Ross-shire Massacre: local farmers ‘have nothing to hide’

A farmer whose properties have been raided by police as part of the investigation into the Ross-shire Massacre has given an exclusive interview to the BBC (see here).

Ewan Macdonald, on whose land several of the poisoned birds were found, is claiming that he and the local farming community have nothing to hide. The report states that the police have not found anything to link Mr Macdonald to the crimes.


Mr Macdonald runs his farms in partnership with his brother, Shaun. In 2007, Shaun Macdonald was runner-up in the NFU Scotland Farming & Conservation Award, for ‘superb conservation efforts’, sponsored by the RSPB (see here).

Mr Macdonald is calling for an action group comprising landowners, police and RSPB, ‘to investigate the killings’. He suggests that there could be an innocent explanation for the deaths, such as a virus, or somebody feeding meat to the birds of prey which they do not realise has been contaminated.

Hmm. Interestingly, a number of prominent people from within the game-shooting industry have been making almost identical claims on social media in recent days.

Although the police have not yet publicly named the poison involved, it’s not that difficult to make an educated guess as to its identity, given the speed with which these birds died. An article in the Guardian last week (here) reported that a combination of poisons had been used, and also referred to “baits”. That pretty much rules out a ‘virus’ and unintentional feeding of accidentally contaminated meat then, eh?

Meanwhile, in another region of La-La Land, there are more denials about the extent of raptor persecution in Scotland. A row has broken out following Duncan Orr-Ewing’s (RSPB Scotland) comments in Holyrood magazine about persecution levels being comparable to those of the Victorian era (see earlier blog on this here).

McAdam 1In a BBC News article (here), Doug McAdam, CEO of the landowners’ organisation Scottish Land & Estates seems to have taken on the role of the headmaster: “For Mr Orr Ewing to suggest that wildlife crime is returning to Victorian levels is both irresponsible and untrue. He ought to know better“.

Then in a quite astonishing piece of spin, he goes on to say: “Official statistics in recent years have seen, overall, a downward trend in raptor persecution – even at some points demonstrating record low levels of poisoning incidents“.

Conveniently, by using the words ‘official statistics’ and ‘overall’, he has neatly side-stepped the fact that poisoning incidents doubled in 2013, and had the ‘official statistics’ included the discovery of poisoned baits, then the 36 pre-prepared Carbofuran baits found hidden on Leadhills Estate last year would have pushed the ‘official’ figure somewhat higher.

There’s also some waffle from Adam Smith of the GWCT (Scotland), who claims that “for a variety of reasons hen harriers may not be distributed right across the habitats which are suitable for them [i.e. grouse moors], but their national recovery is clear“.

What Mr Smith conveniently ‘forgot’ to mention was that the government’s own commissioned report on hen harrier conservation (published in 2011) demonstrated unequivocally that illegal persecution was the main reason this species isn’t present on large swathes of suitable habitat (i.e. grouse moors), and oh, the results from the latest national survey (conducted in 2010) show a 20% population decline (in Scotland) from the previous survey in 2004 (see here).

And finally, there’s a quote from Des Thompson of SNH. Surely as a member of the Scottish Government’s statutory conservation agency he’d be wanting to make sure that everyone knows that the damning, copious evidence was indisputable, right? Ah…..(we can’t be bothered to type it out – read the BBC article  if you’re interested in his opinion).

For any of you who’ve had a gut-full of the on-going persecution of our raptors, the game-shooting industry’s on-going denial of any involvement, and the authorities’ on-going and almost complete failure to address the situation, you might be interested in this post on Mark Avery’s blog. Hope to see many of you on or around 12th August 2014.


35 Responses to “Ross-shire Massacre: local farmers ‘have nothing to hide’”

  1. April 18, 2014 at 7:06 am

    He and the local farmers??? How the hell would he know if other farmers were secretly or not so secretly poisoning kites? He cannot speak for others… only for himself.. This group denial smells of rotten lies to me… Local farmers would have to know of any poison used on their land to protect their livestock.. It’s odd there is no outrage from farmers worried about their own livestock being poisoned.. It’s odd they’re not outraged at outsiders using poison on their land… Farmers are the only people who could have poisoned these kites simply because outsiders would need specialist knowledge of the movement of farm stock around these properties.. The only people who could poison these kites without endangering farm animals is the farmers themselves..

