24
Nov
20

Laughable denial of raptor killing from grouse moor lobby group in face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary

Last week the BBC Alba’s current affairs programme Eòrpa had a 14-minute feature on the debate around driven grouse shooting in Scotland.

The programme is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next 28 days (see here, starts at 00.53 mins to 14.45).

It was good to see yet more exposure of this environmental train wreck and this was a pretty good feature because it included a variety of talking heads and gave some of them enough time to hang themselves.

The line-up included Tim (Kim) Baynes (Director Scottish Moorland Group, Scottish Land & Estates, Gift of Grouse), Jenny McCallum (Spokesperson for Loch Ness Rural Communities, one of the regional gamekeeper moorland groups), Professor Allan Werritty (Chair, Grouse Moor Management Review Group), Alison Johnstone MSP (Scottish Greens), Duncan Orr-Ewing (RSPB Scotland), Angus MacLeod (Barvas & Garynahine Estate, Isle of Lewis), Malcolm Combe (University Strathclyde Law School) and Fabien Chaudre (French Agency for Biodiversity).

A highlight was Alison Johnstone’s sarcasm about the concept of driven grouse shooting (see at 5.19 mins) but even she couldn’t top the comedic contribution of Tim (Kim) Baynes, whose straight-faced denial of ongoing raptor persecution on grouse moors, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, was as entertaining as watching Donald Trump declare himself the election victor.

[Cartoon by Mr Carbo]

Here’s what Tim (Kim) had to say:

A generation ago, or two generations ago, the control of birds of prey was fairly routine whether it was for game management, or sheep management, or livestock, but there’s been a huge change in that over the last generation and particularly over the last five to ten years where people have realised that this is not the way to go, they’ve learnt more about the relationships between birds of prey and other species. There will always be these tensions between management activities and birds of prey but I think that people have really realised now that this is, you can’t, you simply can’t go out and kill them and it really very rarely happens now“.

Of course, for those of us who take an interest in this subject, this bare-faced denial is what we’ve come to expect from Tim (Kim) and his ridiculous grouse lobby pals, e.g. see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here for a dazzling array of previous denials and spin.

Tim’s (Kim’s) performance on Eòrpa and all these previous years of denial provide a perfect illustration of how the grouse shooting industry has fundamentally failed to self-regulate. ‘Deny everything and carry on’, appears to have been the mantra.

It’s also a perfect illustration of why the Scottish Government, having given the industry chance after chance after chance after chance to clean up its act, is now under unprecedented public pressure to finally act.

And the funniest thing of all of it? All these denials from the Scottish Moorland Group, whose Chair, for years, has been Lord Hopetoun of Leadhills Estate.

You couldn’t make it up.


19 Responses to “Laughable denial of raptor killing from grouse moor lobby group in face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary”


  1. 1 Ian Ford
    November 24, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Although Tim Baynes denies there is a current problem of illegal raptor persecution he clearly acknowledges that there was, until 5 or 10 years ago. That is 60 years after it became illegal and he says clearly that the gamekeepers were not changing their ways because it was illegal. That is the important bit – they don’t care about the law.
    Plenty of options to counter the ‘we need these jobs’ argument.

    • 2 dave angel
      November 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

      Not sure where the 5 or 10 years thing comes from. I assume that when Baynes refers to ‘a generation’ he’s talking about a human generation, which conventionally is 25 years. So Baynes is conceding criminality took place 25 years ago, not 5 or 10 years ago. Maybe the temporal elasticity comes from the SNP talking about referendums being held once in a generation. Whatever the reason we shouldn’t undermine the case my misrepresenting their arguments, it just leaves them with an open goal.

  2. 3 Paul Shimmings
    November 24, 2020 at 9:30 am

    QUOTE: “A generation ago, or two generations ago, the control of birds of prey was fairly routine whether it was for game management, or sheep management, or livestock, but there’s been a huge change in that over the last generation and particularly over the last five to ten years where people have realised that this is not the way to go, they’ve learnt more about the relationships between birds of prey and other species. There will always be these tensions between management activities and birds of prey but I think that people have really realised now that this is, you can’t, you simply can’t go out and kill them and it really very rarely happens now“. END QUOTE….

    Now they are at least admitting to the fact that raptors have been and are being persecuted routinely. But only in the last five to ten years have attitudes changed? If only it were true that they are rarely killed these days. If we look back at the RPUK pages from say five or ten years ago then they were denying all of this. The truth may yet be told…..

  3. 4 Alan Dickinson
    November 24, 2020 at 10:20 am

    How these people can stand up in public and tell one bare faced lie after another leaves alot of us feeling a bit queasy to say the least they then have to go home to their families ????
    Its all very alien and quite difficult to understand then of course they have to sleep at night sorry but I don’t see the funny side of it at all MORONS.

    • 5 Simon Tucker
      November 24, 2020 at 11:14 am

      I think it is called “follow your leaders”: you cannot have failed to notice the innate dishonesty of government in both London and Edinburgh on nearly all subjects, not just this one?

  4. 6 R Stuart Craig
    November 24, 2020 at 10:38 am

    I watched it live and thought the two sides are as far apart as chalk and cheese with the Government sitting in the middle twiddleing it preverbial thumbs.
    Tim Baynes the UK’s equivalent of USA’s Trump.

