05
Jul
18

Wildlife destruction on a Scottish grouse moor

The following photographs were posted on Twitter yesterday. They were taken on a grouse moor in the Moorfoot Hills, south Scotland, and are representative of what you’ll find on many grouse moors across northern England and Scotland.

The traps ‘appear’ to be lawfully set (i.e. the spring trap has been set within a natural or artificial tunnel and the entry/exit is tapered to restrict access to non-target species), although clearly not restricted enough to prevent this mistle thrush getting in. The rules about what makes a trap lawfully or unlawfully set are notoriously vague – sometimes its obvious (e.g. if the trap is set in the open) but often it isn’t clear at all.

And you have to wonder how a trapped stoat (a lawful target species) can get underneath the wire cage to hang below the log to suffer what must have been a gruesome and prolonged death.

Grouse moor management = wildlife carnage.

UPDATE 6 July 2018: More wildlife destruction on more Scottish grouse moors (here)

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44 Responses to “Wildlife destruction on a Scottish grouse moor”


  1. 1 Sandra
    July 5, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Well – can a gamekeeper answer the question??

  2. July 5, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Not that I get to those places often, but if I find a trap I smash it. The fact is that if I get caught I will happily go to court and defend my actions, and take any sentence that is imposed, with a clear conscience. We don’t tend to find too many of these in Wiltshire though.

    [Ed: a cautionary note for anyone thinking of doing the same – as Simon points out, smashing lawfully-set traps is a criminal offence]

    • 3 Roberta Mouse
      July 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      I lived in Wiltshire until few years ago…I found a number there although they seem to favour larsen traps there….I have liberated many birds, decoys and trapped ones…I couldn’t walk by and do nothing and like you, would take the consequences in order to publicicse this horrible practice !

    • 4 Steve
      July 5, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Yes but there are signs on grouse moors instructing people to “protect wildlife” – so isn’t that a contradiction? Surely if you have written evidence you were doing the right thing they don’t have a leg to stand on!

    • July 5, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      Is it illegal to smash (or render it safe) an illegally set trap?

      • 6 Steve
        July 6, 2018 at 11:45 am

        That’s a good point – though I’m not sure I’d be able to tell what an illegally set trap looked like.

      • July 6, 2018 at 12:14 pm

        circusmaxim – that’s a very grey area! If it’s obviously an illegally set trap (i.e. a pole trap) you’d have a reasonable defence to rendering it safe but probably not if you smashed it (criminal damage). You’d also need to provide evidence that it was illegally set prior to you touching it.

        The ‘official’ guidance on what to do varies, but taking photos and then immediately reporting it (while you’re on scene, assuming you have a phone signal) to the police AND the RSPB is probably the best course of action. The police response will vary, of course, depending on the local force you’re reporting it to and its available resources. You’re no doubt aware that some police forces are much better at quick responses than others.

      • 8 lizzybusy
        July 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm

        Hi Circus Maximus. RPUK have given a very good reply. Here’s the law.

        To summarise … if the trap is illegal or being used illegally (eg in breach of animal welfare legislation) then damage to prevent the continuation of that situation is potentially legal. It could be argued that it is reasonable to assume the owner would not want illegal activity taking place on their property or be party to illegal activity so they would give permission to stop that illegal activity – even by the destruction of their property.

        https://www.inbrief.co.uk/offences/criminal-damage/

        “What is the law on criminal damage?

        The offences of criminal damage are set out in the Criminal Damage Act 1971. In addition, specific offences are contained within the Malicious Damage Act 1861 in relation mainly to damage to railways. To prove the offence of causing criminal damage under the 1971 Act, the following elements need to be established:

        Damage (temporary or permanent) was caused.That damage occurred to property.The damaged property belonged to another.The damage was caused without lawful excuse.An intention to cause the damage, or recklessness as to whether damage would be caused.”

        So the question is what is a lawful excuse?

        https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1971/48/section/5

        5“Without lawful excuse.”

        “(2)A person charged with an offence to which this section applies, shall … be treated for those purposes as having a lawful excuse—

        (a)if at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence he believed that the person or persons whom he believed to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question had so consented, or would have so consented to it if he or they had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances; or

        (b)if he destroyed or damaged or threatened to destroy or damage the property in question or, in the case of a charge of an offence under section 3 above, intended to use or cause or permit the use of something to destroy or damage it, in order to protect property belonging to himself or another or a right or interest in property which was or which he believed to be vested in himself or another, and at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence he believed—

        (i)that the property, right or interest was in immediate need of protection; and

        (ii)that the means of protection adopted or proposed to be adopted were or would be reasonable having regard to all the circumstances.

