Archive for August, 2016



22
Aug
16

Petition calling for licensing of gamebird hunting in Scotland closes at midnight

ALMDThe petition calling for state regulated licensing of all gamebird hunting in Scotland closes at midnight tonight.

This petition was launched six weeks ago and currently has 6,601 electronic signatures and a few hundred more have signed a paper version at various events around the country.

We’ve blogged about this petition before but it’s worth repeating a few points:

The petition has been lodged by the Scottish Raptor Study Group and has the backing of RSPB Scotland (see here) and the Scottish Wildlife Trust (see here).

Background information about the petition may be read here.

Information about previous action that has been taken to address this issue may be read here.

The petition itself may be read here.

To sign this petition, please go here.

This isn’t the first time the Scottish Raptor Study Group has called for licensing. In 2014, they, with support from RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, called for grouse-shooting licences to be introduced (see here); a request that was rejected by the then Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse (see here). That request was an informal one, put to the Minister in a letter. This time they’ve gone for a more formal approach and they need your support.

There is really no need to explain here why the regulation of gamebird hunting is long overdue. If you’re in any doubt whatsoever, just spend a few minutes looking through some of our blog posts and also have a look at the background information links above. The gamebird-shooting industry in the UK is the least-regulated in comparison with other European countries and, arguably, is responsible for more environmental destruction than any of its European counterparts. The UK shooting industry has had decades to get its act together and self-regulate, but has failed, comprehensively, and so enforced regulation is inevitable.

What’s interesting about this petition though, is how it differs from Mark Avery’s petition to ban driven grouse shooting (which so far has attracted over 116,000 signatures – see here).

The most obvious difference is that this new Scottish petition is calling for licensing rather than for a ban, and it is directed at ALL types of gamebird hunting in Scotland (e.g. grouse, pheasant, partridge) rather than just driven grouse shooting.

Some may argue that the licensing approach is futile, mainly due to enforcement issues, and we’d have to agree with that to some extent. Scotland already has some of the strongest wildlife protection legislation in Europe but enforcement problems continue to be of concern. Nevertheless, this new petition is still worthy of your support, and importantly, there’s nothing to stop you signing both petitions!

It seems the licensing approach in Scotland is considered to have more chance of acceptance by the Scottish Government than calling for an outright ban, largely due to the fact that the Scottish Government is, in relative terms, much more progressive and further down the road on this issue than the Westminster Government. This call for licensing is in line with the Scottish Government’s previously stated approach to the illegal persecution of raptors; they’ve been saying for years now that they are prepared to take further action if the persecution doesn’t stop, so this petition could nudge them in the direction they’re already travelling, because, despite the gamebird shooting industry’s claims to the contrary, the persecution has not stopped (see here).

It could be argued that licensing is just delaying the inevitable, in that if it fails to act as an effective deterrent, a ban must surely be on the cards, but we’d have to wait 10+ (?) years to get to that position because the Scottish Government will insist, quite rightly, that the licensing approach will need time before its success or failure can be measured. It does seem highly unlikely that the Scottish Government will support calls for a ban until all other options have been tried, so the licensing approach seems to be a necessary hurdle to be jumped, but if it does turn out to be effective then that’d be good, obviously.

If the Scottish Government does decide to accept a call for licensing, the next question will be, ‘What will that licensing look like?’. Who knows, and that’d be for the Scottish Government to decide in due course, but it might include restrictions on the intensification of land managed for gamebird shooting (i.e. restrictions on muirburn, restrictions on drainage, restrictions on medication) as well as new reporting requirements (i.e. How many gamebirds shot? How many predators legally killed? How many mountain hares killed?) etc. Crucially, whatever regime is introduced, it must be independently monitored if the public is to have any confidence in it.

But that’s for later discussion. At this stage, the most important thing is to apply pressure on the Scottish Government to accept that gamebird hunting in Scotland cannot continue in its current unregulated form. Whether you think a licensing scheme will work or not isn’t that important right now; the Scottish Government needs to hear from you that this issue is important to you and that you want to stimulate a discussion about it.

Please note: the Scottish petition may be signed by anybody, anywhere in the world.

The Scottish petition will close at midnight tonight. We’d encourage you to sign the petition (here), not only to support the views of the Scottish Raptor Study Group, but also to let the Scottish Government know that this issue is important to you and deserves Parliamentary time and attention.

Thank you.

