Raven cull: latest update

Somebody posted a comment yesterday to ask what was happening with the raven cull, so here are a few updates:

As far as we are aware, the controversial raven cull continues in Strathbraan.

The raven cull has become an international embarrassment for SNH and the Scottish Government – see this excellent blog by Dr Rob Sheldon.

There was an interesting segment on BBC Springwatch last night showing footage of sheep predating lapwing and curlew eggs (available on BBC iPlayer here for 29 days, starts at 48.26 mins). There was also mention of a research paper that showed sheep had killed and eaten at least 680 Arctic Tern chicks on Foula over a seven-year period. Here is a link to that paper: Furness 1988 Predation of tern chicks by sheep

It would be interesting to find out if any studies of sheep predation on waders has taken place in Strathbraan, prior to SNH’s decision to licence the killing of ravens ‘to see what happens’.

[Raven photo by Dieter Schaeffer]

Despite concerted efforts by many people lobbying their MSPs to support Alison Johnstone’s Parliamentary motion calling for the raven cull licence to be withdrawn, so far only 14 MSPs have signed up (as of noon today):

Patrick Harvie (Greens), John Finnie (Greens), Andy Wightman (Greens), Ross Greer (Greens), Mark Ruskell (Greens), Claudia Beamish (Labour), Iain Gray (Labour), Daniel Johnson (Labour), Colin Smyth (Labour), Johann Lamont (Labour), Liam McArthur (Liberal Democrats), Tavish Scott (Liberal Democrats), Christine Grahame (SNP) and Mairi Gougeon (SNP).

[UPDATE 2pm: Anas Sarwar (Labour) has now also signed]

Disappointingly, several SNP MSPs have been sending out a generic response, claiming that this is an ‘operational matter for SNH rather than the Scottish Government’, although Graeme Dey (SNP) reportedly sent out his own personal response which included the statement:

I note your comment regarding consulting with the RSPB. And I understand where you are coming from. But in my experience you cannot engage with that organisation on matters such as this and arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. The RSPB is opposed to any measures such as these even when they might be designed to protect other bird species“.

That’s quite a statement from the convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee (and it’s also inaccurate – the RSPB has and does undertake predator control and hasn’t tried to hide it – e.g. see here). If Graeme Dey MSP thinks the RSPB ‘cannot be engaged with’ on issues of bird conservation, on what issues does he think the RSPB can be engaged to arrive at ‘a satisfactory conclusion’ (whatever that means)?

Alison’s motion requires 30 signatures by 11 June to progress to a Parliamentary debate but this, unfortunately, looks unlikely. It also seems unlikely that the Scottish Government has any plans to step in and intervene.

So where does that leave us?

Watch this space…..


44 Responses to “Raven cull: latest update”

  1. 1 Chris Batchelor
    May 30, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    I saw that Springwatch item and wondered when the gamekeepers would start culling sheep.

  2. May 30, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Graeme Dey’s position is clearly untenable: Sturgeon needs to sack him as he is clearly not impartial.

  3. 5 Al Woodcock
    May 30, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Excellent article, and thanks for the update. I see this morning, that Chris Packham is being attacked by the Ian Botham fan club, for ‘telling lies’ about the deer and sheep eating waders eggs, just as I predicted last night as I watched Springwatch. Did none of the actually see the video, I wonder? And Chris Packham is absolutely correct, it would be interesting to see the impact that these ruminants are having on waders, if any.

  4. May 30, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Rhoda Grant in response and on behalf of her colleague David Stewart, implied that Labour were supporting Alison Johnston’e motion. Reading this again, Rhoda does not categorically say she and David Stewart will sign it themselves. Here is her reply in full: ”
    Thank you for your email on such an important issue. Please note that I am replying on behalf of myself as well as my colleague, David Stewart MSP.

    Nearly 35,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to scrap a “mass cull” of ravens. SNH has launched a five-year pilot project to protect ground-nesting birds including curlews from predators. But the scheme, which involves issuing licenses for a cull of ravens at Strathbraan in Perthshire, has sparked public outcry and conservation groups have hit back.

