BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme this morning featured a 30 minute discussion about raptor persecution. The interviewees included Duncan Orr-Ewing (RSPB Scotland), Logan Steele (Scottish Raptor Study Group), Tim (Kim) Baynes (Scottish Moorland Group) and Derek Calder (Head Gamekeeper, Edinglassie Estate).
The programme’s presenter, Euan McIlwraith, said he wanted to ‘get under the skin’ of those on both sides of this issue, but to be honest, he didn’t really achieve that. It was basically the same old arguments, with the conservationists putting forward the scientific evidence of widespread and recurrent persecution that is having population-level effects on some species, and the grouse-shooting lobby denying that raptor persecution is still a problem.
McIlwraith suggested to both sides that they should be talking to one another, failing to understand that ‘talking’ has been done for decades and has been an abject failure.
One thing that was clear was Tim (Kim) Baynes’ dislike of the publicity generated by illegal persecution, and especially on social media. He argued that rather than the RSPB putting out press releases about these crimes, they should instead ‘come and talk to the estate, say look, we’ve got this problem, something’s happened, you know, can you talk to us, help us sort it out’. Yeah Tim, ‘cos asking suspected criminals, who know they won’t be brought to justice, to ‘help sort out’ crimes is a winning strategy.
If the grouse shooting lobby want the negative press to end, there’s an easy solution: stop killing raptors.
The programme is available on iPlayer for the next 29 days (listen here).