The photograph shows conservationist Roy Dennis holding the poisoned corpse of golden eagle ‘Alma’, who was found poisoned on a Scottish grouse moor in 2009. There have been many more since (e.g. see here).

18
Aug
16

Young satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Elwood’ disappears on Monadhliath grouse moor just weeks after fledging

ElwoodWith depressing predictability, news has emerged that one of this year’s young satellite-tagged hen harriers (a male called ‘Elwood’) has ‘disappeared’ on a grouse moor in the Monadhliath mountains just a few weeks after he fledged from his nest in Banffshire.

RSPB press release:

Another satellite-tagged bird of prey disappears in the Monadhliath Mountains

RSPB Scotland has today announced that a young male hen harrier, fitted with a satellite transmitter as part of the charity’s part EU funded Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project, has gone missing on a grouse moor in the Monadhliath Mountains, south-east of Inverness.

The bird, named Elwood, was the only chick to fledge from a nest in Banffshire, which was being monitored under the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime Scotland (PAW Scotland) ‘Heads-up for Harriers scheme’.

The transmitter’s data, being monitored by RSPB Scotland staff, indicated that the young bird fledged from its nest in the first week of July, but stayed close to the site in the hills above the River Spey until the 20th, when he began to travel more widely. By the 27th, he had moved 20 miles to the south west, and had settled in the hills around Tomatin.

The bird remained in this area, with the transmitter providing detailed information about his daily travels until suddenly, transmissions ceased abruptly on August 3rd. The bird’s last recorded position was on an area of managed moorland a few miles from the Slochd summit on the A9.

Last week, news emerged that eight satellite-tagged golden eagles had also disappeared in the northern Monadhliaths in the last five years, with three of these birds, whose transmitters were also functioning normally, going ‘off the radar’ this spring [see here].

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, said: “This latest disappearance of a satellite-tagged bird is deeply concerning, and joins the long list of protected birds of prey that have been confirmed to have been illegally killed or disappeared suddenly in this area. The transmitters being fitted to these birds are exceedingly reliable, and illegal persecution is therefore the most likely explanation of the disappearance of these birds of prey. The absence of typical breeding raptor species from areas of suitable habitat, or at traditional nesting sites, in large parts of the Monadhliaths is further supporting evidence of a major problem with wildlife crime in this general area.

This case is all the more depressing as the nest from which Elwood successfully fledged was monitored as part of a partnership project between PAW Scotland and the local landowner. It proves, yet again, that despite there being a good number of enlightened estates who are happy to host and protect nesting birds of prey – as soon as they move away from these areas they are being illegally killed.

The denials and obfuscation from representatives of the land management sector, and their consistent failure to acknowledge and address this problem, is one of the main reasons why our bird of prey populations are struggling in the central and eastern Highlands. We repeat our call to the Scottish Government to introduce a robust system of licensing of game bird hunting, where the right to shoot is dependent on legal and sustainable management of the land, in line with approaches adopted in most other European countries.”

END

So what now, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment? How are you going to react to this one? Are you going to tell us how ‘disappointed’ you are? Are you going to tell us that more research needs to be done to understand why driven grouse moors in Scotland are almost devoid of breeding hen harriers (and golden eagles and peregrines)? Are you going to tell us that the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime is effectively addressing this problem? Are you going to believe the lies of the organisations within the grouse-shooting industry that there is ‘no evidence’ that raptors are routinely and systematically killed on driven grouse moors? Are you going to tell us you’re still looking for ‘a pattern of suspicious activity’? Are you going to tell us that you will ‘not hesitate to take further action if deemed necessary’? Are you going to tell us we need to wait to see whether previous anti-persecution measures are working?

How about you tell us that you’ve had enough, that you believe that further action IS necessary and that you’ll be using your powers as Cabinet Secretary for the Environment to put an end to this shameful slaughter?

You could support the call for an introduction of licensing for all gamebird hunting in Scotland, so that these grouse-shooting estates can finally be held to account for their criminal acts. Well, assuming any licensing system is actually properly enforced, but that’s another matter.

And you really should pay attention to the strength of feeling against driven grouse shooting that has emerged south of the border (with considerable support from Scottish voters, too), which will now result in a parliamentary debate in Westminster later this autumn on the subject of banning driven grouse shooting.

Whatever you do, plenty of people here, and around the world, are watching.

