‘Werritty Review presents huge opportunity for change’ says Scottish Raptor Study Group

Last week Logan Steele, the Scottish Raptor Study Group‘s Communications Secretary, wrote a guest blog for the RSPB on why a licensing scheme is urgently required for the grouse shooting industry (see here).

[Golden eagle ‘Fearnan’ found illegally poisoned on a grouse moor in the Angus Glens]

Logan argued that the shooting industry had failed to show leadership in tackling the illegal killing of birds of prey on game shooting estates, particularly on grouse moors, and he explained how that had led to the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s (SRSG) decision to launch a public petition in 2016 calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a game shoot licensing scheme, whereby an estate’s licence to shoot could be revoked if criminal activity was detected.

Logan and others from the SRSG appeared in front of several Parliamentary committees to present this case, with a backdrop of continued persecution incidents. When the RSPB announced that a total of eight satellite-tagged golden eagles had all ‘disappeared’ in highly suspicious circumstances within five years in the grouse moor-dominated Monadhliaths, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham ordered a full scientific analysis of golden eagle satellite tag data to see whether there was a link between golden eagle persecution and driven grouse shooting.

Of course there was, we’d known this for years, and the subsequent commissioned report was damning. Roseanna Cunningham responded by appointing Professor Alan Werritty to undertake a review of grouse moor management practices and to recommend options for regulation, which may include licensing.

The Werritty Review, including its recommendations, is due to be published in the next couple of months.

Logan has written a second guest blog (see here) on the RSPB’s website to lay out what the SRSG expects from this review. It’s well worth a read. Here’s the final paragraph:

In summary, the “Werrity Review” presents a huge opportunity for change. We do not think that the status quo, or more voluntary approaches, and piecemeal legislative changes are options. More radical change is urgently required, and we propose a grouse moor licensing system.  True respect by grouse moor landowners and their employees for wildlife protection laws, alongside greater clarity over the public expectations for sustainable land use practices set out in a statutory Code of Grouse Moor Management, could result in a positive change in relationships between grouse moor estates; local communities sometimes surrounded by this form of land management; and also with SRSG members engaged in legitimate monitoring work and contributing to national conservation efforts for populations of native raptor species.   


8 Responses to “‘Werritty Review presents huge opportunity for change’ says Scottish Raptor Study Group”

  1. 1 Paul Fisher
    May 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    A licensing system would have to be given ‘time to work’ therefore ensuring another 20 years of persecution of our wildlife. It would need huge manpower to police and robust fines or sentencing to ever work.
    And who would pay for this? Us of course, the taxpayer. Just as we pay to subsidise the whole industry including gun licences.
    DGS is rotten now and will still be rotten with the introduction of licensing. It’s just buying time.

    • May 27, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Yes, i can already hear the spin of Andrew Gilruth when the first eagle or Hen Harrier goes ‘missing’ after licensing. ‘Licensing is working, data is flawed’ and when there is a corpse ”Licensing is working,… few bad apples’ blah blah. Trying to stretch that 20 years into the next millennium.

  2. May 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Shepherds and gamekeepers behind all of these, and their employers who are the judges and magistrates.

  3. 4 Simon Tucker
    May 23, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Werrity Review presents a huge opportunity for government procrastination and the extirpation of birds of prey and mammalian predators

  4. May 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    It would not require huge manpower on the part of the police. Note the Spanish police use of this. That is if I change if my petition is passed and actioned by the Scottish Government.The police would be able to obtain authorisation to access telephone and other records following a tagged bird missing no trace. I am due to amend my last submission and am considering some changes.
    However as it stands before amendment more powerful police powers may well turn the tide.
    I look forward to what Werritty says, along with everybody else.

  5. 6 Lizzybusy
    May 23, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    There is another review taking place.

    A group of MPs called the Environmental Audit Committee are investigating “invasive species”. I will be uring the group to add pheasants to the list of invasive species and I’ll be asking them to control the numbers by banning the deliberate breeding of these birds.

    They want to hear your views.

    You can get involved in their investigation in two ways.

    Visit https://parliament.trydiscourse.com/c/eac to take part in the online discussions.

    If you have something more complicated to say, you could also send us a longer document. You can do that here:


  6. 7 workshy333
    May 25, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Just for the record, the online discussion re invasive species has been closed it would appear…some days before it was due to do so.

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