19
Dec
19

Werritty Review: grouse shooting industry predicts ‘rural Armageddon’

Further to the publication of the Werritty Review on grouse moor management this morning (here), a joint statement has been published by the usual suspects in the grouse shooting industry.

It’s pretty clear that they recognise the game’s finally up – they simply haven’t done enough to clean up their industry, despite years and years of warnings and opportunities.

We’ll be taking apart the details of this statement in due course but for now, just enjoy what Ian Thomson (Head of Investigations, RSPB Scotland) has amusingly described as ‘the wailing, gnashing of teeth and warnings of rural Armageddon’.

[Armageddon poster by DeviantArt]

Joint press statement from Scottish Gamekeepers Association, BASC, Scottish Countryside Alliance, Scottish Association for Country Sports and Scottish Land & Estates (19 Dec 2019):

Grouse shooting review will mean ‘seismic’ change for moors in Scotland

Rural organisations said today that the recommendations of a government-commissioned review of grouse moor management will mean a ‘seismic’ change for grouse moors across Scotland.

Following publication of the review group’s report, a joint statement was issued by: British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Scottish Countryside Alliance, Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, Scottish Association for Country Sports and Scottish Land & Estates.

“The recommendations of the Werritty Review will mean a seismic change for grouse moors across Scotland.

“This report has recommended a barrage of measures that will leave the grouse shooting sector engulfed by legislation and red tape. On top of that, penalties for wildlife crime in Scotland are about to get much tougher.

“The sector has already willingly embraced change and improvements in how it operates.  We believe further enhanced training and codes of practice covering muirburn, mountain hare management and medicated grit are the best solution rather than onerous licensing provisions and we will be seeking an urgent meeting with government to discuss these key areas.

“The review group has recognised that there is no case for the banning of driven grouse shooting. They also accepted that licensing of grouse moors in general is hugely contentious, complex and unnecessary at this time. Nor is there scientific evidence to justify such a measure. Should it be introduced in the future, it would push an important rural business sector beyond breaking point.

“Grouse shooting plays a vital role in helping to sustain communities and delivers multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. It would be a tragedy if the massive private investment that underpins these benefits is put at risk by a package of regulatory measures that will herald fundamental change.

“Scotland already has the most stringent laws to deal with raptor persecution in the UK and they’re about to get even tougher with proposed jail sentences of up to five years and wide-ranging new financial penalties – which we support. There has been huge progress in recent years to combat raptor persecution and incidents are now at historically low levels. We are committed to playing our part to help eradicate the problem but are deeply concerned that law-abiding rural businesses will be buried under an avalanche of regulation and added costs as a result of this review. That may well force people out of business and put families’ livelihoods at risk.

“At a time when climate change and the environment is of paramount importance, we take great pride in the environmental and conservation contribution made by grouse moors through carbon capture and the careful management of Scotland’s much-loved heather clad landscape. Inflicting an even greater burden on moorland managers would jeopardise this.

“We welcome the fact that the review recommends greater transparency and independence around the satellite-tagging of birds of prey. However, its proposals do not go far enough in seeking to create an open and accountable system.”

ENDS


21 Responses to “Werritty Review: grouse shooting industry predicts ‘rural Armageddon’”


  1. 1 Christopher Andrews
    December 19, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    “This report has recommended a barrage of measures that will leave the grouse shooting sector engulfed by legislation and red tape. On top of that, penalties for wildlife crime in Scotland are about to get much tougher”.
    Oh dear, not more red tape like the long-standing wildlife protection laws to be willfully ignored. If there is no crime as they allege, why would increased sentencing even matter?

    You also have to admire their persistence in trying to get access to the live sat tag data so they can mis-represent with an aim to discredit, or even provide to keepers to reduce the evidence base. Sat tag data is all very inconvenient for them. I wonder if these organisations would also support, say, handing over live elephant tag data to ivory poachers?? Just saying.