17
Aug
16

Coordinated hunt & shooting of a hen harrier in 2013 – location revealed

A couple of years ago (20 June 2014) we blogged about the alleged coordinated hunt and shooting of a male hen harrier on a grouse moor in Scotland (see here).

hen-harrier-male-robin-newlin

This alleged crime had actually taken place in May 2013 – it was reported to Police Scotland by the two members of the public who had witnessed the event, Police Scotland investigated but no further evidence was available to take the case forward.

For some reason, Police Scotland failed to publicise this incident or appeal for information, despite hen harrier persecution being a UK National Wildlife Crime Priority. Instead, it was left to the RSPB to issue a press release over a year later (see here) as part of a wider call for more sporting estates to take action to protect hen harriers.

At the time, the location of this incident was pretty sketchy. The RSPB press release said it took place ‘on a moor in the eastern Cairngorms, within the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park’.

But then roll on to late 2015 and the publication of RSPB Scotland’s 20-year review of raptor persecution crimes. If you have a look at Table 3 in this report, which details confirmed incidents of persecution or attempted persecution (excluding poisoning) of birds of prey in Scotland 2013, the following information appears:

HH shot Glen Gairn

According to this table, a hen harrier was shot at ‘Glen Gairn’ in Aberdeenshire in May 2013. We presume, given the date and location, this is the same incident as referred to in that 2014 RSPB press release.

So, Glen Gairn. Where’s that then?

Well, would you believe, part of Glen Gairn appears to lie at the eastern boundary of Invercauld Estate, not a million miles from where those illegally-set spring traps were recently discovered at Gellaig Hill. (Map detail created from information provided on Andy Wightman’s Who Owns Scotland website).

Glen Gairn final - Copy

Now, we should urge caution here before anyone jumps to conclusions. This map is slightly misleading because it suggests that Glen Gairn lies entirely within the boundary of Invercauld Estate. It doesn’t. Glen Gairn extends east across the river, beyond the Invercauld Estate boundary, and on to the grouse moors of neighbouring Dinnet Estate.

We don’t know exactly where in Glen Gairn those two members of the public watched the alleged coordinated hunt and then shooting of that male hen harrier in 2013. It could have been on the Dinnet side of the Glen, or it could have been on the Invercauld side of the Glen, or it could have extended across both sides of the Glen. We don’t know, but presumably Police Scotland will know if those two members of the public were able to give accurate grid references.

As so often happens, there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution so we have no idea who was responsible. It must have been the handiwork of those pesky moorland fairies. They do seem to be quite active in this part of the Cairngorms National Park, don’t they?

Photo of a male hen harrier by Robin Newlin

17
Aug
16

Buzzard found poisoned in Ayrshire

buzzard 3The SSPCA is appealing for information following the discovery of a young dead buzzard in Ayrshire.

A member of the public found the bird on farmland between Maybole and Patna in April. Toxicology results indicate it had been poisoned with a lethal pesticide. The SSPCA believes this was the result of “a deliberate act”.

SSPCA press release here

 

 

 

 

16
Aug
16

More on the General Licence restriction fiasco at Raeshaw Estate

Regular blog readers will know we’ve been writing about the General Licence (GL) restriction order placed on Raeshaw Estate (Scottish Borders) for some time (see here for a summary). The restriction order was implemented due to alleged raptor persecution incidents reportedly taking place on the Estate (according to evidence provided by Police Scotland), even though nobody has been charged with any criminal offence and the Estate has denied any responsibility.

This restriction order, placed by SNH in November 2015, has been on and off for months, temporarily suspended and then reinstated as Raeshaw Estate mounted various legal challenges over the following months.

Currently, the GL restriction order is back in place, although the courts have now authorised a Judicial Review of the process used by SNH to implement this restriction. We don’t know when that Judicial Review will take place.

IMG_6934 - Copy

In the meantime, in June 2016 we learned (see here) that even though the GL restriction order was back in place, SNH had issued what it called an ‘individual licence’, permitting the Estate to carry out some activities (bird-killing) that the GL restriction was supposed to prevent! In our opinion, issuing an individual licence completely defeats the object of implementing a GL restriction order in the first place. But not according to SNH. They issued a statement and we were particularly interested in the following bit:

In response to an application from Raeshaw Farms Limited, we have granted them an individual licence to carry out some activities otherwise permitted under General Licence. This licence is subject to specific conditions and controls. This will allow the business to continue to operate but under tighter scrutiny rather than the relatively ‘light touch’ approach to Regulation that General Licences afford”.

