MSPs taken for a ride in the Angus Glens

The Angus Glens Moorland Group, part of the grouse shooting industry’s ludicrous propaganda campaign The Gift of Grouse, has been on a charm offensive.

They’ve recently hosted visits for three MSPs, who’ve all been taken for a ride across the Angus Glens grouse moors. The idea, presumably, was to depict grouse moor management techniques in a highly favourable light.

The three visiting politicians were Mairi Evans (SNP), Alex Johnstone (Conservative) and Liam Kerr (Conservative).

One of the three MSPs took to social media after his visit, and you can see the charm offensive had clearly worked on him:


Liam Kerr MSP FB

To be fair to Liam Kerr, he can only go on what he was told/shown on the day. What a shame MSP Andy Wightman (Scottish Greens) wasn’t along for the ride. He undoubtedly would have had some uncomfortable questions for these estates. Questions like, ‘How do you explain the following?’:

2004 May, near Edzell: long-eared owl and two short-eared owls starved to death in crow cage trap.  No prosecution.

2004 May, Invermark Estate: peregrine nest destroyed. No prosecution.

2006 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 April, Easter Ogil: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2006 April, Easter Ogil: poisoned tawny owl (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2006 May, Glenogil Estate: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 June, Glenogil Estate: poisoned woodpigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 June, Glenogil Estate: Traces of Carbofuran found in estate vehicles & on equipment during police search. No prosecution. Estate owner had £107k withdrawn from his farm subsidy payments. This was being appealed, but it is not known how this was resolved.

2006 July, Millden Estate; poisoned sheepdog (Lindane). No prosecution.

2007 November, Glenogil Estate: Disappearance of radio-tagged white-tailed eagle ‘Bird N’ coincides with tip off to police that bird allegedly been shot. No further transmissions or sightings of the bird.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned white-tailed eagle ‘White G’ (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned buzzard (Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned mountain hare bait (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, Glenogil Estate: 32 x poisoned meat baits on fenceposts (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 October, ‘Glenogil Estate: poisoned meat bait on fencepost (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 April, Millden Estate: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

ALMD2009 July, Millden Estate: poisoned golden eagle ‘Alma’ (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 August, Glenogil Estate: poisoned white-tailed eagle “89” (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned red kite (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 September, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Chloralose). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2011 February, Airlie Estate: buzzard caught in illegal crow trap. (see below)

2011 March, Airlie Estate: 3 x buzzard caught in illegal crow trap. Prosecution (!) but dropped after statement from suspect given to SSPCA deemed inadmissible.

2011 April, Millden Estate: shot buzzard. No prosecution.

2012 April, ‘Nr Noranside’: Remains of buzzard found beside pheasant pen. Suspicious death.

2011 June, Rottal & Tarabuckle Estate: dead kestrel inside crow cage trap. No prosecution.

2012 February, ‘Nr Edzell’: spring-trapped buzzard. No prosecution.

2012 February, ‘Nr Bridgend’: remains of buzzard found under a rock. Suspicious death.

2012 May, Millden Estate: satellite-tagged golden eagle seemingly caught in spring trap, then apparently uplifted overnight and dumped on Deeside with two broken legs & left to die. No prosecution.

2012 May, Glen Esk: disappearance of sat-tagged red kite. No further transmissions or sightings of bird.

2013 January, Invermark Estate: white-tailed eagle nest tree felled. No prosecution.

2013 June, Glen Ogil: shot buzzard. No prosecution.

2013 July, Glen Moy: illegal hawk trap. No prosecution.

2013 September, nr Edzell: unset spring trap next to bait. No prosecution.

2013 November, Glen Lethnot: poisoned golden eagle ‘Fearnan’. No prosecution.

2014 October, Nathro: shot buzzard. Prosecution? Unknown.

Or perhaps another question might be, ‘Why haven’t hen harriers bred on your grouse moors since 2006?

Or another question, ‘Why are you slaughtering mountain hares and dumping their corpses in a stink pit?

Or another question, ‘Why are you bulldozing roads across the moors and putting up miles and miles of electric fences?

Sorry, grouse-shooting industry, you might be able to take some politicians for a ride but the rest of us aren’t quite so naive.


29 Responses to “MSPs taken for a ride in the Angus Glens”

  1. 1 John McAree
    July 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    The response or reaction of the SNP MSP will be the most telling. The Tory is playing up to type.

  2. 2 Andrea Goddard
    July 20, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    It always rankles with me when I hear of the ‘rare heather moorland’ which upland estate managers are paid to maintain. This is rare managed habitat simply because it is not natural and would not occur if left to succeed and because no other country manages their uplands in this way. The vast majority of this land type is found here in the UK because our society supports the vile ‘sport’ that is grouse shooting – and all it’s associated environmentally damaging consequences- the land is managed that way to make money from shooting and for that purpose alone.
    The same could be said, therefore, for golf courses, car parks or if I decided to paint my garden purple and charged people vast sums to come and admire the purple garden. It would thus be a rare habitat- which one purple paint-loving animal species may dominate -and would need conserving to keep me in a job of painting it and for the enjoyment of the paying customer. Maybe I could then show some MSPs around said purple garden to show them what a wonderful job I’m doing?

