest in the future of the Hen Harrier in England, have decided to leave the Dialogue process.

The Trust cite the lack of any progress or willingness of the grouse moor owners and their representatives to recognise the existence of raptor persecution in any meaningful way; despite solid scientific evidence to prove lethal persecution exists. This type of persecution is illegal under British law yet is widespread to this day. See the case of young female Hen Harrier ‘Bowland Betty’ as an example.

The Hawk and Owl Trust are joining fellow conservation organisations, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) who left the dialogue last summer, and the Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF) who left recently for the same reasons.                       

Nearly seven years of dialogue and numerous meetings have resulted in the appalling fact that, due to persecution, 2012 saw only one breeding pair of Hen Harriers in the whole of England, despite the habitat being available for some 300 breeding pairs.

As President of HOT, wildlife presenter Chris Packham speaks out on behalf of the Trust:

“The Hawk and Owl Trust feels that it is completely unacceptable for any bird of prey to be killed – and should remain absolutely illegal” says Chris. “It is time for all who want to make Britain a better place for birds of prey to take a firm stand.”

Patient dialogue has failed, so HOT will be joining other conservation bodies in looking for other more effective ways to end the wholesale slaughter of our birds of prey and the Hen Harrier in particular. The illegal persecution of birds of prey must stop and those with a commercial interest in grouse moor shooting must be made to put their house in order. 

Hawk and Owl Trust website here

Well done to the Hawk and Owl Trust, as well as to NERF and the RSPB. It’s great to see these organisations taking a stand. If, like them, you want to see grouse moor owners and gamekeepers being held to account for the continuing criminal persecution of hen harriers and other raptors, you too can take a stand. Please sign this e-petition calling for a licensing scheme and get your friends to do the same: SIGN HERE

If you don’t know what happens to hen harriers on grouse moors, take a look at this photograph – this male hen harrier was caught by the legs in an illegally-set spring trap on a Scottish grouse moor. Fortunately he was discovered by raptor workers before the person who set the trap came back to kill him, perhaps by shooting him, or maybe bludgeoning him with a heavy stick, or perhaps just kicking him to death.

HH 2ndtrap6a




New legislation to protect golden eagle, hen harrier & red kite in Scotland

WCA variation schedules Scotland 2013New legislation designed to provide greater legal protection in Scotland to golden eagles, hen harriers and red kites comes into force next Saturday (16th March 2013).

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedules A1 and 1A) (Scotland) Order 2013 was signed by Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse on 4th Feb and laid before the Scottish Parliament on 6th Feb.

These Schedules (A1 and 1A) were added to the Wildlife & Countryside Act via the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, which means that, unfortunately, this legislation only applies in Scotland.

Schedule A1 lists birds species whose nests [that are habitually used] are protected at all times from being taken, damaged, destroyed or otherwise interfered with, including outside of the breeding season. Anyone intentionally or recklessly doing any of the above has committed an offence. To date, only the white-tailed eagle has been listed on Schedule A1.

Schedule 1A lists bird species which are protected from harassment. Species listed on this Schedule are considered to be at risk of harassment that is intended to prevent them from breeding. Anyone  intentionally or recklessly harassing a species listed on this Schedule has committed an offence. To date, only the white-tailed eagle has been listed on Schedule 1A.

Following a government consultation in 2008-2009 (!), three more species will be included as of next Saturday:

Schedule A1 (protected nests and nest sites): white-tailed eagle; golden eagle

Schedule 1A (birds protected from harassment at any time, not just during breeding season): white-tailed sea eagle; golden eagle; hen harrier; red kite

It seems strange that the hen harrier hasn’t been listed on Schedule A1, given the known issues with deliberate nest destruction, as indeed with the goshawk. Nevertheless, it’s good to see greater protection for golden eagles, hen harriers and red kites, even though this is only ‘paper protection’ – the problem with enforcement of the legislation still remains.

A copy of the new legislation can be read here: Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedules A1 and 1A) (Scotland) Order 2013


Leadhills: the end of a terrible era?

Hopetoun Estates - LeadhillsWe’re hearing persistent rumours, from several sources, that Leadhills Sporting Ltd are leaving their shooting tenancy on the Leadhills (Hopetoun) and Buccleuch Estates.

Some say they’ve already gone, others say they’re in the process of leaving, and another says they’ll be gone ‘before the end of the year’.

Have they chosen to leave of their own accord or were they forced out? Is the company disbanding or simply changing name? Are they taking a tenancy somewhere else or just calling it a day? Will Leadhills (Hopetoun) Estate lease the grouse moor to another group? Definitely one to watch.

Let’s hope the rumours are true and we see a change on these moors. It’s long long long overdue.

If you don’t know what’s been going on in this area for the last decade, click on the ‘Leadhills Estate’ tag in the right-hand column.


Arrest after dead buzzard found on Glasserton Estate

common buzzardDumfries and Galloway Constabulary have arrested and bailed a 62 year old man from Whithorn in relation to a number of offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, following an investigation into the death of a buzzard, which was discovered on the Glasserton Estate, Whithorn, in December 2012. The case has been the subject of a detailed police investigation which included a forensic examination of the dead bird.