We wanted to know more about this ‘individual licence’, e.g. its duration, what activities were permitted/not permitted, and particularly the details of the ‘specific conditions and controls’ of that licence. So we (and a couple of others, thank you) submitted some FoIs to SNH to try and find some answers.

What we’ve found is a woefully inadequate system that has not received the promised “tighter scrutiny” and is wide open to abuse.

Here is a copy of the ‘individual licence’: Raeshaw Individual Licence 1_June2016

As you’ll see, ‘individual licence’ is a bit of a misnomer as it names one licence holder but then a further five ‘agents’ who are permitted to use this ‘individual’ licence.

This licence is valid from 10 June 2016 to 31 December 2016. The specific conditions include set dates for when certain species can be killed and the area where this killing may take place. Of interest to us:

  1. Carrion crow, magpie and greater black-backed gull may only be taken or killed UNTIL 30 JUNE 2016.
  2. Rook, jackdaw and wood pigeon may only be taken or killed UNTIL 31 AUGUST 2016.

Why are these two conditions of interest to us? Well, because another condition of this licence (condition #5) is that ‘Prior to exercising this licence, SNH licensing must be provided with details of the number, type and locations of deployment (to 6-figure grid reference) of all traps proposed to be used under this licence‘.

We asked SNH how many traps the licence holder had proposed to use, and the date that SNH received this information.

SNH’s reply: ‘The licence holder informed us on 12 July that they intended to deploy 3 multi-catch traps (ladder traps) at specified locations from 15 July“.

So, the individual licence only permits the taking and killing of carrion crows until 30 June 2016, and yet the licence holder notified SNH in mid-July that three crow traps would be deployed from 15 July 2016. Eh? How will the licence holder prevent carrion crows from entering these, er, crow traps, and if the carrion crows do enter, how will SNH know whether those carrion crows have been released unharmed?

Ah, well that’ll be the “tighter scrutiny” employed by SNH, right? They’ll have been monitoring the use of these traps to check for compliance, right?

Well, not quite. We asked SNH how many visits SNH (or an agent thereof) had made to this Estate to check compliance with licence conditions, and the dates those visits took place.

SNH’s reply (on 11 August 2016): “We have not yet visited the estate. However, compliance checks are an important part of the licensing process and will be carried out“.

Yeah, right.

We’ve also discovered that SNH has issued a second ‘individual licence’ to Raeshaw Estate. This one can be downloaded here: Raeshaw Individual Licence 2_July2016

This second licence permits the licence holder (and three agents) to kill certain species on the neighbouring Corsehope Farm. The licence is valid from 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2016.

Under this licence, collared doves, feral pigeons, wood pigeons, jackdaws, magpies, rooks and carrion crows may be taken or killed on this land until 15 October 2016 ‘to prevent damage to crops’ (ahem).

Also under this licence, all the above species plus greater and lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls may be taken or killed on this land until 31 December 2016 ‘to prevent the spread of disease’ (ahem).

So, although the first licence (covering parts of Raeshaw Estate) only permitted the killing of certain species until 30 June 2016 and some other species until 31 August 2016, this second licence permits the unlimited killing of these same species on neighbouring land until 31 December 2016.

Can somebody please remind us what was the purpose of issuing a General Licence restriction order in the first place? Wasn’t it supposed to be a sanction/punishment for reported raptor persecution incidents? What’s the point of having a licensing system and supposed sanctions, if those sanctions can be sidestepped by simply issuing another licence and then not bothering to monitor compliance with those licence conditions?

14
Aug
16

Non existent windfarms blamed for ‘disappearing’ eagles in Monadhliaths

Soon after the recent news broke about the ‘disappearance’ of eight young satellite-tagged golden eagles in the Monadhliath mountains (see here), the following map started doing the rounds on social media. Raptor persecution deniers purported the map showed a landscape littered with eagle-slicing windfarms and suggested that it was turbine strikes, not criminal activity on grouse moors, that was responsible for the demise of these eagles.

windfarms not - Copy

At first glance, it looks quite plausible, doesn’t it? The last known locations of those ‘missing’ golden eagles (shown as red dots on this map) seem to be surrounded by windfarms. And some windfarms are notorious for slicing eagles in two (e.g. the Altamont Pass windfarm in California and the Smola windfarm in Norway are two extreme examples of the damage that can be caused by poorly-sited constructions). If you’re somebody with only a superficial knowledge of this subject, you could be forgiven for thinking, ‘Yeah, those eagles in the Monadhliaths have been killed by wind turbine blades & the windfarm companies have covered this up (by burying the corpses and the sat tags) because they don’t want the bad publicity’.