    [Ed: thanks for your comment, Paul. We should point out that farmers are not the only ones who could have poisoned these birds. Others use their land for all sorts of activities….]

  2. 2 Circus maxima
    April 18, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I have to correct you.
    You refer to SNH as the Scottish Governments Statutory conservation agency. This is a role that was removed when Andrew Thin became the chair. It is now the Scottish Governments Wildlife Management and development enabling agency. Its function is now to help people get around wildlife protection.

    Hopefully the new chair will realise the useless embarrassment that this organisation has become and try and give us the service that we expect.

  3. 3 Jimmy
    April 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I’ve a feeling local landowners know more than they are letting on given the extent of this incident. Hard to beleive given the number of birds that died in such a small area that no body saw anything suspicious or untoward. Most farmers I know have a 6th sense when it comes to spotting strangers and/or dodgy activity on their property

  4. 4 Dave Dick
    April 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    What interests me in this case is that it has to be a one-off, first time poisoning – if anyone was doing this on a regular basis it would have been picked up before – through the finding of dead kites [this is one of the only good results of the kite reintroduction’s difficulties, it has shown up poisoning in areas where it must have been going on for decades]…..So the investigators will be looking for either a newcomer in the area, keeper or shepherd…or for some recent change in circumstance, such as high level of lamb deaths this Spring….

  5. April 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    McAdam is deliberately misquoting Orr Ewing.
    Orr Ewing didn’t say ‘wildlife crime is returning to Victorian levels’
    he said
    ‘on grouse moors………persecution at similar levels to the Victorian period’
    Wildlife crime as a whole is not the same as persecution on grouse moors.
    Therefore McAdam’s following statements are straw man arguments.

  6. April 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Shocking that Prof Des Thompson on the BBC page should ignore government reports that support Orr Ewings claim. Yet Thompson pretends there is no evidence. He should resign.

  7. 7 Marco McGinty
    April 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    An interesting comment on Mark Avery’s blog, suggesting the possible cause of low (non-existent!) Hen Harrier breeding success on English grouse moors – Merlins could be eating all the Hen Harrier chicks!

    I honestly wonder how many more nonsensical theories will be offered by the blinkered game-shooters of this land. How long before the shooting lobby suggest that toxins in Meadow Pipit faecal matter should be considered as the main cause of declining Hen Harrier populations?

  8. 8 raptor1
    April 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    A poisoned bird was found in the Dingwall area last year on farmland. The police have failed to find those responsible and SNH were simply not interested. Shame on them. Can anybody tell me what they do to justify thir existence?

  9. 10 Anthony
    April 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Unanswered questions:
    1. No other birds reported poisoned. There are thousands of crows and seagulls in the same area. Red Kites are timid feeders. If poisoned bait was being thrown out there would be crows first, then the braver buzzards and finally the more timid kites. There are many buzzards in that area.
    2. Why are they not releasing the name of the poison? They do so quick enough in other instances.
    3. Why was it over two weeks before farms were searched?
    4. Why would the farmers who have their own dogs and let neighbours walk their dogs on their land have poison lying around in fields?
    5. Why do the local vets not know what poison it is so they could treat any pets if they picked it up?
    6. The high number of Kites suggests that something on the feeding station where they frequent was deliberately poisoned OR some contaminated meat was put there inadvertently. Has the meat source been checked as clean?
    Too many questions unanswered.