    My Scottish Labour colleagues have supported motion S5M – 11986 by Alison Johnstone MSP, entitled ‘Stop The Raven Cull.’ Our Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Claudia Beamish MSP, has written to Scottish Natural Heritage with urgent questions on the wisdom of instigating a cull of 300 ravens on an experimental basis which has no control measure in place to measure the impact on the wader population. Ms Beamish has also submitted a number of Parliamentary questions to clarify whether SNG now intends to recind the licences in the face of a growing public outcry. I have copied the relevant responses below for your information.

    Kind regards,

    Rhoda Grant MSP
    Parliamentary Business Manager and Women & Equality Spokesperson
    Representing the Highlands and Islands

  5. 7 Ron Bury
    May 30, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    I wrote to Kate Forbes MSP Highland and received the following:

    ‘Thank you for your letter concerning the recent decision by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to licence a research project in the Strathbraan area of Perthshire, which will involve the culling of ravens. This project is designed to assess the impact of predation by ravens on endangered wader species such as curlew and lapwing.

    I am sure you will agree that it is vital that urgent action is taken to protect waders – the latest data shows curlew numbers fell by 61% in Scotland between 1995 and 2016. Lapwing populations fell by 57% over the same period.

    I understand why the decision to issue a licence has proved controversial and I am aware of the concerns of those who are opposed to the project. However, the issuing of such licences is an operational matter for SNH rather than the Scottish Government. I was interested to learn that SNH has asked its Scientific Advisory Committee to carry out a review and I will follow that inquiry closely.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to repeat my condemnation of the illegal persecution of birds of prey in Scotland’s countryside. Such persecution is unacceptable and must stop.

    I wish to see a future in which SNH, environmental groups, landowners and gamekeepers, are able to work collaboratively to protect and enhance Scotland’s magnificent natural environment.

    Thanks again for raising this with me.’

    This made me so angry that I replied with this:

    ‘I deeply appreciate your replying to my letter regarding this issue and would agree wholeheartedly with you that appropriate action should be taken to redress any significant population decline of waders or any other naturally occurring species, and especially where it is due to human actions. If i believed for one minute that the population of ravens in the area in question had anything to do with any such decline and could be convinced that any decision reached by SNH regarding this matter was based on proper science then I wouldn’t have a word to say against it, but in this instance it seems so blatantly obvious to me that this is not the case.

    If SNH and the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders were truly working for the benefit of the wader population in the area in question then they should be looking at land use, degradation and destruction of habitat; and if it is really felt that ravens are having any impact on wader numbers then they should be instigating a science based survey of ravens feeding habits in that area before undertaking any form of remedial action. I see no evidence that they have done any of this but instead have gone straight for a raven cull to (in their words) “see what will happen”. That is far removed from a responsible science based decision making process as you can get and we all know what is going to happen. Ravens will be killed in such large numbers that it will take years for any population recovery in the area and there is no way that you or anyone else can convince me that unbiased monitoring of culling numbers will ever be possible.

    The “Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders” is a consortium of driven grouse shooting estates as can be seen on this map of the raven cull zone at Strathbraan by RPUK. Boundary line in yellow; grouse moor boundaries in white.

    This raven cull licence application has all the hallmarks of a cynical ploy by this consortium, to greenwash their activities and apply credibility to their desire to kill anything they see as a threat to the financial success of their “killing for fun” enterprizes.
    Nothing is going to convince me, or many others, that this consortium cares one iota for wader populations in the area but has seized upon the opportunity to take advantage of this fantasy you all seem to have about stakeholders in a joint enterprise all working together for the common good whiles’t conveniently overlooking the fact that some or all have agendas driven by greater forces, that will never be in the public or national interest.

    I’m afraid that some landowners and more likely the agents who work on their behalf to optimize driven grouse shooting estates will never have the same environmental interests and agendas as those who truly value Scotland and its natural heritage. Their only interest is making money, more often than not at the expense of the environment and all that lives in it. To consider them guardians of the countryside is like putting a fox in your hen house to guard the chickens. As such they require the same amount of regulation as that of any other organisation whose only interest is to capitalise their holdings.

