11
May
16

Raven hysteria grows, aided by BBC

Last month we blogged about calls to add Ravens to the Scottish General Licence, which would allow the indiscriminate killing of this species (see here).

Our blog was tongue-in-cheek, illustrated by a picture of a raven carrying off a polar bear cub, to highlight the ridiculousness of the hysteria. (Illustration by Jackie Morris, from The Ice Bear)

raven carrying polar bear cub

Since then, the frenzy has been ramped up somewhat, culminating in an appallingly biased report on last night’s BBC Reporting Scotland (available to view here, but only until 7pm tonight. Piece starts at 10.10 mins).

In a nutshell, Ravens can currently be killed, on individual licences issued by SNH, where they are considered to pose a threat of ‘serious damage’ to livestock. However, farmers and gamekeepers are saying these individual licences are too restrictive and they want Ravens to be added to the General Licence so they may be killed indiscriminately, in the same way crows are killed. A petition has been launched but so far has only attracted 2,684 signatures, despite being widely publicised by the farming community as well as by the game-shooting community.

In contrast, a petition calling for SNH to maintain the protected status of Ravens in Scotland has reached 28, 453 signatures (see here).

At the heart of the calls from the farming and game-shooting communities is a distinct lack of factual evidence. Where are the post-mortem results of these “hundreds of lambs” that farmers are claiming have been killed by Ravens? Just because they see a Raven (well-known for being quick to exploit scavenging opportunities) pecking at a dead sheep doesn’t mean the sheep has been killed by the Raven.

Other lack of factual evidence (more like an old wives’ tale) about the supposed impact of Ravens on waders was put forward last year by Doug McAdam, CEO of Scottish Land & Estates. This was ably torn to shreds, using scientific data, by Ian Thomson of RSPB Scotland (have a read here).

Last night’s BBC report opened with the line: “In scenes that are more Hitchcock than Countryfile, hundreds of young lambs are being killed by attacks from Ravens”. The report didn’t improve, with phrases like “Wreaking havoc”, “Carnage”, “Images of the slaughtered lambs are too gory to show you”, “Hundreds of losses”, “Raven numbers have exploded over the past year”, and “Birds of darkness”.

Birds of darkness?! Come on BBC, how on earth does this resemble objective, impartial broadcasting!

The BBC report included interviews with individuals who were all pro-Raven-killing but there wasn’t one representative from any conservation organisation to challenge the so-called ‘facts’.

Not only did the BBC report exclude any commentary from a conservation organisation, it also excluded information about the counter-petition to maintain the Raven’s protected status, it excluded any discussion of Raven foraging behaviour (i.e. scavenging vs actual predation), it failed to mention that the Scottish Raven population is still recovering from persecution – it’s doing well in some areas but is still absent in other areas and is still subject to illegal persecution, notably from poisoning, it failed to discuss the husbandry practices of sheep farmers in an area with the harshest climate in Britain and how those practices may impact on lamb deaths, and it failed to mention the population status of Ravens and sheep:

The current breeding population for Ravens in Scotland is estimated at 6,000 pairs.

The current population of sheep in Scotland, according to Scottish Government stats, is 6.7 million sheep.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the BBC report was the accompanying footage. There was footage of a few Ravens at the beginning, but then inexplicably it switched to footage of Rooks! And not just Rooks flying around above some sheep, but it included footage of a rookery – a large cluster of nests in a few trees, which would mislead any viewer who can’t differentiate between a Rook and a Raven into thinking that Ravens are so common they’re nesting in colonies next to lambing fields!

There was a brief interview with Robbie Kernahan of SNH who said that Ravens would be considered for inclusion on the General Licence at a forthcoming meeting. We understand that meeting is due to take place on Monday 16th May.

Last year it is understood that SNH issued 120 licences to kill Ravens, resulting in 560 shot birds. There is absolutely no scientific justification whatsoever to add the Raven to the General Licence, which would undoubtedly result in thousands of unregulated deaths, especially when the Raven population is still in recovery.

If you want to sign the petition to send a clear message to SNH that Ravens should NOT be added to the General Licence but should remain a protected species, please sign HERE.

If you want to complain to the BBC about their chronically biased reporting, please email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

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49 Responses to “Raven hysteria grows, aided by BBC”


  1. 1 keen birder
    May 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Ive just signed, to protect them. The answer is,1 put up scarecrows in the lambing field, 2 fire warning shots, 3 feed them in certain places with any mortality lambs or the odd dead sheep, 4, shoot carrion crows and hang some up by their feet, this does work to scare them off, the risk is really only in about 1 month during the lambing time. Like it or lump it, more people want our ravens than want to kill them.