    • 11 Marco McGinty
      April 21, 2014 at 1:41 am

      1. No other birds reported poisoned does not necessarily equate to no other birds poisoned, but perhaps the placement of baits has precluded gulls from being affected. Also, considering that corvids can be legally killed, it is possible that the odd dead corvid lying around would not alert a member of the public to criminal activity, as it would with a dead Buzzard or Red Kite.
      For the time being, I won’t make further comment on the “thousands of crows and gulls in the same area” hyperbole.
      2. Who knows? As a result of the active police investigation?
      3. Who knows? Ask Police Scotland as to why there was such a delay.
      4. Those that lay illegal poisoned baits don’t usually advertise the fact, and don’t care if others are affected. If a person (or persons) laid out poisoned baits, then they would know which areas to avoid.
      5. Perhaps the local vets have been alerted to which poison has been used, and are under strict instruction not to disseminate this information at present. Do you know for a fact that information on the used poison has been withheld from the veterinary practices in the area?
      6. The high number of kites killed by this atrocity does not suggest that the problem lies with the feeding station. How did you manage to work that one out? The high number of kites killed in this incident does suggest that the local kite population could be greater than the local buzzard population, and proves that kites could have a healthy population in the north of Scotland if left unmolested and free from persecution.
      However, I must respond further to your nonsensical theory around accidentally contaminated meat. Do you honestly expect people to believe that the kites ingested this meat at the feeding station, then they all flew towards this one relatively small area around Conon Bridge to die? To my knowledge, no dead kites, buzzards or other species have been discovered at or near the feeding station, and likewise with other neighbouring localities. Why would dying Red Kites all congregate in this one area?
      Further to this unhelpful and idiotic attempt to apportion blame on a mystery virus or accidentally contaminated meat, I will make it easy for you and alert you to paragraph 6 of this very post (that’s the fourth paragraph below the big picture of a dead Red Kite).

      So there you have it. Some questions easily answered if you apply some common sense, others left unanswered until the police investigation is complete and a press release is issued. Why not just wait for the full picture to be revealed?

      I also take note of your claim that Red Kites are timid feeders. From gamekeeping and farming sources, I was always led to believe that Red Kites were marauding, winged menaces that kill most other birds and mammals, and will stop at nothing until all other life has been decimated. I’ve also been told that they will attempt to snatch pet dogs and even small children. Is that not the case? Have I been lied to?

      • 12 Anthony
        April 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

        Thank you for your reply. I recently moved from this area after living there for many years and am still in contact with people there. My background is farming and gamekeeping. There is a local joke about the name the Black Isle attributed to the thousands of crows on the fields. It is an area where there is a lot of arable land near the Cromarty Firth – and there are thousands of seagulls too. So it would not be an ‘odd corvid’. There are also many buzzards.

        Having fed Kites and other raptors in the winter I know the usual order of feeding. Crows, buzzards then the Kites.
        The point about bait lying around is that is would indiscriminately kill anything that ate it. Other birds as mentioned, foxes, pets…it would not target just Kites.
        As I know the area and local people these are not being found. The locals are asking where are the other bodies.

        Where do you think poisoned bait could be placed where only Kites will feed?

        You ask about the vets – I have been reliably informed they asked what the poison was and were not told.

        I am not the only one who thinks the feeding station may well be the source of the problem. A place where Kites can feed undisturbed and not mobbed by other birds.

        The location where the birds have been found are in area they fly to and from so perfectly possible they would die in that relatively small area.

        I have never heard of Kites snatching dogs and small children – I suggest someone is having a laugh at your expense. When sheep farmers are saying Kites are only looking for the bits of afterbirth and pose no threat to the lambs I think the dog and child suggestion is ridiculous. They tend to scavenge more and prefer a carcass once it has been opened up by crows or buzzards – that is from an expert in the field, not hearsay!

        If there is a small chance it is contaminated meat that should be thoroughly investigated to rule it out.
        We know from human food scandals that where there is money to be made rules will be broken.

        The reporting of this case is odd compared to other instances of poisoning and all possible factors should be looked at. Sites like this are useful for people to discuss and debate what could have happened.

        I find your comments particularly rude and unnecessary. I want complete transparency and if it is a deliberate act those responsible need the book thrown at them.

        • 13 Marco McGinty
          April 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm

          If you have read any of the posts on this particular case, you would realise that it is not only kites that have been killed – a number of buzzards (six at present) have been included in the total. So other birds have been killed (targeted?). And let’s say the baits were placed on the tops of fenceposts. That would drastically reduce the potential for gulls to ingest said baits, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, a few dead corvids would not necessarily set alarm bells ringing with your average member of the public. Can you state as an absolute fact that no other birds or mammals have been found poisoned in this case?