But when you start scratching at the surface of the above map, you find that not all is as it seems.

The original source map (showing just the windfarms, not the last known locations of those ‘missing’ eagles) comes from this site, dated 2011. Here it is in its original form:

windfarms wideangle - Copy

It looks pretty bad, doesn’t it? Well, it does if you assume that all these depicted windfarms have been built and are operational. And there’s the problem. You see, this map DOESN’T show operational windfarms at all, and nor did the original author intend that. Rather, this map depicts a number of windfarms that were, in 2011, at various stages of either proposal, scoping, application, construction, or operation.

The persecution denier who overlaid the last known locations of those eight golden eagles on to this map was hoping that nobody would look further than the image of some red dots surrounded by what they would think were a whole load of eagle-killing wind turbines. The hope was that this image would be enough to deflect the blame from the grouse moor estates and cause the unassuming general public to think the windfarms were to blame for the ‘disappearance’ of these eagles.

Well, sorry, persecution apologists, it just doesn’t wash. If you look at our map based on SNH data (below), this shows just how many of those windfarms are actually operational in 2016. Er, we make it one (on Farr Estate). The others have either been rejected or are at the early scoping or application stage, or have been approved but have yet to be installed. Oops!

Windfarm Monadhliath copy

Nice try, but given the long history of illegal eagle killing in the Monadhliaths (see here), as well as the long history of illegal eagle killing on driven grouse moors across Scotland (see here), you’d have to be pretty thick, or complicit, (not mutually exclusive, natch) to deny the bleedin’ obvious.

For those who are neither thick or complicit, please consider signing this petition, raised by the Scottish Raptor Study Group, calling for the Scottish Government to introduce a licensing scheme for all gamebird hunting, including grouse-shooting estates in the Monadhliaths. Petition closes 22 August 2016.

13
Aug
16

100,000 signatures to ban driven grouse shooting!

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have” (Margaret Mead).

100k

Massive, massive kudos to Mark Avery, who started this (3 x petitions ago!) and didn’t give up. Well done, Mark, and thank you.

Special mention to Chris Packham, who, like Mark, has endured months of disgraceful abuse and harassment from the grouse-shooting community, much of it played out in the national media. In the end, coupled with the continuing raptor persecution and subsequent denials, it has helped this industry’s fall from grace.

A quote from Chris this morning:

“In the end you can’t argue with science, you can’t argue with evidence, you can’t argue with the truth. And the truth is that people are fed up with this ‘tradition’, the injustice and the lies. One hundred thousand people just started to make the world a better place for wildlife and every single one of them will be remembered for that”.

v happy Copy

The petition is still open (until 20 Sept 2016) – HERE

12
Aug
16

Game over: Marks & Spencer abandons grouse sales, again

Mon 20 July CopyMarks & Spencer has announced it will not stock red grouse this year.

Using the same excuse as it did last year (see here), M&S claims there are not enough red grouse available from its (unidentified) source estate. What M&S don’t say is that there is probably considerable nervousness amongst the Board that had they stocked red grouse this year, the first customer through the door would be Mark Avery, who had promised (here) to test the M&S grouse for lead levels. It could have been embarrassing for M&S, just as it was for Iceland stores last year (see here).

Read the full M&S statement here.

The statement includes a bit more information about the ‘exclusive’ estate in question, saying that ‘many different raptor species, including hen harriers, thrive there’.

Hmm. Given that they’ve previously said this estate is in Scotland, the only driven grouse moor that we’re aware of where hen harriers could be said to be ‘thriving’ is Langholm. Are other raptors ‘thriving’ there? Many are doing pretty well, although if Mark Oddy has his way (see here), buzzards may not be very welcome for long.

The statement also waxes lyrical about M&S’s unique ‘Code of Practice for sourcing red grouse’ and how M&S hopes this Code will ‘help the whole industry learn and improve’. It would help if M&S published this Code but so far, they’ve refused.

Anyway, for now, the news that M&S will not be selling red grouse this year is a good result.

This is turning in to the best Inglorious 12th ever, especially as the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting has just soared past 92,000 signatures.

12
Aug
16

Ministerial reaction to ‘missing’ golden eagles

Following yesterday’s news that eight young satellite-tagged golden eagles have ‘disappeared’ in the Monadhliaths in the last five years (see here), we were interested to read the response from Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment.

