Sea Eagle poll results: 92% against ‘control measures’

SF WTE pollThe results of the Scottish Farmer’s sea eagle poll have been published.

For anyone who missed it, last week the Scottish Farmer conducted a poll on the following question:

“Should the Scottish sea eagle population be controlled?” 

The result? 92% of respondents believed that the Scottish sea eagle population should not be controlled.

What’s amusing about this, apart from the obvious overwhelming support for sea eagles, is the Editor’s note published directly underneath the poll result. It seems that the editor is prepared to dismiss the poll result because he doesn’t think it’s representative of the farming industry’s views.

Now, had the poll result been different, i.e. ‘92% of respondents did believe that the Scottish sea eagle population should be controlled’, do you think the editor would still be dismissive of the result?

Elsewhere in the latest edition is an article on the NFUS meeting with SNH in Oban last week. It’s not that informative in terms of telling us the outcome other than “there were some constructive suggestions for the future” but it did include some information about the farmers’ specific concerns. These were divided into three parts:

1. “There’s not a lot of money in sheep farming and the weather has been particularly tough over the past years“.

2. “The vulnerable population of ground nesting birds, vulnerable sea birds and ground-dwelling mammals such as hares“.

3. “The expansion in the raptor population, which includes white-tailed sea eagles. With all these combined we have got serious conflicts“.

They also claim that, “In Lorne and Mull we are now looking at a population of 90 sea eagles“. Really? There aren’t even 90 breeding pairs in the whole of Scotland! There are, at a stretch, probably no more than 25 breeding pairs in the whole of Argyll, and being highly territorial they will be foraging on their ‘own patch’, vigorously defending their resource from neighbouring pairs and opportunistic transient juveniles. To imply that 90 sea eagles are descending on sheep farms in this area is just absurd.

As we pointed out in our previous blog on this subject (here), it is well recognised, through peer-reviewed science, that some eagles do eat some live lambs (although with minimal impact) but where this does occur then it is fair that the farmer receives compensation. What isn’t acceptable is grossly exaggerated claims of marauding eagles wiping out sheep flocks, ground-nesting birds, sea birds, hares and small children.

It seems that no matter how much evidence is put to them, it’s simply not enough to suppress an inherent prejudice against anything with talons and a hooked beak.


14 Responses to “Sea Eagle poll results: 92% against ‘control measures’”

  1. 1 crypticmirror
    January 26, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Editors Note: Oops we got the wrong result, quick everyone whistle innocently and never mention it again.

  2. 2 Chris Roberts
    January 26, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I was one of the non farmers (although I come from farming stock) who contributed to that excellent result.

    How dare these farmers, killing estates and gamekeepers tell the rest of the population what should and should not be allowed to live in our country.

    Off subject, I recently I saw a distressing front page of the Angus courier showing dead domestic cats (they had been snared) dumped callously in a stink pit. It really is time for these dinosaurs of the countryside to be bought to justice.

  3. January 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

    ‘Market Intelligence’?
    Wonder what that means in real English.

  4. 4 jason fisher
    January 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    maybe the hare population would do better if farmers stopped shooting them and trapping them in snares?

  5. 5 Judi Mahon
    January 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Scotland would die without the millions of pounds wildlife brings in via tourism

    • 6 Bushshrike
      January 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      “..the vast majority of responses…have come from outwith the farming community.”

      That’ll be the farmers’ customers then!

  6. 7 P McHugh
    January 27, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Good point Bushshirke, yep where would the Famers be without these ignorant Townies who buy there products skint i presume.

  7. 8 John Miles
    January 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I think it is time that the public are told how much of our money goes to the farmer every year. They in reply say that food prices would rise but we import 80% of our food any way. Tenants face rises from their land owner mainly due to more aid from us. So our money misses the farmer and goes straight to the owner. As the whole process rises from a strong conservative master may be this is where it has to change for the benefit of wildlife and the rest together.

  8. 9 Circus maxima
    January 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Really powerful statistic: Scottish Farmer poll, 92% vote against sea-eagle control”. The minister should be told!

  9. 10 Circus maxima
    January 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Actually it really shows how dim these folk are….the real gripe is that payments have ended and they want them back. So why are they not using this poll as an argument to show that the public want the sea eagles to thrive?

  10. 11 Chris Roberts
    January 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    This item was featured on the BBC1 Scotland news lunchtime, will possibly be repeated this evening.

  11. 12 Cigfran
    January 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Its the 8% who voted for controlling them, I’d be worried about. They may be the ones who would cause problems and 8% is quite a few in reality!

  12. January 29, 2014 at 7:14 am

    The editor isn’t a Tory by any chance? They’re good at ignoring unfavourable environmental opinion voiced by hundreds of thousands of people, in favour of something that rewards the few at the expense of the planet. #votethemout

  13. January 31, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I run a falconry experience centre in Leicestershire and know from the comments of visitors that the sea eagle itself is attracting visitors to Scotland. I regularly get comments about their trip or planned trip and how excited they are about the eagles. An astute farmer would be selling lamb chops under the brand of “Eagle didn’t get me” and making the most of the benefits that eagle tourism brings (bit tongue in cheek but they should be looking at the benefits too).

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