        (3)For the purposes of this section it is immaterial whether a belief is justified or not if it is honestly held.”

        The police and fire brigade use this defence to justify breaking down doors to apprehend criminals etc.

        I am aware this defence has been used successfully in a number of charges of criminal damage against animal rights activists where the supposed victims had a string of proven criminal convictions or there was proof of imminent criminal acts by the ‘victim’.

  3. 9 Roberta Mouse
    July 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    One wonders why anyone would be in favour of these disgusting instruments of torture in any situation, anywhere. How the flying **** are they even legal. Are we in the 21st century or not. whoever sets these things is in urgent need of psychological direction and treatment.

  4. 10 lothianrecorder
    July 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Ring Ouzel is another that falls foul of these traps, including in Lothian – Barker et al. (2017) noted them dead in Fenn traps 2 years running in Lammermuirs, from p. 252 of their paper “Conservationists are justifiably concerned about the proliferation of these traps, whose legality is often unclear. In 2014, we discovered a desiccated young Ring Ouzel in the same trap that had killed another juvenile Ring Ouzel the year previously.” The same has been noted in England: https://markavery.info/2016/07/05/ring-ousels-moors/

    NB – it is this is the type of thing that proves the real intent of the things like the SNH Strathbaan Raven cull – these type of people have total disregard for our native wildlife and will use ever legal means to exterminate anything that moves, with the exception of the single species that obsesses their wealthy pay masters. Trying to pretend they care about waders when they are busy systematically exterminating red-listed Ring Ouzels, Mistle Thrushes and whatever else they can kill when no-one is looking, how ludicrous and farcical…

    * Barker, A.W., Poxton, I.R. & Heavisides, A. (2017) “Where have all the Merlins gone?”, Scottish Birds 37(3):250-256

    • 11 lizzybusy
      July 10, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Fenn traps will be made illegal next year under the terms of the Agreement on International Humans Trapping Standards.

  5. 12 Stuart Craig
    July 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    TOTALLY DISGUSTING. Posts such on Raptor Persecution Scotland are only preaching to the converted.They highlight disgusting behaviour which WE the subscribers already know. This information has to be put in the public domain.
    It’s no good RSPB, SWT, BBC Wildlife, British Birds etc placing such articles in their publications. To obtain the general public’s sympathy articles have to appear more often in the national press and inform people who are unfortunately ignorant of the cruelty being splattered all over our countryside, by the selfish greedy minority.

    • 13 Loki
      July 5, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Well said Stuart. I work in health and social care and no one I asked even knew what a hen harrier was. Change won’t happen if the majority of the UK population remains unaware. Why aren’t wildlife organisations in town centres with hen harriers – raising their plight and their profile? I’d help out.

      • July 5, 2018 at 9:11 pm

        I guess to an extent too many battles to fight. A lot of the London groups are trying to raise awareness of the swifts which are on our door step and their population is plummeting.

    • 15 Paul Fisher
      July 5, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Stuart, nail on the head.
      Somehow we must find a way of informing the 99% of the public who haven’t got a clue what’s going on.
      Not sure that the media are the answer though since they are mostly run by people who have their fingers in the same pie.
      A good turnout in London on the 22nd Sept would be a good place to start.

    • 16 Iain Gibson
      July 6, 2018 at 5:35 am

      I agree so much Stuart, and have often asked why no-one from RPUK or any other independent bird conservation body issues press releases, based upon the evidence exposed by the likes of RPUK or RSPB. Unfortunately the RSPB is restricted by their Royal Charter from criticising bloodsports, which makes no sense for a bird protection and conservation charity. It reflects the social status of their earlier founders, and should be consigned to history to allow the members to have their feelings more democratically expressed on issues like the Raven cull. Our progress in changing anything will continue to be extremely slow, for as long as we just carry on preaching to the converted (and not even all of them).