  2. 2 Gill griffiths
    December 19, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    This is a strange comment from a group are supposedly a law abiding group…’On top of that, penalties for wildlife crime in Scotland are about to get much tougher’….. if they are doing nothing wrong what’s the issue.😂😂

  3. 3 toni35@sky.com
    December 19, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Usual bull💩from that load of scum👹! Xxx

    Sent from Sky Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  4. 4 Lizzybusy
    December 19, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    “At a time when climate change and the environment is of paramount importance, we take great pride in the environmental and conservation contribution made by grouse moors through carbon capture and the careful management of Scotland’s much-loved heather clad landscape.” The cheek! Burning of stubble was banned on farmland a long time ago yet these businesses are allowed to carry on burning, causing massive environmental destruction with climate changing potential. It’s Trump Speak!

  5. 5 LOGAN Steele
    December 19, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Sorry but all sympathy drained away a long time ago. They have been warned time and time again to operate within the law but they chose not to and this is the consequence.

  6. December 19, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    ‘The review group has recognised that there is no case for the banning of driven grouse shooting.’
    No they didn’t. It wasn’t part of their remit to look at it. That was clarified at least twice in the report.

    • December 19, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      |More fake facts.
      ‘They also accepted that licensing of grouse moors in general is …. unnecessary at this time. Nor is there scientific evidence to justify such a measure’

  7. 8 sennen bottalack
    December 19, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    No mention from them of the endless number of recent trapped and ” disappeared on grouse moor ” raptors then ?
    Or the ongoing low breeding numbers and constant turnover of raptor pairs on grouse moors.
    These sacrificial birds are doing their job and the criminals are running out of time.
    Just how they will either pretend for another 5 years, or produce ridiculous bag sizes without killing raptors, will be interesting and amusing to watch.
    Saturation level grouse cannot be reached with high raptor numbers as we have always known and was eloquently proved when they agreed to stop killing raptors at Langholm.
    A healthy raptor population helps to maintain a small but healthy population of grouse.
    It doesn’t inflate capital values of grouse moors with wall to wall grouse.
    We can play the long game as the raptor sinks on grouse moors will eventually be rapidly filled from the still relatively buoyant large raptor populations elsewhere.
    Golden eagle for instance are doing well in Scotland outside intensive grouse land and even Hen Harriers have shown in the past how they will very rapidly recover when persecution eases, even from very low numbers.
    I’ve always said it will take another human generation but we’ll get there.

    Keep up the pressure !

  8. December 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Some interesting comments from Severin Carrell in the Guardian.
    He claims
    ‘In a parallel development, conservation sources said grouse moors in England would soon be banned from burning heather.’

    Is that true?

    also writes
    ‘It is understood that the two members are Mark Oddy, a former director of Buccleuch Estates, and Alexander Jameson, an estate management consultant. A source close to both men denied that both had threatened to resign and produce a minority report if he did so.’

    Slightly odd because no accusation is mentioned.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/19/scottish-grouse-moor-owners-face-licensing-within-five-years

    • December 19, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      Not sure how reliable that article is because of this:
      ‘Grouse moor owners in Scotland face heavy fines or prosecution for failing to protect birds of prey and other species under proposals to licence shooting estates.’
      ‘Failing to Protect’ is an odd way of putting it!

      ‘An expert report for the Scottish government has recommended ministers introduce mandatory licensing of grouse moors within five years’
      No it doesn’t, it is after 5 years if things don’t improve.

      and this
      ‘It is understood Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, wants to introduce licensing much sooner than 2024, despite opposition from land owners and shooting estate managers, as do Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish environment secretary, and Mike Russell, the Brexit secretary who pushed through tougher regulation of wildlife crime as environment minister.’
      Great that Mike Russell wants licensing before 20124 but what exactly did he do that ‘pushed through tougher regulation of wildlife crime as environment minister’.
      Her was before RPUK but can’t find any mention of him having any impact on raptor crime. Would love to know as he is my MSP and i hassle him constantly on this issue.