    • 2 Jack Snipe
      May 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Keen birder, surely it’s more important to be realistic? There is absolutely no need for these scaring methods, as the phenomenon of Ravens attacking lambs is an invented construct. And why persecute the poor Carrion Crows? We need to get our own house in order, wise up and realise that Carrion Crows are no more of a problem than are Ravens. Your ideas are merely a distraction from the main issue.

      • 3 Marian
        May 11, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        Totally agree with you, Jack Snipe – why is the response always to kill ?

      • 4 keen birder
        May 11, 2016 at 8:38 pm

        Its alright saying poor carrion crows, we had a ewe that ive already mentioned on here that had one of its eyes taken out by a carrion and its two lambs killed, the ewe luckily survived, and is still with us. I think my suggestions are perfectly alright, if theres a problem then do something, we see such devices often set up on crop fields, and lambs are still a crop, each on reared can be £60 or more. Carrion crows are a very common bird, a few less of them wont be missed. nuff said…

        • 5 JW4926
          May 11, 2016 at 9:14 pm

          Crows do not attack healthy animals. If there’s a problem you treat the source – not the symptom.

          • 6 keen birder
            May 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm

            Our ewe was a healthy animal, it was having a lamb lying down, and struggling to have its 2nd lamb, it was seen, and then left when the helpers came for more help, when they went back only a short time after, they said about 20 minutes, its eye had gone, and both lambs were pecked, and crows were seen. I also took a few photos of the sheep without an eye and the injured lambs, which later died.How would you treat rats running about all over your property, or moles all over the lawns, and fields or liver flukes in the sheep theres really only one way, catch them, and use a medicene for fluke or let the animals suffer, mole soil in hay, which can cause listeria in sheep, rat holes everywhere,peeing and chewing , get real,

            • 7 BSA
              May 11, 2016 at 11:41 pm

              Getting real would involve some cost benefit analysis of corvid control. Anecdotes about isolated incidents which have no impact on the viability of farming don’t justify the impossible effort which would be needed prevent these incidents and they don’t justify allowing cowboys the right to indiscriminate killing of species they don’t happen to like with no plan in terms of corvid populations or commercial outcomes. Much like the squalid and pointless war on foxes there is no practical point to all of this, in spite of the philistine ‘practical man’ posturing you get from the ‘Countryside’. It’s you who needs to ‘get real’.

            • 8 crypticmirror
              May 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm

              I’ve known a lot of farmers over the years, and I’ve never had one admit that they had an unhealthy animal. The amount of perfectly health animals that just drop dead for no reason on farms is, if you go by farmers tales, staggering.

            • 9 Marco McGinty
              May 12, 2016 at 3:16 pm

              Keen birder, as you have mentioned, you have already told this story about your experience, but from what you have stated, it all arose as a result of poor animal husbandry. You told us that the ewe was down, and that your parents were with it at the time, but both of them left the animal to get help.

              Why didn’t one of them stay with the creature?

        • 10 Jack Snipe
          May 12, 2016 at 2:08 am

          Sorry keen birder, but that’s ridiculous. You’re now making exactly the same sort of assumption made by other farmers about Ravens. My studies of Raven behaviour inevitably included Carrion Crows, as they were behaving similarly to the Raven flocks in the same lambing fields. That is, in a wholly benign manner, feeding on afterbirths and taking their turn to feed on any carrion available once the Ravens had had their fill. Just like two species of vultures. I suspect you’ve left out some vital part of the jigsaw puzzle from your story about the ewe and its two dead lambs. Generally, there isn’t any problem with Ravens or Carrion Crows that necessitate scaring devices. As someone who monitors local populations, I’d contest your assertion that Carrion Crows are very common birds. In many areas, including my own, they are becoming significantly scarcer thanks to the new aggressive approach being inflicted by farming and gamekeeper communities. They feel their control under threat, so are doggedly going out and killing as much “vermin” as they can. Hence the increase in Buzzards and Red Kites being illegally shot, and the campaign to include Raven in the General Licence list. Unfortunately I have to communicate with these people on a regular basis and listen to their crap. There comes a point where diplomacy doesn’t work, and there’s no room for compromise.