      • 17 lizzybusy
        July 10, 2018 at 7:25 am

        I, too, have photos of the barbarity committed on shooting estates. One of my ‘best’ is of a fox cub caught in a snare surrounding a stink pit. The cub was released unharmed as the gamekeeper came charging along the edge of the wood on a quaddie screaming and shouting “Where’s the fox cub?” and “I’m calling the police!” etc etc. I watched the fox cub flee as he arrived! He was raging and really looked like he’d be ready to give me a beating. Unfortunately, to try to calm him down, I told him to call the police because the stink pit was illegal (having lamb carcasses on it). He didn’t ‘cos he knew his stink pit was illegal. I reported him to trading standards but by the time the officers visited the site the lamb carcasses were missing so no action was taken.

        • 18 lizzybusy
          July 10, 2018 at 7:50 am

          PS The gamekeeper must have left that fox cub in the snare since he knew it existed when I found it. How long it’d been there I don’t know. His cruelty was a potential breach of the Animal Welfare Act causing unnecessary suffering and distress.

        • July 12, 2018 at 1:47 pm

          Lizzy could you give so more information on breaches of trading standards. A community owned woodland charity near me promised in their Forest Plan to conduct Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl surveys before felling and report them to SNH. They didn’t and i have recently found out that this is also breaching best-practice forestry guidelines. Can i report them to trading standards if so how and what about the Scottish charity commission? What would you do? I tried SNH and FCS and my SMP to no avail.
          The best i have come up with is to demand the resignation of the person responsible.
          if this was a one off incident i wouldn’t pursue it but it isn’t.

          • July 12, 2018 at 6:38 pm

            Actually i think i have answered it myself by doing some internet searches. A law has to have been broken or suspected of having been broken. Breach of guidelines is not enough or RPUK would have already been using it against all the breaches of best practice in the self regulated driven-grouse ‘industry’.
            It is a very similar situation, intensive forestry and intensive grouse shooting. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is more than a little overlap of breaches between both.

  6. 21 Sandra Padfield
    July 5, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    There is no tunnel to this trap. Many birds would be able to access it because of the size of the gaps in the frame. There is no effort here to exclude non-target species so it must surely be illegal. I, for one, would have no hesitation in damaging such a contraption and all power to those who do. Best, where possible, to remove the artificial bridges. The barbaric practices that still go on in the British countryside are a badge of shame on all those shooting interests who claim to be ‘real country people’!

    • July 6, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Sandra,

      You say “There is no tunnel to this trap” and “There is no effort here to exclude non-target species so it must surely be illegal”.

      Both of these statements are inaccurate. The ‘tunnel’ is the wire frame fixed around the trap. And effort has been made to ‘restrict’ non-target species (note the word ‘restrict’, not ‘exclude’). Whether the restriction is adequate is the crux of the issue as the law does not specify the maximum size of the access gap.

      Have a read of this blog written by retired Police Wildlife Crime Officer Alan Stewart for discussion on the lawfulness of tunnel traps:

      https://wildlifedetective.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/the-use-of-tunnel-traps/

  7. 23 PTH
    July 5, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    These barbaric and indiscriminate traps show the world that the Gamekeepers still using them (legally for Christ’s sake!) are nothing but legalised poachers, who are all too often encouraged and protected by their employers purely for the sake of profit.

  8. 24 Mr T
    July 6, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Yes interfering with traps is illegal and thus should not be encouraged. But I have to tell this story.
    Armed with the above knowledge many years ago, my friends and I were out looking for Red Kites and took a wander through the the woods (which were accessed via a public reserve). On the other side of the trees we encountered a Larsen Trap with a skinned animal and a Magpie inside. My friend was having none of the leave it alone and as we were about to head home having seen only one kite, we released the Magpie which made a beeline for the trees. Then the strangest thing happened. It was like a celebration. Every bird in the woods started calling. Every corvid, passerine, whatever seemed to celebrate the release of this Magpie. It was deafening. And the sky went dark with Kites above us. Nature was celebrating. And just like that. It stopped. And the Kites vanished like clouds. In 40 years plus of watching birds I have never ever felt anything so visceral as that moment. Strathbraan will bring wildlife persecution spilling into the National Media. On that wave we should be continuing to inform people what happens.