    The regulation of sporting estates is conspicuous by its absence and is long overdue.

    As for this being an operational decision taken by SNH, well normally I would agree but in an instance like this where the decision making is so apparently biased and compromised, it should then be subject to government and public scrutiny

    What I see is a government which is prepared to jump into bed with just about anybody who supports their financial aspirations despite the fact that it can lead to building golf courses on SSSI’s, the mass shooting of wildlife in national parks and is generally to the detriment of scotland’s natural environment. Look around you. Scotland’s upland areas are a dramatic desert of rock, grass and burnt heather brought about by the actions of past and present landowners pursuing their own selfish interests with no thought for the legacy they leave to future generations. These areas are so ecologically impoverished that it will take many lifetimes of concerted effort to bring all of them back to how they should be. Then and only then will the scottish government be in a position to promote Scotland as a wildlife haven destination.

    What I believe is that people in a position of public service should have the moral fortitude to see beyond this form of subterfuge and do the right thing by asking the appropriate questions and supporting, in this case the Parliamentary motion lodged three weeks ago by Alison Johnstone MSP raising political concerns about the Strathbraan raven cull licence and calling for its immediate withdrawal. She also called for SNH to withdraw the use of the Open General Licence in this area in response to the catalogue of confirmed and suspected wildlife crimes recorded in recent years.

    If you are truly against wildlife persecution then I hope you will reconsider this matter by adding your support to the above mentioned Parliamentary motion and hopefully try to persuade other MSP’s who haven’t already done so.’

    I haven’t received a response yet but I won’t be leaving it there.

    • 8 Alan Drever
      May 30, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Excellent response to Kate Forbes. She hasn’t even given me the courtesy of a reply….

    • 9 Iain Gibson
      May 30, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      An excellent and comprehensive response, Ron Bury, and well argued, although we can only hope that Kate Forbes MSP reads and fully understands your words. There seems to to be something incredibly sinister going on here, and the culprits in SNH are working flat out to justify possibly the worst decision they have ever made. Every now and again we detect the wording of a briefing to a politician which amounts not only to a cover-up in terms of public misinformation, but a dishonest or disingenuous attempt to mislead elected representatives. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a couple of days off from being immersed in the whole debate to appreciate how surreal it is all becoming. SNH has been bombarded with information from various highly credited professional biologists, and amateur but learned ornithologists which should have overwhelmingly made SNH understand their massive error, but no, they remain stubbornly determined to believe the lies that must go down as one of the greatest con tricks ever in UK nature conservation. Not only that, but it becomes ever clearer that they have deliberately ignored the ethical process of consulting a range of stakeholders, including RSPB (who represent over one million members!), and various other ecological and ornithological bodies like BTO, SOC and the Raptor Study Group, who treat Ravens as “honorary raptors” requiring as much research to develop conservation strategies. I have yet to see or hear any reasoned argument in favour of even an experimental Raven cull from any such body or individual expert. On a personal level, I find myself utterly sick at the thought of gamekeepers out there killing as many Ravens as they can with impunity, and laughing up there sleeves as they do it. My own love of the bird and understanding of the perils confronting it at all times, strengthens my belief that the species deserves full protection, full stop. The gamekeepers and farmers, etc., probably can’t believe their success in fooling SNH senior officers into granting them licence, and the sound of popping champagne corks must be ringing across the glens at night.

      • 10 Mike
        May 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

        Yet again Iain – that’s it , ‘in a nut shell’. Thank you for succinctly summing up exactly what many of us believe to be the situation.

  6. 11 Alba52
    May 30, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I also have exactly the same reply from Rhoda Grant MSP on behalf of David Stewart MSP as well. I’ve been wondering who all these Labour MSP’s are that have supported the motion but not signed it. Disappointingly no reply at all as yet from Kate Forbes MSP or Maree Todd MSP. Begining to wonder if these Highland MSP’s are reluctant to sign in order to avoid upsetting too many crofters.

