Ah, now it all makes sense. We had wondered about the timing of yesterday’s article by the Gift of Grouse campaign, claiming that ‘raptors are thriving on Scottish grouse moors’ (see here). Why publish it when they did? There was bound to be a reason, and it looks like we’ve just found it.
The Scottish Petitions Committee is currently considering a petition from the Scottish Raptor Study Group (SRSG) urging the Government to introduce licensing for all gamebird hunting in Scotland. In October, the Committee heard evidence from the SRSG and RSPB Scotland in support of the petition (see here).
Following this evidence session, the Scottish Moorland Group (part of Scottish Land & Estates) and BASC wrote letters of complaint to the Petitions Committee accusing the petitioners of making “inflammatory and far-fetched claims” (see here) and asked for an opportunity to provide their own evidence, a request to which the Petitions Committee, quite rightly, agreed.
Yesterday, the Petitions Committee announced that evidence from BASC and the Scottish Moorland Group will be heard this Thursday (8 December 2016).
We suggest that yesterday’s Gift of Grouse article was timed to create favourable media coverage in the run up to this Thursday’s evidence session. Sadly (for them), the media coverage wasn’t as supportive as they’d probably hoped it would be, with RSPB Scotland denouncing it as “a pile of risible, make-believe tosh“.
Thursday’s evidence session begins at 09.30am in Committee Room 5 and can be watched on Holyrood TV here. We’ll be watching and providing a commentary shortly afterwards.