    • 25 Roberta Mouse
      July 6, 2018 at 6:34 am

      Great story….similarly if on a somewhat smaller scale, I liberated a Crow that had it’s wing twisted inextricably through a wire fence. Not sure it would fly again but as it hopped away it stopped suddenly, turned and gazed at me, before carrying on. Just a momentary connection, for who knows what reason, but there it was….I expect it was predated later but I hope it had at least a few hours of liberty and the experience has stayed with me to this day….

    • 26 Loki
      July 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      What a wonderful tale, Mr T. From a distance, I saw (or rather heard) something quite similar. A released crow called out several times as it tasted freedom and there was something exuberant in its call. It seemed clear to me that it was thanking its saviour, who I could not make out from my distant vantage point…

  9. 27 Greer Hart, senior.
    July 6, 2018 at 1:55 am

    A few years ago, an allotment in Glasgow was found to host a Larsen Trap with a Crow imprisoned inside. That had been set by two wannabe urban smallholders, who had seen one at a game fair and subsequently bought one, to add to their rural fantasies. They would be guardians of song birds and kill as many crows and magpies as possible. However, it was reported to Glasgow City Council, Environment Department, and they were asked to have it removed, as it was a breech of their rules on what can be done on their property. The trap was removed, but in revenge, the two malefactors killed a local Fox and dumped it in the wildlife pond in the allotments. This incident revealed that there were gullible, but well-meaning individuals, who visited game fairs and other outdoor activity events, and there they were converted into thinking that they could assist in the conservation of wild song birds, by becoming executioners of predatory birds. Snares were also being set on some allotments where Rabbits had become a problem. Where found by humane members, and such animals released into some safer area. Despite all the publicity in the media and visits to schools, there is still a vast amount of ignorance out there, and that is why I have been an exponent of marrying to the two causes of conservation of species with animal welfare. I am happy to find that One-Kind is active in both topics, and if they had more resources and membership, they could extend their “missionary” work on humane education, further into the hearts and souls that part of our population that is blithely ignorant of the cruel facts.

    • 28 AlanTwo
      July 6, 2018 at 9:41 am

      With every year that passes and every disgusting incident I hear or read about, I become more convinced that you are correct. The vast majority of decent people have a strong sense of outrage at animal cruelty and wanton killing and maiming, but only a tiny fraction have such strong feelings about wildlife conservation, and even fewer a real understanding of the issues involved.
      So, on ethical grounds, but also on the basis of simple pragmatism, I fervently believe that the marrying of wildlife conservation and animal welfare is the best way forward.
      Some here, especially those with shooting connections, will protest that it is important to kill predators in order to conserve struggling species. For me, this is at best a ‘quick and dirty’ approach to conservation. It might (or might not) win a battle or two, but it will assuredly lose the war.

      • 29 Roberta Mouse
        July 6, 2018 at 10:17 am

        I feel the same way about the ‘culling’ of grey squirrels in order to protect the few remaining reds. I was told by a very aggressive conservationist group member that I was uneducated,(wrong) probably a townie (wrong) and should keep out of things I know nothing about, when suggesting it was wrong. I’d just discovered that they were paying £200 a pop for every corpse produced. I utterly despair at the arrogance idiocy of some humans.

        • 30 dave angel
          July 6, 2018 at 11:23 am

          No offence, but that’s sentimental twaddle. It IS important to protect the native red squirrel and that DOES require the culling of greys.

          • 31 Roberta Mouse
            July 6, 2018 at 12:12 pm

            You are expressing an opinion that not everyone shares. To each poor grey squirrel who is mercilessly slaughtered (and potentially their young who starve to death when left unfed) it means absolutely everything…and is in no way ‘sentimental twaddle’. Condone it and you are complicit in their cruel murder…no offence intended !

            • 32 dave angel
              July 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm

              I’d suggest that proper dispatch of a grey squirrel is more humane than allowing red squirrels to die of squirrel pox.

              Which is the inevitable consequence of the approach you advocate.