  7. 13 The Fifer
    May 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    I saw the article on Springwatch last night. Two things sprung to mind, I imagine Chris was biting his tongue not to say anything about the stupid SNH Raven cull in Perthshire. Secondly we should set up a bogus wader protection partnership and apply to SNH for a trial sheep cull in order to protect waders.

    • 14 Anon
      May 30, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Replies like this makes the argument seem so ridiculous and uninformed.

      Who at SNH are you going to apply to? Sheep are not protected under any legislation that SNH enforce.

  8. 15 Alex Milne
    May 30, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    I’m sure SNH are aware (but might prefer that they did not) that the RSPB is carrying out a “Curlew Trial Management Project” in Scotland involving predator control, and proper scientific assessment of the performance of the measures. It is in it’s fourth year and is covered in a blog here
    It is a huge pity that SNH have decided to “just see what happens” without any scientific input or monitoring whilst allowing grouse moor owners to kill more Ravens than exist in the trial area.
    The RSPB trial has a research assistant at each trial site for the whole of the breeding system. I assume that SNH will have good coverage of the trial area they are proposing.

  9. 17 Marco McGinty
    May 30, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    I highlighted the sheep predation issue when the Raven cull was mentioned, asking if SNH had removed, or would be removing sheep, from the study area.

    Let’s remember, that to instigate such culls, all non-lethal methods should have been trialled before any cull takes place, so did SNH consider removing sheep in an effort to protect waders?

    Of course not, because as we all know, the whole thing is being done to pander to the farming industry, and of course the environmentally destructive shooting industry.

  10. May 30, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t think it’s of a surprise to anyone the sheep and deer will occasionally eat eggs.
    But, it is not common place.
    One of the reasons that waders are using thes area, is because of the grazing regimes in place! No deer & no sheep mean high award height = no waders ( which is exactly what RSPB say)
    RSPB do “quietly ” promote predator control, the difference here is that Ravens have some protection under law.
    We need a bit a pragmatism here and I see no movement on the anti cull side, where as there has been on the cull side?

  11. 19 Rachel Bell
    May 30, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Exactly the same response from my MSP Ben Macpherson- are we talking to a bot?

    Ben notes your views on the recent decision by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to licence this research project, which will regrettably involve the culling of ravens. Ben has been informed that this project is designed to assess the impact of predation by ravens on endangered wader species such as curlew and lapwing. The latest data shows curlew numbers fell by 61% in Scotland between 1995 and 2016. Lapwing populations fell by 57% over the same period. Therefore, Ben understands that it is argued that urgent action is needed to protect these endangered species.

    The issuing of such licences is an operational matter for SNH, rather than the Scottish Government, and it is SNH who have made this decision. SNH has asked its Scientific Advisory Committee to carry out a review. As you will appreciate, the motion calls: “…for the withdrawal of the research licence and the removal of the open general licence in this area as a matter of urgency.” Therefore, Ben feels that this motion, as written, would prejudge the work of the Scientific Advisory Committee.

    However, Ben understand why the decision to issue a licence has proved controversial and he sympathises with your concerns. Therefore, Ben has written to Mike Cantlay, the Chair of SNH, to ask for further details of the review and to ask to be kept informed of its outcome. If you wish, I can keep you informed of any response on this matter which we receive from SNH.

    Then when I sent more information/objections, i had a reply ‘too late, he has sent the email already’

    • 20 Secret Squirrel
      May 30, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      Not a bot, but like most politicians (and the SNP are particulalry well controlled in this regard) when they get a question they have no expertise or interest in, they rely on the answer given by their officials

  12. 21 ICT
    May 30, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    The Scottish Goverment/SNP, a progressive government/party, who are they kidding!

    • 22 Marco McGinty
      May 30, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      That’s the odd thing. At times, they can be relatively progressive, but on other occasions they are firmly stuck in the dark ages.

      The best thing that anyone can do, would be to vote for independence, and allow other parties to flourish as the SNP disintegrate post-independence. Otherwise, we will have the SNP governing Scotland for the foreseeable future, and unless the people of England rapidly change their voting habits, which seems highly unlikely, it will be the Tories at Westminster for the long term.

