A buzzard that was found badly injured in the Borders in July had been hit by shotgun pellets in its head and wing. Its injuries were so severe the bird had to be euthanised.
The bird was found by a member of the public on 24th July by the side of the road between Heriot and Innerleithen. This is driven grouse moor country and the area has a long history of raptor persecution – if you’re unfamiliar with the region, check out google maps.
The SSPCA is appealing for information.
SSPCA press statement here
BBC News article here
Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod has made the following statement:
“The illegal persecution of birds of prey is always unacceptable, but this case – with the pain and suffering caused to the buzzard – is particularly abhorrent. Anyone with information on this incident should contact the relevant authorities as soon as possible.
“I am resolute in my determination to do all I can to put a stop to crimes such as this, with the Scottish Government working with law enforcement and others through the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime in Scotland (PAWS). I expect all right-minded people involved in the countryside, including with shooting, to support our efforts.
“The Scottish Government has already put in place new and strengthened measures to crack down on wildlife crime, including vicarious liability prosecutions and general licence restrictions, for example. But let me be absolutely clear – I will consider taking further action if necessary and the licencing of shooting businesses in Scotland remains an option.”
How many more times are we going to hear this now seemingly empty threat about ‘taking further action if necessary’? What does ‘if necessary‘ actually mean if it doesn’t mean that this latest incident is worthy of further action? Each time we’re told about another raptor that has been illegally killed we ask the Government when further action will be taken. Each time, we’re fobbed off with this line: “I will consider taking further action if necessary“. In the last few days alone we’ve learned of a shot hen harrier and two shot buzzards. Are none of these crimes worthy of ‘taking further action’?
Don’t know about you but we’d be really interested to find out exactly how Dr McLeod defines ‘if necessary‘. Does she have a target number of raptor killings in mind that will trigger further action? If so, what is that figure? Let’s ask her. Emails to: email@example.com