              • 33 Iain Gibson
                July 9, 2018 at 1:37 am

                dave angel, you seriously need to check your facts. The parapoxvirus has affected Red Squirrels in parts of the UK long before Grey Squirrels moved anywhere remotely near them. In fact the first recorded widespread outbreak occurred well before any Greys were affected (see http://www.i-csrs.com). If Red Squirrels (which are not the native subspecies) do become more abundant and widespread, a similar devastating outbreak would soon occur, even if Grey Squirrels had been eradicated. The current misguided campaign to cull Greys is a complete waste of time and money, stemming from albeit often well-meaning propaganda coming from sources not fully availed of scientific evidence (not just SNH, who have a similar prejudice against Ravens!). The realistic research (widely ignored by the cull campaigns) has revealed that apart from some highly publicised exceptions, red-to-red transmission of the virus is far more frequent than grey-to-red, most commonly due to sharing of squirrel feeders in gardens. Like Roberta Mouse, who you insult ungraciously, I don’t follow the logic in your thought experiment. I’d go as far as to accuse you of being naive if you think that anything resembling a majority of Grey Squirrels are humanely dispatched. There are many reliable reports of thugs taking up the invitation and ‘dispatching’ them in the most horrible ways imaginable, like soaking them in petrol and setting on fire. Not to mention the fact that hundreds of school children are being taught how to kill the animals with air rifles, by so-called ‘responsible’ game shooting organisations (how many Reds are shot in error?). This seems to me like they’re using the squirrel cull to recruit enthusiastic customers and gamekeepers for the future. I suggest if you want to continue this debate, you do so elsewhere, as it’s in danger of straying off topic on this site. To sum up, it appears that you’ve been persuaded by the propaganda rather than researching the disinterested science. Beware of Google!

                • 34 Roberta Mouse
                  July 9, 2018 at 7:52 am

                  Thankyou Iain, wise words…my own research into this issue revealed how Reds were, not so long ago, viewed as vermin and virtually eradicated in Scotland…shooting clubs set up for that very purpose, clearly illustrating to me, the capriciousness and hypocrisy surrounding this topic and as you point out, the opportunism employed by those who simply enjoy causing pain and suffering. Reds are simply right now, in vogue, Greys being scapegoated so some people can feel they are ‘doing something’, when in reality, doing very little is best since that way Reds may well develop resistance to the terrible pox that carries them off so readily. Killing all Greys is not only as you say, costly and terribly cruel but will do nothing to help Reds long term, as long as people continue protecting the weak and vulnerable ones and dont allow nature to do it’s thing. Personaly I believe human ego is playing an enormous part in this sorry business. The term ‘conservation’ to describe a group set up for the purpose of killing off an entire species is beyond hypocritical and the epitome of misplaced do-gooding. !. So sorry I hadn’t intended ranting here. It is the wrong place, but the subject is something that fires me up…:)

                • 35 dave angel
                  July 9, 2018 at 3:52 pm

                  Would I be right in thinking that you are opposed to the killing of any animal on principle? And that science doesn’t come into it?

                  My understanding of the subject is largely derived from involvement with the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrel Project.

                  https://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/

                  No offence (genuinely) but your maverick stance on so many of these issues puts me in mind of this.

                  • 36 dave angel
                    July 9, 2018 at 3:54 pm

                    Just to be clear,that post is a reply to Iain Gibson.

                  • 37 Iain Gibson
                    July 10, 2018 at 3:11 am

                    Just to be clear dave angel, you couldn’t be more wrong. True, I am totally opposed to the killing of any animal for recreational pleasure, or ‘fun,’ especially by opportunist and violent means. However I have no qualms about killing farmed animals reared for food (or wild animals by primitive tribes or poverty stricken societies). You may regard me as a hypocrite for not wishing to kill them myself, but I choose this way on the grounds that I prefer to entrust that to the professionals, i.e. humanely reared, slaughtered and butchered. I see absolutely no need to kill wild animals for fun, simply justifying such behaviour by claiming to eat the quarry. Most of us can enjoy a rich and varied diet obtained through commercial sources, and it is relatively simple to check that animals have been slaughtered humanely. Vegetarians and vegans take this a step further by not consuming any animals or animal products, and I respect them for that. I cannot condone those who shoot wild animals, grouse for example, a ‘hobby’ which depletes natural resources and renders hen harriers near-extinct as breeding birds in England.