    • 12 JW4926
      May 11, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      I’ve never had the need to shoot anything – carrion crow or otherwise ………

  2. 13 nirofo
    May 11, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    BBC bias at it’s best, this is what our TV licence money pays for, totally biased unaccountable fictional media reporting by people who obviously don’t have a clue what they’re talking about and care even less about finding the truth. The Biased Broadcasting Corporation should stick to doing repeat documentaries, repeat wildlife films, endless soaps with repeats and ripping us off with overpriced and unwanted licensing fees.

  3. 14 JW4926
    May 11, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I’m surprised Botham hasn’t taken up the cudgel to add fuel to the flames ……… I’ve already protested some time ago on a very biased report with regard to ravens and lamb worrying. My 600 upland ewes never had a raven (or a crow) problem …….. but then I suppose it depends upon how you look at the wildlife around you – and how you look at your livestock. If fallen animals are left, corvids will obviously scavenge ….. that’s their raison d’etre …… Carcasses attract visitors ….. so they’re blamed ……. Animal husbandry needs to be taken into account. It’s easy to blame wildlife for human shortcomings ……

  4. 15 Andrew
    May 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    There is an excellent piece by Jack Snipe giving his study of ravens in a comment from last year. Para 2 onwards but watch for his error “pecking the eyes of dead ewes” should read “live ewes” It debunks most of the current tosh being trotted out.

    https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/gas-gun-bird-scarers-deployed-on-leadhills-estate-grouse-moor/#comment-91229

    My observation on this hysteria is, let’s see some video footage. If it is that common it shouldn’t be difficult to record.

  5. 16 against feudalism
    May 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    6.7 million sheep ? now that is scary, just how much does that mean in subsidy ?

    this would seem to be a set-up

    • 17 keen birder
      May 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      I think the national flock is far greater than that, it used to be around 15 million, but is probably a lot less now. Subsidy in headage payments has gone years ago, doesnt matter now if you have 100 or 1000. Payment is now per hectare of land.

      • May 11, 2016 at 11:56 pm

        Clearly ’nuff said’ was a rhetorical device, because here you are still spouting. You’ve made your point – the same one, several times. I heard a similar story from a farmer who claimed that a Red Kite had killed his lamb. You have a scapegoat handy but no smoking gun.

  6. 19 Jack Snipe
    May 11, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I’m utterly exhausted after a night of attempting to counter this unbelievable frenzy of coordinated attacks on Ravens on social media following the BBC (and STV) reports. It’s almost incredible how so much misinformation can be spread so quickly, and it makes one really despair for the future of democracy in this country. It was bad enough the BBC encouraging the morons and sad people who are delusional about Raven behaviour, but I do believe you are being far too kind to Robbie Kernahan. As an official spokesman, he explicitly said that SNH understood the problem created by Ravens and had great sympathy for the farmers affected. To dismiss this as PR talk is not excusable, because it simply perpetuates the myth that “vicious” Ravens “swoop down” into fields, and attack to kill newborn lambs.

    I have tried to communicate through RPS my own evidence resulting from close observational studies of Ravens interacting with lambing ewes, but to little avail, with even a few staff members from RSPB, and SNH official statements, contradicting or ignoring my findings with no justification whatsoever. This is very frustrating, especially as my work on farmland bird ecology and in particular so-called pest species has brought me into contact with many farmers and shepherds, and I reckon I have some considerable insight to how their minds are operating. It’s hard to summarise, but basically they are applying an extreme precautionary principle: despite knowing they have no actual evidence, they believe Ravens do harm, perceive them becoming commoner, and feel it’s justified to fill in the science gaps with lies and misleading allegations. Incidentally, the large transient flocks of non-breeding Ravens move around over huge areas of land, giving rise to the “horror stories” of flocks “suddenly descending” on a field of lambs.

    I am more familiar with Ravens’ behaviour in relation to sheep than anyone else I know, but despair that I seem unable to get the message across to so many others who work in conservation. It’s something of a mystery to me, but they seem at least partly to accept the grossly exaggerated anecdotes from farmers and gamekeepers rather than my own very careful observational and scientific research into the alleged problem. I have suggested that anyone who doubts the credibility of my observations is more than welcome to repeat my research. It might also be a good time to read the late Derek Ratcliffe’s excellent monograph The Raven, still a thoroughly good read and very enlightening. At present I am rather urgently attempting to write up my work for publication, but most of the key facts are already out there in social media, letters to newspaper and magazine Editors and other outlets including RPS (now Raptor Persecution UK!).