      • 23 dave angel
        May 30, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        The SNP has no plans to dissolve itself post independence, though frankly it’s entirely academic as it’s not going to happen. Sorry to be so blunt.

        For the moment we are stuck with them in power, trying to be all things to all people, and facing both ways on most issues, including this one.

        We just have to keep chipping away, making progress as best we can.

        • 24 Marco McGinty
          May 30, 2018 at 9:33 pm

          I didn’t say they would dissolve, but I believe that the party would become severely fractured, and having achieved one of its main aims, people would naturally look to other parties.

          The fact remains, that there are many pro-independence voters out there, and due to the Greens not fielding constituency candidates in most areas, the SNP is the only party they can vote for. They certainly won’t vote for parties that are completely against independence, so unless independence is achieved, the SNP will most probably control Scotland for another decade or two.

      • 25 Iain Gibson
        May 30, 2018 at 7:54 pm

        If anyone doesn’t see the horrible political cocktail that Marco foretells, they must have a poor understanding of politics. When will we ever get it right, or as near to that as possible? The current Raven debate is as political as it gets.

  13. 26 ICT
    May 30, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    It’s a long time since I voted SNP Marco. Voting Green is far preferable.

    • 27 Marco McGinty
      May 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Fair enough, but the Greens don’t field constituency candidates in most areas. I don’t recall ever seeing a Green candidate in my constituency, only list candidates. Even the LibDems, who probably have more money than the Greens, only field paper candidates.

  14. 28 Alan
    May 30, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    My MSP, Daniel Johnson, didn’t seem to find any difficulties in signing:

    “Thank you for your e-mail in regards to the raven cull. I am happy to tell you that I have signed the motion.

    I can also advise my Shadow Cabinet colleague Claudia Beamish, on the Environment brief, has written to Scottish Natural Heritage with urgent questions on this matter, as well as submitting a number of Parliamentary questions.”

    And quite right too. I recognise the delegation of powers to an agency, but if that agency makes a decision that is highly controversial, perhaps in breach of applicable law and raising important policy questions, then the Parliament has a clear role in debating whether it should be called to account. Anything else is a cop-out.

  15. 29 George M
    May 30, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I’ve viewed Graeme Dey as the Laird’s man for quite some time now. To me, and of course I might be wrong, the very fact that he is Convener for the Environmernt, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee is the perfect example of hegemonic power at work in sensitive areas. He is also co-convener of the Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament for Rural Policy and a member of the SPGSP on Tourism. Funnily enough he has managed to land himself a position a a member of the Public Petitions Committee. These are all areas where large land owners have important interests. With a background in journalism courtesy of D C Thomson it all builds up into a very influential portfolio. A successor to Fergus Ewing perhaps??

    • 30 Secret Squirrel
      May 30, 2018 at 11:29 pm

      Interesting, writing for DC Thompson is hardly the breeding ground for the social/progressive policies that typify the modern SNP. Perhaps Graeme is a throwback to the rural SNP/Tartan Tories of the past.

  16. 31 Bill Gilmour
    May 30, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Yes, somewhat like Rachel Bell, I too received a long email from Lisa Clark, writing for Ben Macpherson and I can assure you, on her authority, that there is no problem of any kind in the SNP Scottish Government, SNH or in Strathbran. In reply, I countered some of that but have not seen a reply.

    On the 23 May, RPUK covered Claudia Beamish’s (Labour Shadow Environment Sec) question to Rosanna Cunningham, which (I thought) made it clear that there is not a hair’s breadth between SNH and the SNP Government.