          Regarding the vets, have you received information from the vets that have not received any information on the used poison(s)? Or have you received this information via a third party, and therefore hearsay?

          And back to the feeding station conspiracy. Why has there not been a large number of dead kites and buzzards found to the east of the feeding station, to the west of the feeding station, or to the north of the feeding station? Don’t you think it slightly odd that all these birds died in one small area? Or are you suggesting that after using the Tollie feeding station, every single Red Kite follows a post-feeding regime and congregates in this one area? Do you expect people to believe that no kites whatsoever will exit the feeding station in other directions and gather in other areas? I’m quite happy in my opinion that these species have, for one reason or another, been deliberately targeted.

          No, I’ve never heard of kites snatching dogs and children either, and it’s not someone “having a laugh at my expense”, but it is a worrying belief amongst many farmers and land workers, as is the belief that they are a marauding menace, capable of wiping out wildlife (see here https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/red-kites-accused-of-annihilating-other-birds/ for an example).

          Your statement “We know from human food scandals that where there is money to be made rules will be broken.” can easily be applied to driven grouse moors, pheasant rearing areas, or as you have suggested elsewhere, windfarms. We can safely rule out grouse moors in this case, leaving the remaining two as possible reasons, however there may be another explanation for the deaths, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

          What do you find odd about the reporting of the case?

          • 14 Anthony
            April 22, 2014 at 11:07 am

            I know exactly how many birds have been reported thank you and I know there is a strange lack of other victims. I also know it would be hard to target such a large number of Kites and I know where birds have been found. I think we should agree to have differing opinions. I am very comfortable with mine and having discussed the situation with people with first hand knowledge ( and more experienced than yourself) I know I am not alone. I am not prepared to continue as it just promotes an aggressive response from you that I find unnecessary. I will not reveal sources of information and betray confidences. I just hope the whole truth is finally revealed.

            • 15 Marco McGinty
              April 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm

              Eh? What aggression? You have came onto this site offering your opinion and theories as to what may have happened. I do not agree with your theories and have attempted to debunk them, and as a result I have asked a series of questions in relation to your beliefs, questions it would seem you are unwilling or unable to answer.

              As Dave Dick (a vastly experienced investigator of such crimes) has already pointed out to you, the occurrence of raptor-only finds is quite common, so I am quite happy to accept his word on this matter. You appear to have difficulty in accepting this. Why is that?

              You have also stated that it would be hard to target such a large number of kites. It’s not an unprecedented situation, so if the killers were determined enough, then they would continue in their killing spree, especially if they thought they would get away with it. But in relation to the perceived difficulty in killing such a large number of kites, do you speak from experience?

              It is most probable that you are not alone in your way of thinking, but this does not come as a surprise. Gamekeepers, gamekeeping organisations and the shooting lobby have all played down the problem of raptor persecution for decades now, and at times their denial of the illegal practice is a disgrace.

              If you have “discussed the situation with people with first hand knowledge”, and you and your contacts remain convinced that your theories stand up to scrutiny and could tie up this investigation, then surely you should be having prolonged discussions with the investigating officers? I’m sure Police Scotland would be very grateful for any information, and if your information led to a conviction, you and your contacts could stand to receive in excess of £26000. If it was me, and I fully believed in my theory, I would be hammering on the door of the nearest police station, and not wasting time on anything else.

              Finally, I did not ask that you “reveal sources of information and betray confidences”. Where that came from, I have absolutely no idea.

              • 16 Anthony
                April 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

                They are not ‘my theories’ but are being widely discussed on social networking, in the local community and even the local press. The investigating officers will be completely aware of what is being said and that is good to ensure complete transparency. I only wished to convey what is already being said and thought it would contribute to an interesting debate with other angles looked at and input from others. I am sorry I did. I stand by the questions that are being asked and look forward to the result of the investigations and hope we are given a full account of what happened. We are all entitled to our opinion and I share the opinion, in this case, of many others. If the theories that are being put forward are wrong and are proved without doubt to be so then that will be that. It doesn’t make it wrong to have asked the questions in the first place. I find your method of ‘debate’ unpleasant so I will not contribute further.

