Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing condemns the criminals killing raptors on Scottish grouse moors

Last week we criticised Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing for his apparent failure to speak out on illegal raptor persecution, especially following the news that yet another satellite-tagged golden eagle had ‘disappeared’ from a grouse moor within his constituency; a constituency that has been a hotbed of illegal raptor killing for many, many years.

For those of you not on Twitter, this afternoon Mr Ewing responded by publishing a series of tweets, condemning the continued illegal killing of raptors on Scottish grouse moors. We very much welcome his statement:

18 Responses to “Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing condemns the criminals killing raptors on Scottish grouse moors”

  1. 1 Tim Dixon
    March 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    Well we haven’t won yet, but this apparent Damascene conversion shows that the tide is most definitely turning.
    Just need to keep the pressure up folks.

  2. 2 Alister J Clunas
    March 22, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Better late then never. One wonders if he has been pressured to comment and by whom. Hopefully by social media and RPUK.
    Has there been a Damascene conversion?
    Or shall we see him revert to type and be eloquently promoting the “good” work of keepers at the Moy Game Fair later this year?
    We shall see.

  3. 3 Alan
    March 22, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Not sure politics often does Damascene conversions but this is very welcome and will surely send ripples through the shooters’ world. There’s nothing like feeling you’ve had absolute protection and then seeing that tide starting to turn. Well done RPUK.

  4. 4 Ricky B
    March 22, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Whilst Mr Ewings comments are welcome they do come over as somewhat forced and having to say the right thing. Unfortunately his past record and comments suggest he will not deal with the landowners who are employing those that are killing Scotlands wildlife and damaging valuable habitats.

    Words are cheap, SNP have yet to show they are the party to trust with Scotlands wildlife.

    Lets not forget they turned down the offer of free expert assistance by the SSPCA for what has become a “depressingly familiar” problem.

    Vote Green

    • 5 BSA
      March 23, 2018 at 12:44 am

      Instead of havering about the SSPCA and the Greens why not focus on the win here, which is that a powerful ally of grouse shooting has publicly rejected the denial, obfuscation and trivialisation which have been grouse shooting’s traditional response to the evidence. The three takeaway points are that he acknowledged that raptor persecution is a major problem, that it is focused on driven grouse moors and that the folk involved are criminals. Whether he is personally sincere or not is neither here nor there ; what is more significant is that he has publicly acknowledged the evidence and left the SLE and their friends more isolated and less credible on raptor persecution, which is the most immediate problem. It has taken a very long time to shift opinion this far, a lot longer than the SNP have been in power.

      • 6 Ricky B
        March 23, 2018 at 11:38 am


        I started by acknowledging and welcoming the acknowledgement by Mr Ewing.
        However i am very sceptical given he is surrounded by dead eagles and harriers one of which is in his own constictencey. He has very little choice but to condemn these criminal acts.

        As for focus on a win, there is only a win if some positive action comes from it.

        Fergus Ewing and SNP appear to be adopting an independence at all costs strategy. This includes sacrificing our wildlife and environment.

  5. 7 Simon Tucker
    March 22, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    A welcome intervention – but I suspect that he has been forced into this position by his repeated failure to speak out in the past.

  6. March 22, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    I can’t help but feel that if he actually spoke these words rather than type them they’d be said in exactly the same tone as my 10 year old when I make him apologise to his little sister. Still, it’s a step forward.

    • 9 dave angel
      March 23, 2018 at 10:29 am

      I know what you mean. Reading the tweets brought this to mind.

      Nonetheless a welcome development, not because there’s been any change in Ewing’s outlook (there hasn’t), but because he’s been forced in to having to say something. That suggests the good guys within the SNP government are gaining the upper hand on this issue.

  7. 10 Northern Diver
    March 22, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    But it’s not just the killing of raptors is it?
    It’s the killing of hares, badgers, stoats, weasels, corvids and the overburning (killing insects, snakes & lizards), scarring tracks, air pollution, lead pollution , medicated grit, reduced bio-diversity, removal of trees, increased run-off worsening flooding, particulates polluting water supply, tax-payers subsidising shotgun licences. ……… Have I missed anything? Oh yes – noise pollution in the shooting season and the loss of reputation of the UK as a wildlife law-abiding country.

    • 11 Chris Roberts
      March 23, 2018 at 12:02 am

      Very well said, Northern Diver.

      • 12 Pip
        March 23, 2018 at 1:13 am

        All very true, but many of these points are already covered by some form of legislation if it were only enforced by the relevant body – which it evidently isn’t. For instance, where do the exceptionally potent chemicals used to poison wildlife come from? Someone must be supplying them and I’m pretty sure there’s a whole raft of legislation surrounding dealing in these – is that enforced? Devil the bit of it. It’s all becoming too depressing for words. And I’ve said it before but I have no confidence in either the police or the Procurator Fiscal / CPS ability to bring any case to a successful conclusion – many good individuals let down by an ineffective system (and I don’t care what political party of paper pushing chair polishing nonentities holds sway either). Pip

    • March 25, 2018 at 9:40 am

      exactly Northern Diver. are most of the brutal crimes committed by landowners game keepers or who?

  8. 14 Raptor rights
    March 23, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Damage limitation comes to mind!

  9. 15 Alba52
    March 23, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Fergus Ewings comments are a welcome change even if long overdue whatever the circumstances.
    However, you don’t become Cabinet Secretary by being politically naive, So a change of heart? I doubt it. ‘Feet held to the fire’ by someone at Holyrood? Quite possibly. Or Fergus Ewing sees the tide of public opinion turning regarding the illegal persecution of our birds of prey and knows which side his ‘breads buttered on’ regarding hanging onto his seat at the ballot box.

  10. 16 George M
    March 23, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Yup, the proof of the pudding lies in increased conviction rates and legislation to allow more effective methods of achieving that aim.Those in his constituency have historically and consistently persecuted birds of prey with seeming impunity as regards to those charged with enforcing compliance. This breeds over confidence in those engaged in raptor persecution thus making it much easier to actually catch them. A couple of successful prosecutions in his area might go a long way accepting his position as an MSP and reduce the pressure to initiate a campaign to unseat him at the next election. Those who benefit from tourism could quite easily be persuaded to vote for another candidate who frequently illustrates their commitment to ending these crimes which are having a direct affect on their income as tourists decide to go west.

  11. 17 kevinj
    March 23, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    If only he was in a position of power where he could do something about it.
    Maybe in a few years he will get beyond just words.
    Although being the wrong side of the border and in a tory safe seat even words are better than what I get from my local representative.

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