    On the 10 May, Kezia Dugdale, also put question to the Cabinent Secretary, To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to protect birds of prey from persecution.
    The reply was:

    The Scottish Government has taken a number of actions to protect birds of prey from persecution. These include:
    • Introduced vicarious liability so that landowners can be held responsible for crimes against wild birds committed by their employees;
    • Set up a poisons disposal scheme to remove poisons used to kill wild birds;
    • Introduced restrictions on licences for those operating on land where it is suspected that wildlife crime has taken place;
    • Commissioned a report into the disappearance of satellite-tagged golden eagles, which showed that of around one third which have disappeared in suspicious circumstances many were in clusters on or near driven grouse moorland;
    • Set up an independent group to examine options for regulating grouse shooting businesses, including the possibility of licensing this activity;
    • Provided financial support through Scottish Natural Heritage to fund over £100,000 of satellite-tagging work since 2009;
    • Provided finance for an additional wildlife crime detective post at the National Crime Campus;
    • Provided finance for a pilot project of a new group of Special Constables recruited and trained to tackle wildlife crime in the Cairngorms National Park, which will be rolled out across Scotland if the pilot is successful;
    • Police Scotland have senior officers responsible for overseeing work against wildlife crime. They also have wildlife crime liaison officers in every police division in Scotland, plus more than 100 officers with wildlife crime training;
    • The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has a dedicated Wildlife and Environmental Crimes Unit with experienced prosecutors tackling wildlife crime;
    • Provided ongoing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU);
    • Provided ongoing funding through the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime Scotland to support the RSPB Investigations Team;
    • Recently announced the successful outcome of research work carried out by the Scottish Police Authority, Scottish Government and University of Strathclyde which will enable recovery of human DNA from traps and baits intended for raptors;
    • Supported new work at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture to develop databases of golden eagle and hen harrier DNA, which will help investigate wildlife crime.”

    That all sounds good but what is the use on Vicarious Liability, when no one has been questioned, never mind charged and prosecuted. Or Restricted Licences, when these are given out or withheld in secrecy. How many people has the Crown Office’s dedicated Wildlife and Environmental Crimes Unit prosecuted? What is the use of 100 trained officer, when (according to one I spoke to about ten days ago) only 8 out of 13 Divisions of Police Scotland have a Wildlife Officer. That is, only 8 officers do the job!

  17. 32 BSA
    May 30, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Predictable anti Scottish Government one liners in the comments here again. For the vast majority of people the world does not revolve around ravens (or eagles for that matter) and they know nothing about the species or the issue. That probably explains the very low numbers of MSPs from all three main parties who have signed up for the motion. Did you really expect anything else ? What planet are you on ? Credit to the Greens but they are not going to form a government any time soon. Graeme Dey SNP talks nonsense but the SNP have been responsible for all the legislation in the UK so far to deal with grouse moor criminals. That’s politics. Any party is a broad church, but if you think anyone at all from any of the three British puppet parties are going to take action on ravens or raptors then the best of luck with that.
    Some of us have waited decades for the level of political engagement and legislation we have now on raptors. MSPs and the public largely see that as a simple matter of criminal activity against iconic species. The raven cull involves different and more complex ecological and political issues altogether and it will take time to educate people as RPUK and a few others have done with raptors. Demanding instant gratification on an issue like this just because you happen to think it’s important is infantile.

    • 33 Bill Gilmour
      May 31, 2018 at 9:45 am

      BSA, I agree it will take time to persuade people. The wider public and politicians in government and opposition. For the sake of the birds, that should be sooner rather than later. Whether you like them or lump them, with today’s public and politicians.

      How? Well, instead of railing against landowners and keepers, we should develop press officers, who are as good, as quick, as well connected, as for instance, the SGA’s. Yes, that’s right, the SGA’s. To counter them you have to be as good or better. Who thinks we are?

      What else? That’s open to all opinions. Personally, I would have a constant go at SNH’s secrecy, as this blog does. Secrecy is undemocratic and unscientific and leads to bad decisions.

      Oh, and I would stop abusing the BBC. (In the 90s, I worked in their drama department for about four months.) People might disagree with this or that report, comment or reporter but the BBC puts more money and muscle into green films than any other broadcaster in the world. They are the biggest and best friend you will ever have. The green movement should develop contacts amongst reporters and producers in both the BBC and STV and beyond them, in the local and national press.