                • 17 Marco McGinty
                  April 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

                  And has it ever crossed your mind that the guilty party (or parties) manufactured these theories to hinder and delay the investigation? It won’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last, and people can and will fall for such theories. You just have to look at large sectors of the gamekeeping and shooting industry, where individuals blindly believe that raptors are a major problem, and those same individuals deny that persecution occurs.

                  You are correct – You are entitled to an opinion, and you were perfectly within your rights to ask the questions. Likewise, I was entitled to question certain aspects of the theories, so there’s no need to go on the defensive.

                  Perhaps the reason you find my method of debate unpleasant is because it blows holes in your theory (or at least a theory you believe in), resulting in your inability to provide valid answers to my set of questions.

                  • 19 Anthony
                    April 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm

                    No – I find it unpleasant because it is. I am not defensive but would rather debate with someone in an engaging constructive way. I am always happy to do so as I like to think I am completely opened minded and open to all suggestions. Nor am I so naive as to be taken in by others spreading ‘false’ theories. There is merit in what I (and others) put forward and I am yet to be convinced differently – you certainly have not ‘blown holes’ in anything put forward at all whatever you may think. Hardly a pleasant way of debating! Others opinions also have merit. It is a difficult case and not one that is being reported as others have – that is why people are talking about it more and looking at every angle. That can only be a good thing. I did say I wouldn’t contribute further so apologies for coming back and as I’m sure you want the last word I will now let you have it.

                    • 20 Marco McGinty
                      April 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

                      You do realise that I don’t need your permission to contribute to this site?

                      But anyway, if you are open-minded and open to all suggestions, then why do you have such difficulty in accepting that it would be incredibly unlikely for all of these birds to have flown from the kite feeding station to this one small area simply to drop dead? Why do you find it difficult to accept that kites using the feeding station would depart in various directions to a number of different localities? Why do you find it difficult to accept that large numbers of dead kites and buzzards have not been found in other areas? Why do you find it difficult to accept that a person, or persons, may have deliberately targeted these raptors?

                      So back to your theory (for the purposes of this debate, as it was yourself that originally proposed it on this blog, we will refer to it as your theory) suggesting “that something on the feeding station where they frequent was deliberately poisoned OR some contaminated meat was put there inadvertently.” It is noteworthy for someone with such an open mind to follow this most unlikely proposal, yet you are unwilling to accept more logical ideas. You have claimed that there is a worrying lack of other dead birds or mammals, yet a feeding station is a veritable free-for-all for a number of avian species. Feeding stations for Red Kites, by their design, do not exclude other species, so would you be willing to offer an explanation as to why your theory of contaminated meat at the station has not accounted for any dead kites, buzzards, crows, or any other dead creatures, at the feeding station or in the immediate vicinity of the station? However, the deliberate targeting of one or two species could easily account for a lack of other dead species. Why do you have trouble accepting that?

                      There are also a number of other questions that you have been unable or unwilling to answer, which brings me to your other theory (and this one is your theory) that there is a clear correlation between windfarm and poisoning maps. I countered your theory, pointed out a few glaring errors in your belief, and posed a few questions in relation to your theory, yet you were unable or unwilling to offer any answers in this case as well.

                      But the fact remains, your inability or unwillingness to add to your arguments, has resulted in them being severely weakened or completely debunked.

    • 21 Grouseman
      April 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

      Well said Anthony I also share the same sentiments. There is something very peculiar about this case and how it is being handled and reported.

    • 22 Dave Dick
      April 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Thats a very good series of questions..and could be asked about dozens of wildlife poisonings in the past…particularly with regard to time taken over searches and release info to local vets [or even asking if there have been any pet posonings in the area?]…however, I dont go for the conspiracy theory…I go for the far more usual cock-up theory. Someone trying, illegally of course, to poison a fox at lambing time [usually left to the estate keeper] and then finding all these kites and buzzards dropping out of the sky, showing where the criminal idiot had been at work. Plenty of precedent for that.

      • 23 Anthony
        April 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

        You could be right Dave but the absence of other bodies doesn’t add up at all.