    People, especially SNH, should be aware not only that the evidence being presented by the “affected parties” is untruthful, there is also a dirty tricks campaign in operation. The scale of the social media attack in particular is well coordinated as well as savage. It’s intriguing to be aware of certain background information, like the extent to which many of the perpetrators already hate SNH with a vengeance, yet appear to be successfully winning them over with their deceit. I believe the truth of the matter involves a PR exercise on SNH’s part to ingratiate themselves, but all they’re doing is falling into a trap. It is very noticeable that a strategic decision has been made by the anti-Raven campaigners to exploit the public’s inevitable sentimental reaction to seeing images of lambs with their eyes pecked out, allegedly by Ravens doing this to disable their victims before killing them. However anyone who has actually properly observed what is happening knows that the pecking out of eyes takes place only when a lamb is either moribund or already dead. Rather more disturbing is my belief that many of the images currently showing in the media have been set up or doctored. One particular farmer with a sad face is holding a lamb “with its eyes pecked out by Ravens”, which on closer examination appears to be a lamb which was born with cataracts. Some of the corpses in my opinion may have been deliberately mutilated to be as horrific as possible, often with added extra blood and gore.

    This campaign is part of a bigger war of attrition being perpetuated by Countryside Alliance types and angry disturbed farmers who perceive wildlife as the enemy. To allow them to win this one would be a very dangerous precedent. At the very least SNH should be postponing any decision until after at least one year of scientific research to determine the reality of the situation and the true scale of any problem. Right now we only have the collective farmers’ word for it that the events described over past lambing seasons ever actually happened (and in my experience not every sheep farmer experiences the alleged problem). One last point which everyone should think long and hard about: if it is commonplace for Ravens to attack and kill lambs in the way portrayed by the campaigners, why has no-one ever filmed this happening, especially in this modern age of popular photography and spectacular advances in technology? To my mind that say it all. Some people claim to have filmed it, and their videos have been posted online, but I’ve yet to see one which actually confirms any of the allegations. Some of the “Ravens” aren’t even Ravens.

  7. 20 Jim Clarke
    May 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Complaint submitted;

    Dear BBC I wish to complain in the strongest terms about the unmitigated bias, and the woefully inaccurate content, of your piece on the proposed adding of Raven Corvus corax to the General Licence in Scotland broadcast on BBC Reporting Scotland on the 10th of May 2016. You would do well to read this blog article that covers all the relevant points admirably;

    https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/raven-hysteria-grows-aided-by-bbc/

    To recap;

    Bias
    No representatives from relevant conservation organisations (for example the RSPB), or anyone with opposing views, on what is a hugely controversial issue in Scotland (see also below).

    No mention of a petition in support of maintaining Raven’s protected status https://www.change.org/p/scottish-natural-heritage-maintain-the-protected-status-of-the-raven-in-scotland-2 that is over ten times larger than the petition calling for Raven to be added to the General Licence (28,435 signatures against, only 2,684 for).

    The issue of negative emotive terms by BBC journalists to describe Ravens e.g. ‘in scenes more Hitchcock than Countyfile’, and the truly gobsmacking ‘birds of darkness’ !

    The use of images of Rooks Corvus frugilegus, a species that breeds in high density colonies, during a piece about Ravens, which nest singly at low densities, with no clarification that images of Rooks and not Ravens were being shown. Do you not think that might result in the subliminal suggestion (and, clearly, supporting that previous suggestion of Hitchcock’s Birds) that there are ‘hoards’ of Ravens in Scotland? One hopes that, in the event of the General Licence application being granted, certain sheep farmers and gamekeepers (surprisingly the game shooting estates’ interests in this issue seems to have been brushed over) would have a better ability to distinguish between the two species than would seem the case with BBC Scotland. Please can you clarify whether BBC was intentionally trying to create moral panic, or that it lacks the ability to create an accurate piece involving well known Scottish wildlife, or that they simply thought that they could get away with disingenuously spicing up a dull news day?

    ‘Factual’ content

    No scientific evidence was presented to back claims of the killing of ‘hundreds of lambs’, an accusation that is widely disputed (I am unaware of any such evidence, should any diligent research on the BBC’s part find any could you please let the UK’s ornithological community know as we are currently unaware of its whereabouts).