    • 12 Lizzybusy
      December 19, 2019 at 9:48 pm

      Werrity Report, p46 “Statement from the Chair: My option to use the Chair’s casting vote in favour of the immediate introduction of licensing was contested by two members of the Group. In the interests of seeking to produce a unanimous recommendation I chose not to exercise my casting vote.” I wonder if these two members of the Group stopped the Chair from voting in favour of the immediate introduction of licensing?

  9. December 19, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    “The sector has already willingly embraced change and improvements in how it operates..” That would be hilarious if this subject was less serious to the future of our countryside [thats “our” countryside not the fiefdom of a handful of landowners and their servants] ….they have been dragged kicking and screaming to make the small changes which have in no way stopped the killing of protected species or the physical and scenic damage to our uplands. If they do “embrace” more change [do other types of criminals get to “embrace” justice?] in the future, such as licensing, which is a very poor substitute for a ban..then we will no doubt hear how they were very willing to change…which of course would be a lie.

  10. 14 TaddyOfKentoo
    December 19, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    “Businesses will be buried under an avalanche of regulation and added costs as a result of this review. That may well force people out of business and put families’ livelihoods at risk.”
    Excellent! Join the unemployment queue..Sooner the moorons & associates face the consequences the better!
    Self inflicted!

  11. 15 Barney
    December 19, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Are these people on drugs

  12. 16 Coop
    December 19, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    “Scotland already has the most stringent laws to deal with raptor persecution in the UK and they’re about to get even tougher with proposed jail sentences of up to five years and wide-ranging new financial penalties – which we support.”

    Don’t forget, boys and girls, that not so long ago the tweed disease was demanding that raptor persecution be legalised; attempting to justify it at every turn. Now, the bastards pretend that they’re against it! Here’s an historic quote from Andrew Killtruth…

    “The tragedy of Langholm is that we sat down at the end and felt that in many ways it proved that those gamekeepers who killed raptors illegally had in some way been right to do so.”

    • December 20, 2019 at 10:17 am

      ‘Don’t forget, boys and girls, that not so long ago the tweed disease was demanding that raptor persecution be legalised; attempting to justify it at every turn.’
      Even now. It is recommended as an option in the report!!

      Seems like this was the price we had to pay to get a report. That and the brood management option. Was this report worth that price? Last night i ended up thinking that maybe it was because at least the grousers could not claim they were ignored. This morning i realised, they will never stop complaining anyway so definitely not worth it. Would have been better to have the 2 obstacles resign and bring 2 expert advisers on board and get a less watered down final result.
      It seems that some Ministers see through all this crap so maybe it doesn’t matter but after watching over 2 hours of the ECCLR Committee last week on the proposed increase in penalties for wildlife crime and seeing politicians with such a slender grasp on the situation but with no self awareness of that fact, particularly Stewart Stevenson, i am worried. There is no problem with someone not knowing something we can learn but not if we think we know already.

  13. 18 Douglas Malpus
    December 19, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    What a load of morons!

    They know who’s committing the crimes and if they want to stop persecution, they can. With a community that is so small, they have made it very clear that stopping crime and environmental damage is not in their interest.

    We need whistle blowers to let the authorities know who the criminals are. But perhaps there are too many and the industry would collapse without the baddies.

    Five years moratorium is ridiculous, I would be generous and give 2 years which in my opinion is 2 years too long.

    Doug

  14. 19 The Fifer
    December 20, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Lets hope this does result in a seismic change, a seismic changes for the good of our natural environment, for the good or our raptors and for the good of the people of Scotland.

    If any decent law-abiding gamekeepers do loose out they should be absolutely clear who they need to point their finger at, those gamekeepers and others who has committed all sorts of wildlife crimes over many, many, many, many years.

  15. 20 Dougie
    December 21, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    “Businesses will be buried under an avalanche of regulation and added costs as a result of this review. That may well force people out of business and put families’ livelihoods at risk.”

    Oh, oh – lookout. Sounds like this is the next Project Fear.
    Given time there will be threats of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis in the glens.


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