        • 24 Dave Dick
          April 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

          Having investigated dozens of raptor poisonings in my time, I can assure you its quite common to find only birds of prey at a poisoning. Ive also seen cases with only corvids, or only gulls….Marco’s objection to your theory of the kites flying in to die from a feeding station or elsewhere, would be unprecedented..dying poisoned birds either die very quickly close to the bait, or at a short distance when they start to digest…the idea of this number of birds all moving in the same direction to die together is out of the question….Lets wait till the investigation is over and all the facts come out.

          • 25 nirofo
            April 22, 2014 at 6:08 pm

            I’ve watched the birds at the Tollie feeding station quite a few times, they tend to hang around there quite a lot, especially just after feeding time. So, unless this was a very slow acting poison that was used, (which would be most unusual) I would have expected any birds poisoned there to be found quite close by, not several miles away as is the case with this mass poisoning. The majority of the birds would have been setting up for their Spring breeding attempts so would probably not be using the feeding station to the same extent anyway and would be more widely dispersed. With the lambing in full swing when the poisonings started it’s more than likely the birds were feeding on dead lambs and afterbirths as has already been said. This makes it even more unlikely it was the feeding station where the poisonings originated as the birds would have been foraging around much more randomly looking for opportunities to feed on this alternative food source.

            It would be interesting to see a map showing the various locations where these poisoned birds were found once the investigation is over. No doubt someone will have already produced one showing the locations in order to pinpoint what could be the main poisoning point.

            • 26 Marco McGinty
              April 22, 2014 at 6:34 pm

              Come on, nirofo. People closely associated with the killing area have offered opinions on what happened, and they must be believed no matter how dubious their theories appear. What are you thinking of? Allowing ecological facts to cloud your judgement? That is uncalled for and utterly reprehensible!

              • 27 nirofo
                April 22, 2014 at 8:00 pm

                Sorry Marco, I forgot myself for a short while, I was miles away thinking I was living in a world where logic fact and truth presided over clouding the issue or creating alternative realities.

  10. 28 Bonnie highlands
    April 20, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Well said Anthony . Something smelling fishy !!!

  11. 29 Anthony
    April 21, 2014 at 1:20 am

    This area of the Highlands is under siege right now from wind developers.

    The map of Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (Scotland) Scotland’s Birds of Prey poisoning incidents 2009 – 2013 and the most recent Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) wind farm map are chillingly similar.

    This should warrant further investigation NOW!

    • 30 Marco McGinty
      April 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      No, they’re not. You could argue that there are a few windfarm/poisoning coincidences, but the maps are far more representative of illegal activity on driven grouse moors and pheasant rearing/shooting areas.

      If you look at the far north of the Scottish mainland and out to the Orkney Islands, there are quite a lot of approved or installed wind farms, yet no poisoning incidents. It’s a similar situation for the Outer Hebrides and Skye.

      The majority of the Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway wind farms do not correlate with poisoning incidents in these areas, but the poisoning incidents are in close proximity to shooting estates.

      Very few windfarms in the Angus glens, but quite a few poisoning incidents. Indeed, all of the confirmed poisoning incidents in this area appear to be away from any of the planned or approved windfarms.

      Lots of windfarm activity on the Kintyre peninsula, either approved or at the planning stage, yet no poisoning incidents.

      Quite a few windfarms , or windfarm proposals in the Stonehaven/Aberdeen/Peterhead areas, yet no record of poisoning incidents in these areas.

      Could you please explain these anomalies?

  12. 33 Andy Myles
    April 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Duncan Orr-Ewing is wrong. Far from being the same, raptor killings are 100% worse now than they were in Victorian Britain. The Victorians and Edwardians were not acting illegally. Today, raptor persecution is a known, deliberate criminal activity. In my book that makes it much. much worse.

    • 34 nirofo
      April 22, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      You’re right, if only the police and our judicial system saw it in the same light.

    • 35 Dave Dick
      April 22, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      Quite right Andy..and now the poisoners have all these wonderful new techno-poisons to use that they lacked in Victorian times – alphachloralose and Carbofuran being just two of the new favourites…Im sure a good case could be made for things having got worse since the 1970s…the “old” poisons of strychnine and Phosdrin were much more risky for the poisoner…

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