    No context is given on the high mortality inherent in sheep husbandry in harsh climates and of the subsequent scavenging by Ravens of already dead lambs (which is scientifically proven).

    No context is given that the Raven is still recovering from high levels of historic persecution (hence the protected status) and remains scarce in some areas of Scotland (again, all scientifically proven). A successful General License application would apply to areas even where they are decidedly uncommon thus threatening to create a serious conservation issue in those areas.

    I await your prompt response with interest, and trust it will be a good measure more considered than the ‘report’ itself.

    Regards, Jim Clarke (Ornithologist)

    • 21 heclasu
      May 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Brilliant – could not put it better myself!

    • 22 chiggy
      May 11, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Excellent

    • 23 Les Wallace
      May 12, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Brilliant as always Jim.

    • 24 Christopher Andrews
      May 12, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Much more eloquent (and factual) than my complaint (rant) which I submitted straight after spitting my hot chocolate over the 10 O’clock news! Hopefully this warrants a response/retraction.

    • 25 Marco McGinty
      May 12, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      I have to agree, that Jim’s complaint is well presented, but it will prove futile. Yes, the BBC might offer an apology of sorts, but the damage has already been done. Many people will have walked away from the report in the belief that “sinister” Ravens kill little fluffy lambs by the hundreds, just for the sake of it.

      Furthermore, as a result of their inaccurate reporting and downright lies, how many people will think that Rooks are Ravens, and how many Rooks will now be slaughtered by idiotic, urban dwellers?

      It really is amazing how often the BBC “mistakenly” act out of their impartial guidelines when the shooting and farming industries are involved. It’s almost as though they were doing it deliberately, drip feeding lies to the general populace, brainwashing them in the process. Good old, corrupt auntie beeb, the home of lies and miseducation.

      For an idea of how the BBC will respond, please take a look at the following two links
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/generation-and-stimulation/
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/an-act-of-provocation/

      • May 13, 2016 at 10:14 pm

        Yes just about every letter we write about raptors is futile in the short term but i don’t believe it is a waste of time. Complaining is a drip drip drip effect. Look at this and Mark Avery’s blog and Hen Harrier day, they are all futile if you look only at short term gains but are efforts aren’t going unnoticed by the game lobby and every press release they make and every attempt they make to eradicate wildlife they don’t agree with, makes them more ridiculous. They are their worst enemy.
        I think of the american civil rights movement. At the beginning it must have been seen as totally futile.
        I’m no where near giving up. I haven’t even got started.

        • May 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

          Sorry, read ‘our efforts’.

        • 28 Marco McGinty
          May 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm

          Prasad, I meant that it would be futile complaining to the BBC. As mentioned previously, they might offer a very weak and belated apology, but as is always the case when shooting and farming interests are concerned, they have acted in a biased manner, they have deliberately lied, and they have caused (or are about to cause) untold damage to Raven and Rook populations. This was their intention all along. Trust me, even with thousands of complaints, they will act like this again, and again, and again.

          As for the other issues you have mentioned, I am fully supportive of them all.

          However, we have to realise that we have very few friends in the BBC, and any that we do have are shackled by the corrupt, one-sided “impartial and balanced” system, and we have few allies in the dying print industry, so like the Scottish independence debate, it will be won on social media. As a result, it will take some time, and I have no plans in stopping now.

          Hopefully, with Andy Wightman’s influence at Holyrood, the SNP might be pushed further to the left on issues such as Land Reform, so there could be some interesting times ahead.

  8. 29 Peter Shearer
    May 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    E mail sent to BBC, but it does look like they have bowed to the pressure on them and made the wrong call which side to be on. I suspect this is going to become more common given recent BBC appointments. If this was a story in the papers, would they not have to apologise for it,if it was proved to be inaccurate? Is there an outside body that would judge if this is a fair article?

  9. 30 Simon Tucker
    May 11, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Has anybody raised a formal complaint with the BBC, the BBC Trust or Offcom, or all three? They have a duty to be balanced.

    • 31 crypticmirror
      May 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      I’ve raised formal complaints about the BBC over the years, and the only thing I can see is their brushing-off-complaints dept has got more and more brazen about how little they care.

      • 32 Paul
        May 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm

        Yes, they never admit they are wrong. However, the text of all complaints received is circulated to news staff every day, so it is always worth complaining because the large volume of complaints will be seen by all staff, including those involved in making the offending report, and they will realise that their journalism has fallen short.