                    On your second question, you are even more wrong in your assumption. Like most contributors to this (RPUK) blog, I believe that scientific research to support conservation is essential, with a degree of healthy scepticism thrown in to help distinguish between good and bad science. The Grey Squirrel research is one of the worst examples of dichotomy in science and, I would maintain, one of the worst examples of cultural division among scientists in the western world. Having scrutinised the ‘evidence’ in considerable detail, (and carrying out my own studies of habitat preference and population dynamics in Grey Squirrels), I have come to the conclusion that there are varying degrees of authenticity between the two opposing scientific camps. I find that most papers which the pro-cullers rely upon for ‘evidence’ are highly selective, and often founded on anecdotes and popular, often antiquated beliefs about the animals’ biology. Meanwhile, and I admit this is a slight generalisation, what I regard as more holistic objective research is more convincing and trustworthy. In fact I would consider the campaign being mounted by misguided individuals and groups like “Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels” relies upon deep propaganda, and in many cases a distortion of the truth (sometimes intentionally), which tugs at the heart strings of members of the public who genuinely care. If you want to criticise any person or group for being unscientific, please do contact Scottish Natural Heritage, and ask them to explain the scientific justification for licensing the culling of Ravens.

              • 38 Roberta Mouse
                July 10, 2018 at 8:13 am

                If you do a little research, you will find that sadly it may well be the Reds will have to suffer terribly in order to ultimately develop resistance to the pox virus…that’s how it works. Blaming and slaughtering greys simply gives interfering people the erroneous idea that they are in some way helping when in fact they are not. To decide to try to eradicate an entire species rather than allowing nature to take it’s course is very very shortsighted and damned cruel. Belonging to a red squirrel protection group means little when the mission statement of such ‘cabals’ always seems to be ‘kill the greys’, without even a nod to the effect human activity has had on the serious decline in red numbers, or understanding their unfortunate Scottish history ….and the very idea that the word conservation is oft time used to describe this just shows the type of hypocritical and arrogant people that are usually involved. There is a great deal of propaganda about and you seem to have entirely bought it. If you btw approve of killing greys why use euphemistic terms for their killing such as ‘dispach’…unless of course it makes you feel guilty to use the more accurate and truthful ones.

    • 39 Les Wallace
      July 6, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Well said GH. One of the biggest tragedies I believe is that you can’t shrug your shoulders at the utter nonsense they spout and ignore it or hope it does their cause more damage than ours (oh wouldn’t that be great!). If it’s not challenged then people will assume it’s because it can’t be and they’ll lap up the lies and the phony righteous indignation – your story about the Larsen trap in the allotment is a classic example, I have my own stories too including opening my FB account to see my mum had shared a video from Songbird Survival about the need to ‘control’ predators to save our wildlife, I wasn’t a happy bunny. I remember more than twenty years ago on a BBC documentary about Bill Deedes his wife was shown setting traps for magpies on their land and the announcer told us ‘she’s doing this because magpies are killing off songbirds’, it then switched to Bill Deedes who said his wife was the stronger of the two of them as he couldn’t bring himself to kill them. So a bit of propaganda broadcast to the public thanks to the BBC license fee.

      It’s tiresome dealing with all the tripe, and certainly impossible to reply to all of it, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to not respond when you can. Bit by bit hitting back with awkward facts and questions they can never, ever answer will at least sow doubts or hopefully change the opinions of any third parties reading social media, and the liars must know they are not going to get a free ride. I really detest complacency and I’ve seen an awful outfit called the Predation Action Group who essentially want to get the otter and other fish eaters treated as ‘vermin’ because they think it will impact on catching bloated non native, domestic varieties of the non native carp primarily – it’s over stocked presence in a lot of waters might be why there’s a decline in aquatic life in many of them – which of course then gets blamed on otters etc seemingly grow in traction over the years. They certainly haven’t gone away. I think you’re right that there has to be a better ‘melding’ of animal welfare and conservation they are complimentary rather than conflicting goals after all.

      • 40 Iain Gibson
        July 10, 2018 at 3:27 am

        Les, it’s worth adding that the Pike is a non-native species in Scotland, albeit introduced by monks a few centuries ago. It has an often profound effect on freshwater biology, and when introduced in large numbers by ‘rogue’ anglers can almost wipe out an entire breeding population of waterfowl in a small loch. Full-grown Pike have few natural predators, apart from Ospreys and I would assume Otters!

  10. 41 Roberta Mouse
    July 6, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Should read ‘arrogant idiocy’

    • 42 Andrew S.
      July 6, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      We all need to chase up our MSPs. I recently chased mine up after a non reply and it seems to be working. The dark side lobby enough, and if reps are stuck between a rock & a soft place, ie. No pressure from us, then they won’t act. We have to keep the pressure up.none


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