      • 34 BSA
        May 31, 2018 at 4:34 pm

        Very few people abuse the BBC ; plenty of people are very critical of the BBC and with considerable justification. Its news and current affairs in Scotland are Disney productions with very little critical examination of establishment views. That comes from a combination of mediocrity and institutional bias and the fact that it lifts its news agenda directly from the press – the most right wing and manipulative press in Europe. The media is not interested in the truth. You can see that in the fawning coverage by the BBC and the press of raptor persecution. It has taken the rise of websites like RPUK to blow the cosy media consensus apart and actually inform and mobilise people. Do really think Reporting Scotland is going to abandon ‘chip pan fire in Airdrie’ and ‘The Old Firm’ for a critical view of the environment ? Do you really believe that Reporting Scotland will ever honestly reflect what is happening in Scotland at all ?

  18. 35 The Fifer
    May 31, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    If anyone has a managed to get a place on tonight’s Question Time in Perth, Kate Forbes is on the panel. Perhaps a question about Raptor Persecution / Ravens would make for an interesting discussion

  19. 36 Bill Gilmour
    May 31, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    A couple of weeks ago, like everyone else, I got The Letter, from SNH. I have just received another:

    “You contacted the Chairman expressing concerns about our decision to grant a licence to control ravens in Perthshire

    We take these matters seriously and have therefore treated your concerns within our complaints handling procedure.

    We responded to your initial query within stage 1 of the procedure and are treating your second message within stage 2. We aim to respond to stage 2 complaints within 20 working days. However, due to the volume of complaints received and the wide range of questions asked, we may need to take a little longer before responding to you.

    We will be in touch with our final response as soon as we can and within 20 working days of this email.

    Yours sincerely

    Mike Cantlay”

    Presumably everyone has? I wonder what else he has to say!

    • 37 lizzybusy
      May 31, 2018 at 9:14 pm


      • May 31, 2018 at 10:31 pm

        Ditto….he must have a full team of creative writers on overtime. I am expecting something between “Yes Minister” and “Walter Mitty”.

        It would be much easier if he just wrote… “Sorry, you are right, I resign.”

        • 39 Bill Gilmour
          June 1, 2018 at 9:51 am

          It is very interesting – curious. Maybe they see, that the first letter did not quite do it for us, so are going to have another go. Will it be more flannel or will they make some proper moves? Has the uproar or the science panel shaken them. I can’t wait.

          Last week, they have postponed the FOI’s by another month. I find it hard the believe that it takes two months, to gather the papers. What’s that about?

    • June 1, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Ditto. I hadn’t thought you could retrospectively apply such procedures – isn’t the ‘complainant’ supposed to be made aware at the outset? And here are a couple other omissions:
      “We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint.”
      “If we can’t resolve your complaint at this stage [1], we will explain why and tell you what you can do next.” (https://www.nature.scot/about-snh/contact-us/customer-care)

      I contacted my Labour MSPs: Alex Rowley (said he’d look at it, hasn’t signed) & Claire Baker (no reply). SNP MSP is Roseanna Cunningham so presumably her cabinet post prevents her from being partial…or is that conflict of interest? Can’t see any point contacting Tory MSPs.

      Many thanks for the update.

  20. June 1, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Speaking of “updates” & just for the record, I received this eMail yesterday from Mike Cantley, in response to my 2nd eMail to him:

    “You contacted the Chairman expressing concerns about our decision to grant a licence to control ravens in Perthshire

    We take these matters seriously and have therefore treated your concerns within our complaints handling procedure.

    We responded to your initial query within stage 1 of the procedure and are treating your second message within stage 2. We aim to respond to stage 2 complaints within 20 working days. However, due to the volume of complaints received and the wide range of questions asked, we may need to take a little longer before responding to you.

    We will be in touch with our final response as soon as we can and within 20 working days of this email.

    Yours sincerely

    Mike Cantlay”

  21. 43 Lisa purchese
    June 2, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Surely it is obvious to most that the decline of the waders ……is more through human cause of the moorland usage grazing ect,rather than the ravens ?

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