        • 33 Jack Snipe
          May 12, 2016 at 2:28 am

          They love to put out the line that they’ve received complaints from both sides, which proves that their reporting must be impartial. This just doesn’t wash anymore. The pathetic attempt at making this a darkly humorous piece of journalistic whimsicality was a thinly disguised attack on conservationists. I suspect they will make light of our complaints and repeat the same story next year. The problem is if the campaigners are successful in reducing the current level of legal protection afforded to Ravens, it makes it easier for them to apply similar pressure on government agencies to bring in official culls of Hen Harriers and other predators. This movement in societal approach to wildlife isn’t at all helped by the RSPB’s enthusiastic attitude towards Defra’s Hen Harrier Recovery Plan. This is the first battle in what could become a prolonged war.

        • 34 Marco McGinty
          May 14, 2016 at 8:10 pm

          I have to disagree here, Paul. If complaints were taken seriously by the BBC, and appropriate action taken against those acting outwith BBC guidelines, there would be high-profile individuals being sacked every week. However, we are faced with the same liars on a daily/weekly basis, and nothing changes.

          I can only assume journalistic integrity does not exist at the BBC (or in much of the print media), especially if the organisation’s own preferred agenda is adhered to. Let’s face it, if journalistic integrity, or impartiality for that matter, was of true interest to the BBC, then why was such biased reporting ever broadcast in the first place?

          • 35 Jack Snipe
            May 15, 2016 at 2:58 am

            The BBC’s Countryfile, and to some extent Landward, started off as fairly innocuous, often described as charming, programmes educating the viewer to the delights of the UK and Scottish countryside, with an emphasis on appreciating and valuing wildlife. Then along came the Countryside Alliance, ironically as a result of the UK Governments’ response to a public cry for a ban on fox hunting, and nothing has been the same since. At the same time, those of us who spent much of our lives out enjoying the countryside began to experience a new found aggressive hostility from landowners, farmers, gamekeepers and hunters. Keeping those bloody ‘townies’ off their land became their mission. Eventually this has led to today’s situation, where the BBC appears to be corporately supporting the Countryside Alliance agenda. One of the main reasons for this is that the CA very quickly became a very rich and effective lobbying organisation, the likes of which all we have in comparison is the mealy-mouthed, weak-willed RSPB. As usual, I have to qualify that by saying it is the institution that is the problem, not its hard working staff who do some excellent work. Policy and Marketing however don’t quite gel together to produce an organisation which is able to fight as effectively for wildlife at Government level as the Countryside Alliance does for the interests of its members. So long as this remains the case, the efforts of RPS and other small pressure groups will be a very, very long fight ahead of us. Right now I’m not optimistic, and don’t feel that anything like the full might of the Countryside Alliance and similar interest groups, supported by Tory Governments, has hit us so far. RPS has already grown into RPUK, and long may its influence continue to grow. Its very existence offers some hope for the future. Whoever you are, I know I’m not alone in appreciating what you’re doing to raise awareness to a higher level.

  10. 36 Dave
    May 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    The BBC should be made accountable for all the rookeries that will be destroyed and Rooks that are likely to be shot or poisoned due to their biased and lazy reporting.

    I’ve been visiting Scotland since the 1980’s, 2 visits last year for 4 of us, but I’ve decided not to visit this year due to the continuing persecution of raptors. Unfortunately, the people who’ve benefited financially from my holidays over the years will be out of pocket and not those perpetrating the crimes but I can’t bring myself to visit a country where the land owners are striving for total destruction of all wildlife.

    How about moving the gas guns from the grouse moors into sheep fields where they can scare the ‘crows’ away?

  11. 37 crypticmirror
    May 11, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I once saw a swarm of raven descend and strip an entire flock of sheep to the bone in under four seconds. Also the ravens were rainbow coloured and the sheep were reading the Telegraph. That was when I was recovering from surgery and high on painkillers of course. What is BBC Scotland’s excuse?

  12. 38 Jimmy
    May 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Ravens today and god knows what 2morrow!! This nonsense needs ending fast!!

  13. 39 Marco McGinty
    May 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Well, most people on here will know of my thoughts on the neverending lies perpetrated by the shooting and farming communities, so I have nothing much to add to the discussion.

    For those that are thinking off making complaints to the BBC, don’t bother – you will just waste your time, as your complaint will be fobbed off. People have tried making complaints to the BBC for many years now, without any meaningful success, and Ofcom are just as bad, especially if establishment figures or organisations are involved.