  5. 7 sog
    November 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

    If what we see is an improvement, as Kim Baynes publicly assures us, then just how severe was raptor persecution five to ten years ago? One presumes he has data to support his statement.

  6. 8 John L
    November 24, 2020 at 11:26 am

    The standout comment from Tim Baynes was -“There will always be these tensions between management activities and birds of prey”.
    In that comment lies the hidden truth about how most driven grouse moor management is conducted, and why despite all the claims, birds of prey are still facing illegal persecution.

    Contrast Tim Baynes position with that of the Barvas and Garynahine Estate on Lewis, where walk up shooting takes place. The Barvas Estate didn’t appear to have any tensions between their management activities and other wildlife. The spokesperson for the estate appeared to have no issue with the introduction of licensing system.

    It can probably be concluded that Tim Baynes position comes from one of greed and profit, where the all that matters is for fee paying clients being able to slaughter as many birds as possible during a days shooting.
    Money – the root of all evil!

    So to me, the question raised by the program, and alluded to by Prof Werrity is – “As a society are we prepared to continue to allow all the bad things associated with driven grouse shooting to continue? Or is there a better way of managing moorland so that remote rural communities can still flourish, without causing so much habitat and wildlife destruction?”
    What is taking place on Lewis and the other non shooting estates seems to suggest that this is a realistic possibility.
    It’s about time politicians realised this, and took the steps a modern, environmentally aware, and wildlife conscious society is now demanding!

  7. 9 Paul V Irving
    November 24, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Not nice but dim Tim has been claiming this nonsense ever since he became the moorland policy officer or whatever the title was when he worked for the Countryside Areliars. I can remember many moons ago replying via letter to a dreadful piece of shite he wrote in birdwatching I think it was years ago and nowts changed he is still a TIT.

    • 10 Coop
      November 24, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      I remember that “piece of shite” too Paul. Though I believe it was in Birdwatch. I still have the copy somewhere, and have been looking for it among the piles of back issues in my spare room. It’s from the winter of 2000/01 or thereabouts, and tries in vain to make the case for legalising persecution. Rest assured, when I finally manage to dig it out, I’ll share it widely.

      • 11 Paul V Irving
        November 24, 2020 at 1:46 pm

        Thanks Coop it was about the time I changed from Birdwatching to Birdwatch nothing much has changed for him in the last 20 years still peddling risible rubbish and sadly there are still folk out there who believe it!

  8. November 24, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    If you look at survey of gamekeepers, their earnings and conditions, that was part of the Werrity stalling process…… It gives an age profile of the gamekeepers across Scotland. Ie they have been around for much longer than 5-10 years.
    It tells you quite a lot beyond this… Including the fact that a significant percentage do not believe they need training.
    It’s a shame they were not asked if they believed that they were above the law.

  9. 13 Douglas Malpus
    November 24, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    The whole situation is run on lies and subserviency. Our Prime Minister is renowned for the lies he tells.
    Recently I saw an article about online junior chess players in major competitions. It was discovered that many of those children and youths from public schools would do anything to win. Cheating was found in a very high proportion of those from public schools. Those young people had a school and parent reputation to uphold at any cost.

    The gamekeepers are subservient in their respect for the landowners and have to do all that is commanded of them or lose their job and home. I have seen evidence of the touch of cap (equalling the tug the forelock) on some Channel 4 reporting about grouse shooting.

    A friend, lecturer in forestry management, told me of an incident in a class of apprentice gamekeepers. He was showing a film, one scene included a goshawk flying through, the class reaction was to imitate shooting the bird. What chance do we have?

    It seems the older gamekeepers pass on their hatred with effect.

    We are in a sad cycle of the rich and careless, willing to lie. Their game workers so indoctrinated and fearful of loosing their job and home, that raptors and corvids, along with any predators will never be safe.

    In summary, the wealthy will only hold onto their riches by lying and dominating.

    Doug

    • 14 Spaghnum Morose
      November 26, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Doug, just read your anecdote about the apprentice gamekeepers. Over thirty years ago I was with a bunch of pals in an audience listening to an RSPB bloke give a talk at a country show. The folk stood around were mainly farmers, and some shooting folk including one or two keepers, their families and other assorted “lokels” like myself. I was an ignorant youth like my peers and whenever the bloke made reference to any species of BOP a few of us groaned and muttered cheeky comments among ourselves in the vein of what you relate above, all in the style of Beavis and Butthead. The point to this is that (a) looking back we received no censor from any of the adults present, and (b) three of my pals went on to become keepers and I believe two are still at it. If they are – I doubt they would look back with a healthy bit of shame as I do, or even attach any significance to the memory.

  10. 15 kevin
    November 25, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    im a shooting man .i like to see birds off pray this an attack on class not birds .there is good and bad on both sides but when people are watching the the shooting world who is watching the Raptor people no one .
    there main goal it to stop grouse shooting .just look at langhome its got no wildlife on it now .
    these groups need to work together

  11. December 2, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    ‘A generation ago, or two generations ago, the control of birds of prey was fairly routine’
    Blimey, according to the Good Friday agreement that is 7-14 years ago!


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