    Its really all about perspective. Do not accept the status quo – Our uplands are due an environmental revolution and grouse shooting has had its day.

  3. July 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    I wonder how many MSPs would visit any other industry with such an appalling record of criminality?

  4. 11 Prunella
    July 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Yes, I was going to ask: you have emailed all three MSPs with the list of “strange occurrences”, haven’t you? No need for any polemic to be attached, just point out that this is publicly verifiable information and request them to enquire about it with their hosts and please let you know the response. Then, in a suitable period of time, you can follow this up, publicly, so that the MSPs have to respond. I’m sure Andy Wightman would be pleased to ask a parliamentary question about it.

  5. 12 Logan Steele
    July 20, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Can some of the raptor group who are constituents of these MSP’s not ask for a 121 meeting at thier regular surgeries to tell them how it really is?

  6. 13 George M
    July 20, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    I’ve written to Ms. Mairi Evans twice about these issues in the Angus Glens. The first was on the 1st May not long after she was elected and the second after an article appeared in the Dundee Courier with photographs of her and Alex Johnstone in Glen Ogil. She seemed very receptive and offered to meet me to discuss the issues but sadly time and commitments would not allow it. I got a three word reply from Liam Kerr basically dismissing me. I saw no point in contacting Alex Johnstone. I will now forward this article to Ms. Evans.

  7. 14 Merlin
    July 20, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    bet they all got wined, dined and invited to a days shoot all expenses paid as well

  8. July 20, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Mr Kerr MSP has replied to my post on his facebook page…
    “Thanks for getting in touch Andy. I always read what people send to me as it is important I understand all views.”
    A much better response than M&S could ever produce.

  9. 17 crypticmirror
    July 21, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Were they taken for a ride in one of the new Fishing and Shooting special edition Bentley’s?

    That Bentley can make a special edition just for the fish and game crowd says it all about why the Driven Grouse and Fly Fishing industry is allowed to wreak havoc on our ecosystems.

  10. 18 Grace McCarron
    July 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Hope you don’t mine me plagiarising your list. I have posted on his Facebook page. :-)

  11. 19 Trapit
    July 21, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Sorry ,not relevant to this post,but has anyone tried to get on Upland Exposure today?.It seems to have been hijacked by some Yankee advertising webpage.

  12. 21 Bimbling
    July 21, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Off topic, but I can’t get onto Uplandexposure any more. Anyone else got problems?

  13. 22 Brian
    July 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    I can’t get on upland exposure either,i get the same site as you Trapit !

  14. 23 against feudalism
    July 22, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Same here, just a blank page when I try ‘upland exposure’ ? Pity, it was an excellent unbiased look at ‘management’ of our hills, is this a glitch, or should we be paranoid about this ?? Land lobby censorship ?

    Frankly astonishing that there has been no substantive response from 3 MSP’s, with regards to the serial criminal activity on the Angus estates, do we take it that these MSP’s condone crime ?

  15. 24 SOG
    July 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Liam Kerr MSP needs to understand that his ‘rare heather moorland’ is about as natural as a field of arable crop, and about as rare.

  16. 25 walter
    July 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I presume the purpose of the visit by the msp,s was to promote industry and the local economy.

    given the appalling levels of wildlife crime in the angus glens (arguably the worst in Europe) this is completely the wrong message.

    I wonder how the msp,s can explain the list of crimes you have highlighted.

    Perhaps emailing them requesting their justification for their visit and an explanation regarding the list of wildlife crimes.

    Goes to show the influence some of these estates have..

  17. 26 alan
    July 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    The attached list of incidents is very damming and does paint a really bad picture. However im not sure it paints the entire picture. Most if not all of these of these crimes/incidents are pre vicarious liability and the setting up of their moorland group. They do seem to be changing their spots.
    I personally like the moorland group, because the more they present positive publicity, the harder it is for them to be exposed the deserved bad publicity they will get if there are any more crimes.
    Whilst im all for holding them to complete account when any crime is committed.
    I also think they should be encouraged, when behaving responsibly.

  18. 27 against feudalism
    July 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    The shooting lobby, SL&E etc, are always going on about how much they make for the local economy, but I do wonder just how much they receive in benefits ie. subsidy + Rural development grants ?? Or, do they run at a loss, with the tax payer subsidising this so called sport, and the accompanying wildlife crimes, to say nothing about the heather ‘desertification’ of Scotland.

    In a nutshell, are we paying for all this? If so, WHY ?

  19. 28 Tony Warburton MBE
    July 24, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Has everyone missed the clever irony of RPUK’s heading, i.e. “msps taken for a ride in the Angus Glens”? They sure were. Nice one RPUK and great work as usual – even though the list made me feel physically sick. God help you people in Scotland if these three naiveties are having a say on your environment!

  20. 29 Harris
    July 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    have emailed Liam Kerr –

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