Here’s the statement that appeared on the Scottish Government’s website:

The Scottish Government has ordered a review of satellite tracking data, following reports from RSPB Scotland that a number of golden eagles have disappeared in the Monadhliath mountains.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “The latest reports of satellite-tagged golden eagles disappearing on or near grouse moors are very disturbing and disappointing. That is why I have instructed officials to analyse the evidence from around 90 surviving and missing satellite-tagged eagles, to discover if there is a pattern of suspicious activity.

Grouse moor management does help species such as curlew and golden plover as well as generating much needed rural employment and income but this cannot be at any price. The public rightly expects all businesses in Scotland to obey the law. Let me be clear: grouse shooting is no exception.

As previously stated, the Scottish Government is prepared to introduce further regulation of shooting businesses if necessary. It will be unfortunate if the activities of a few bring further regulation on the whole sector, but that is the risk those why defy the law and defy public opinion are running“.

END

Yesterday we described her call for a review of satellite-tag data as ‘fatuous’ (see here). Not because such a review is unwelcome; it isn’t. But because the reason given for the review – ‘to discover if there is a pattern of suspicious activity’ – suggests that the pattern of activity is currently unknown. That’s as ridiculous as it gets. Of course the pattern of illegal persecution is already known, and has been for decades. Endless peer-reviewed scientific papers and government reports on golden eagles, hen harriers, red kites and peregrines have unequivocally linked the illegal killing of these raptors with intensively-managed driven grouse moors. Why pretend that this is all news? Why pretend nobody knows what’s been going on?

Taking the example of the Monadhliaths, this area has been a known eagle persecution blackspot since the 1970s! Have a look at this article that was published in the Scotsman on 11 March 1993 (we blogged about it here):

the_mountains_where_eagles_die_map-compressed2

To be fair, in recent years a number of more enlightened landowners in this area have been working closely with conservationists, resulting in a small increase in golden eagle survival on a few local estates, but as clearly seen from yesterday’s news, there are still other estates in the Monadhliaths that have yet to drag their sorry backsides away from the (now illegal) ‘management’ practices of the 19th Century.

Nevertheless, we do welcome the news that the Cabinet Secretary is actually doing something this time, instead of just churning out the same tired old Government rhetoric of ‘We will not hesitate to take further action if necessary’. It is necessary and we do expect to see ‘further action’ without any more stalling or prevarication. If you hear hooves, Cabinet Secretary, look for horses, not zebras.

But it’s not just the reaction of the Environment Cabinet Secretary that interests us. It turns out that another Cabinet Secretary should be taking more of an interest than most. Fergus Ewing MSP is the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity. He also happens to be the Member of the Scottish Parliament representing the constituency of Inverness and Nairn.

If you look at the map of Fergus’s constituency, and then look at the map showing the last known locations of those eight satellite-tagged golden eagles, you’ll see that a good few of the points where the eagles were last recorded lie within Fergus’s constituency boundary.

Inverness Nairn constituency map

FergusEwing Constituency Monadhliaths

ge disappeared

Now, we know that Fergus’s job is to represent the interests of ALL his constituents (estimated at 66,619 voters, according to his website). We know he does a good job of representing the interests of a tiny fraction of those constituents who are involved with the game-shooting industry – here’s a picture of him attending the Moy Game Fair last weekend – and is that a Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association tie around his neck?

fergus ewing sga tie

But what about the interests of the tens of thousands of his other constituents? We’re pretty sure that most, if not all, will be appalled to discover what’s still going on in their area. What will Fergus be doing about that?

Will he be encouraging his constituents to sign this petition calling for the Scottish Government to introduce a licensing scheme for all gamebird hunting?

A good many of his constituents have already signed this other petition, calling for an outright ban on driven grouse shooting (which has just smashed through 90,000 signatures, on it’s way to 100,000 and a parliamentary debate in Westminster).

We’ll watch with interest to see what both these Cabinet Secretaries do next.

12
Aug
16

Case against gamekeeper Stanley Gordon re: shot hen harrier, part 4

scales-of-justiceCriminal proceedings continued at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday against Scottish gamekeeper Stanley Gordon.

Mr Gordon, 60, of Cabrach, Moray, is facing charges in connection with the alleged shooting of a hen harrier in June 2013.

The case continued without plea and the next hearing will be 1st September 2016.

Previous blogs on this case herehere and here

 

 

 




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