    Having said all of that, the one positive thing that has come of this latest episode in bias, is that more and more people are now realising that the BBC is a blatantly biased organisation, and it will never operate in a fair and impartial manner. Their coverage of the recent elections was equally woeful, and for any outsider viewing the election and post-election coverage, they would have thought that the Tories had won and the SNP were soundly defeated!

  14. 40 Andy Holden
    May 11, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Petition signed and email sent to the BBC.
    I wonder what Sir David A would say if he knew that the BBC were showing Ravens to be nothing more than lamb killers?

  15. 41 Mrs applegate
    May 12, 2016 at 7:10 am

    The answer isn’t to kill be more educated and come up with something else !! We don’t need war between us and our wildlife as well as our people

  16. 42 Jack Snipe
    May 13, 2016 at 1:52 am

    The Facebook site “Calling for Raven control” has made a video which allegedly proves their case. Here is my response:

    “Having sat through that video I don’t know whether you’re joking or you’re on my side of the argument! I love the way you tell me to note the sheep’s distress on the appearance of the ravens, and it starts off with a sheep munching away quite happily at the grass with a Raven perched on its back! Seriously though, having studied Ravens in great detail, all the scenes shown were extremely familiar to me, and I could see nothing untowards happening. The Ravens were being attracted by the lambing ewes, as Ravens are, because the birds know there will be opportunities to feed on afterbirths and casualties. If anyone thinks that the sheep in these pictures are in any way stressed by the presence of Ravens, they either don’t know Ravens, don’t know sheep, or have vivid imaginations. The only ewe showing any distress was lying down and in a nervous state as if she was having difficulty giving birth, and all she did was look at the Raven as it flew past her. The farmer finding the dead lambs was quite right when he said “there’s nothing wrong with this lamb, except it’s dead and had its eyes picked out by Ravens,” but not in his assumption that the Raven had killed the lamb. All the circumstances shown throughout the video contained no conclusive evidence of how the lambs died, only the usual presumptions being made based on circumstances. Why did it not occur to the farmer that if the Ravens were the prolific killers he describes, and there were clearly several hundred Ravens on his farm, why were there ANY lambs left alive? It just doesn’t add up. I’m afraid this is typical of the best “evidence” anyone has been able to produce, and as usual, nothing to show the alleged event of killing taking place. I hope to convince the BBC to join me in my observations next lambing season, and spend some time filming what actually happens at close quarters. If I can convince them to do that, a few people may be very pleasantly surprised indeed.”

  17. 43 George M
    May 13, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Well said, Jack Snipe. Lets hope the BBC see your offer as a sensible attempt to get to the truth.

  18. 44 Secret Squirrel
    May 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Not the first time the BBC has had similar one sided reporting on this matter – there was a similar broadcast on Good Morning Scotland a few weeks back where similar allegations were made, not by an outside farming spokesman, but by the BBC’s own Farming correspondent! (Although the ravens were attacking something called ‘yows’)

  19. 46 Alan Johnson
    May 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Thought you may like to see the response I got from SNH licensing dept yesterday. There is no hint of an imminent threat here!

    “Thank you for your email regarding raven licensing.

    SNH licensing team currently issue licences to shoot ravens to prevent damage to livestock where there is no other satisfactory solution. If anyone is suffering serious damage to livestock then they can apply to SNH and the application will be assessed through a site visit to look at and discuss the problem. Any licence we issue is done so as part of an overall scaring programme and not intended to ‘cull’ the population, but to deter them. When a licence is granted there is a requirement for the licence holder to report back on how effective the licence was and how much livestock damage was sustained.

    We’re are aware of the current interest in adding ravens to the birds which may be killed under general licence. The list of species which can be controlled in this way is something we keep under regular review. We are due to hold a consultation on general licences later this year and following the outcome of that process, we will consider what changes, if any, are required for the 2017 general licences. Any changes will be published on our website early in 2017.

    I hope this response satisfies your query.”

    Kind regards
    Beth Wilson

    • 47 Jack Snipe
      May 17, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      No hint of an imminent threat? I beg to differ. Typical double speak from SNH, attempting to reassure but leaving their options wide open!

  20. 48 Alan Johnson
    May 17, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I bow to your experience……..I was taking the line “later this year”…….a bit different from the inference that last Monday’s meeting might draw new lines (?)


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