We don’t have any further details at the moment. Thanks to the journalist at Express newspapers for passing this info on to us.

If you think gamekeepers should be held to account under a licensing scheme, please sign this e-petition: HERE


Environment Minister answers parliamentary questions on mountain hare snaring

ChristineGrahameMSPBack in early February, following the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the Lochindorb hare snare trial, MSP Christine Grahame posed some parliamentary questions to clarify the legal position regarding the snaring of mountain hares (see here).

Environment Paul Wheelhouse has now answered those questions:

Question S4W-12782: Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/01/2013

To ask the Scottish Government how many applications for species licences to use snares to capture mountain hares have been made since 2006; how many have been granted, and for what reasons licences were not granted.

Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (25/02/2013):

Four applications for a licence to snare mountain hares were received between 2006 and June 2011 by the Scottish Government, as the appropriate licensing authority at that time. Two were granted and two were refused.

The applications that were refused did not offer sufficient detail or historical information on populations to allow the Scottish Government to satisfy itself that this proposal would not affect the favourable conservation status of mountain hares and two of the licences were therefore refused.

Following the introduction of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act 2011, the licensing function was transferred to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in July 2011. SNH has received one application for the snaring of mountain hares, which was granted.

Question S4W-12781: Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/01/2013

To ask the Scottish Government what the legal basis is for the licensing regime operated by Scottish Natural Heritage regarding the use of snares to capture mountain hares.

Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (25/02/2013):

Mountain hares are listed on Schedule 3 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) considers that snares are non-selective traps and a licence is therefore required under Regulation 44 of the above Regulations.

SNH is, however, aware of the recent case at Inverness Sheriff Court concerning the snaring of mountain hares. SNH will be reviewing its position in light of this case before the end of the close season on 31 July 2013.

Question S4W-12780: Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/01/2013

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that it complies with the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats regarding the (a) use of non-selective traps to capture protected species and (b) the reporting requirements under article 9.2.

Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (25/02/2013):

The requirements of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats as regards the use of non-selective traps to capture protected species are implemented in Scotland through the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994. Schedule 3 of these Regulations lists species which may not be taken by specified means including traps which are non-selective according to their principle or their conditions of use, or any method which is indiscriminate and capable of causing its local disappearance or serious disturbance to a population. However, the Regulations allow licences to be granted under certain circumstances to permit the taking of these protected species by these non-selective methods, for example preventing serious damage to growing timber is a commonly used reason.

In order to comply with Article 9.2 of the convention, UK licensing authorities report biennially to the European Commission on the granting of all such licences.

mhare contributedIt’s interesting that SNH will be ‘reviewing its position’ about its licensing regime in light of the Lochindorb verdict. As far as we could tell, the Lochindorb ‘not guilty’ verdict was based on the specific type of snare used at that time (sometimes called a ‘w’ snare, sometimes called an ‘m’ snare, depending on who you’re talking to). That snare was legal in 2009 (at the time the alleged offences took place). During the trial the defence successfully argued that that particular type of snare had never knowingly caught any non-target species. Unfortunately the prosecution was unable to provide any evidence to the contrary. However, that snare-type has since been banned, because under the Snares Scotland Order (2010) it is no longer legal to use a snare in a way that an animal could become partially or wholly suspended.

So, accordingly, as SNH considers the legal snares currently in use as ‘non-selective’ (i.e. they could catch non-target species), surely they won’t be reviewing their licensing policy in favour of allowing hare snaring? We’ll have to wait and see.

We’ll be blogging a bit more about snaring in general, especially as the new snaring legislation comes into force at the end of this month. There’s quite an amusing lead article on the new snaring regs in the latest Modern Gamekeeper rag, with a contribution from everyone’s favourite policy advisor, Bert Burnett of the SGA. More of that later…


Universal acclaim for winners of 2013 Pinocchio Award

The Modern Poisoners’ Society walked off with the top prize at last night’s annual Pinocchio Awards, held at a glittering ceremony on a hillside in an Angus glen.

The judging panel, exclusively made up this year by members of the Modern Poisoner Employers’ Society, said the decision was unanimous, and universal.

A spokesman for the panel, millionaire Sir Gideon Marmaduke Sinclair-Clementine said: “We are delighted to recognise the winners’ capability to fabricate stories, often in the face of what might seem to be blindingly obvious truths. The fact that we employ these truth-distorters had no bearing whatsoever on our decision. They are universally the best liars this world has ever seen, and that’s no word of a lie”.

A spokesman for the Modern Poisoners’ Society, Carbofuran Campbell said: “It’s great to get such universal recognition. We’ve made up shit for years and it’s gratifying that it’s finally been noticed. Thanks very much”.

A spokesman for the Royal Bird Protection Society said: “For fuck’s sake. They told us they would acknowledge us in their acceptance speech. The fact they didn’t just shows what untrustworthy lying bastards they are. Taxi!”

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