Newlands Estate, where buzzard bludgeoned & stamped to death, is member of SLE & WES

2nd June 2015 CopyWell, well, well.

Following the sentencing today of Newlands Estate gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick for bludgeoning a buzzard with rocks and then repeatedly stamping on it (see here), we wondered whether the Newlands Estate was a member of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE).

Actually, we wondered this back in early August when Dick was convicted (see here), but SLE refused to answer at that time. It’s now clear why.

It turns out that the Newlands Estate is indeed a member of SLE. And not only that, it’s also an accredited member of SLE’s ‘Wildlife Estates Scotland’ (WES) initiative. You know the one, the much-lauded (by the game-shooting lobby) initiative ‘that aims to promote the best game and wildlife management practices, build recognition and raise standards through the introduction of an objective accreditation system’ (see here).


SLE has issued a short statement this evening, as follows:

A spokesman for Scottish Land and Estates said: “Scottish Land & Estates has a clear and long -established policy of condemning all forms of wildlife crime. Those who engage in such activity should feel the full force of the law. Newlands Estate is a member of Scottish Land & Estates but that membership has been suspended voluntarily pending further inquiries and ongoing legal proceedings“.

It’s interesting that the estate’s membership has been suspended ‘voluntarily’ and only after the Estate’s gamekeeper had been sentenced. Why was the suspension ‘voluntary’? And why wasn’t suspension invoked in June 2014 when gamekeeper Dick made his first court appearance to answer the charges? And if not then, why wasn’t it invoked last month when Dick was convicted? Why wait until now? Nothing to do with pressure from blogs like this, surely?

WILDLIFE ESTATES SCOTLAND LOGOIt’s also interesting that SLE don’t mention the Newlands Estate’s membership of the Wildlife Estates Scotland initiative in their press statement. Not a word. That news has been gleaned from ITV (see here) and reads as follows:

Conditions of membership of Wildlife Estates Scotland include the requirements to maintain best practice standards of animal welfare and comply with all legal requirements and relevant Scottish codes of practice.

Wildlife Estates Scotland’s position is that it will suspend membership if it is notified of a prosecution or of a breach of relevant legislation.

The case of William Dick has been discussed with Newlands Estate, whose membership and accreditation under WES has been voluntarily suspended and will remain so until after further enquiries and any other legal proceedings have concluded.”


8 Responses to “Newlands Estate, where buzzard bludgeoned & stamped to death, is member of SLE & WES”

  1. 1 Stephen Wilkie
    September 2, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    He’s not in the SGA, if you still ain’t been told the truth about that yet

  2. September 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    “Voluntarily”!?..these people never apologise..you should all have learned that by now….its always someone else’s fault….just like petty criminals.

  3. 4 Bimbliing
    September 2, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Yep, the perils of a (self) accreditation scheme (for its members).

    Choose your description of WES…

    Dead man walking, Dead in the water, Busted flush, Lame duck?

    I was disinclined to have much faith in it to begin with, and this outcome was rather depressingly all too obvious at the start.

    Proper law enforcement and deterrent sentencing would be a good start.

  4. 5 Marco McGinty
    September 2, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    The following statement is taken from SLE’s Wildlife Estates website;

    “The WES Initiative was launched on 23 November 2010 by the then Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham and so far over 250 land and estate based businesses have signed up. Developed by Scottish Land & Estates with advice from Scottish Natural Heritage, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Cairngorms National Park Authority, it is hoped many more will join up in the next few years to strengthen WES.”

    Perhaps in the interests of transparency, SLE will publish a list of all of those estates and businesses that have signed up to scheme, and those that have been admitted or gained their accreditation, but I suppose there is a greater chance that pitch and toss will be the highest profile sport in the next Olympic Games.

    Anyway, the estate should have been thrown out immediately by SLE, but we have another example where criminal activity is being tolerated by the shooting industry. Furthermore, it not only looks as though these shooting estates are perfectly happy to ignore the laws of the land, but they are also ignoring the “great” advice provided by SNH and the GWCT. The GWCT being linked to another criminal. Who would have thought?

    How long before a pro-shooter somehow manages to turn this round, and start spouting anti-RSPB guff?

  5. September 2, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    The SLE, like the SGA, don’t take the word of their partners of wildlife crime even if it is the word of the police as tested by the fiscal. A charge by the police should be enough proof of sub-standard behaviour.

    So if they don’t respect the police (and the fiscals) why should we expect them to show respect to their other “partners”. PAWS is a sham, stop procrastinating and JUST ENFORCE THE LAW.

  6. 7 steve macsweeney
    September 4, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    my email to the SLE

    Given your uncompromising condemnation of wildlife crime, and given the conviction of a member of this estates staff for a wildlife crime you will presumably strike this estate from your membership as a clear example of your disgust?

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