We often hear (from the shooting industry) about how well qualified young gamekeepers are these days and how these young men & women are so much better informed than their predecessors. Two years ago there was a parliamentary motion put forward to recognise the need for ‘well-trained young gamekeepers’ and the value of responsible gamekeeping to Scotland’s economy and biodiversity (see here), and this year, the SGA’s Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award was presented by none other than the Environment Minister (see here).
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg has hailed the Scottish colleges involved (see here), and apparently all graduates must pass key tests in various areas and have an understanding of conservation.
Sounds good, right?
One of the colleges offering qualifications in gamekeeping is Borders College. They have a webpage headed: ‘Educating the 21st Century Gamekeeper’ (see here).
Imagine our surprise, then, when we were sent the following image, captured from Facebook two days ago:
In case you can’t read it, here is the comment written by Garry Dickson about protected native goshawks:
“Aye, it’s a pity that here in Scotland they predate our native reds as well. SNH should extract the digit and allow keepers to control raptors as well as badgers. Our reds are hanging on by the skin of their teeth“.
Who’s Garry Dickson? He’s a lecturer on the gamekeeping course at Borders College.
Is this the sort of ill-informed, unsubstantiated nonsense he’s teaching to young gamekeeping students at Borders College? Mind you, if they don’t hear it from their lecturer they’ll probably hear it from the SGA – Alex Hogg shared his ignorance on goshawks a couple of years ago – see here.
It’s no surprise that the goshawk is listed as a wildlife crime priority species (because of the extent of persecution against it) if armies of young gamekeeping graduates are being let loose in the countryside after being taught such moronic 19th Century prejudice.