Archive for the 'Opinion' Category


ECCLR session 2: the SGA and their ‘alternative facts’

Two weeks ago the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee held an evidence session to scrutinise the Government’s 2015 annual wildlife crime report.

The evidence session was divided in to two parts – we’ve blogged about session 1 [evidence from Police Scotland and the Crown Office] here.

This blog is about session 2, where witnesses from RSPB Scotland, Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA), Scottish Badgers and the Bat Conservation Trust were invited to speak.

The video of the session can be watched here and the full transcript can be read here.

This session was fascinating and we’d really encourage you to read the transcript – and even better, watch the video. There’s too much to blog about here so we’ll just focus on the SGA’s ‘evidence’, which turned out to be a series of ‘alternative facts’, which perhaps isn’t all that surprising although it is of concern when you realise Andy Smith, the SGA rep, was a former police officer for 30 years and so he should be well versed in dealing with actual facts, not made-up ones.

Here are some of the SGA’s alternative facts. This is not an exhaustive list, just the ones that amused us the most:

Alternative Fact #1

According to Andy Smith, the SGA doesn’t support the proposal that the SSPCA should be given increased powers to help investigate wildlife crime because he was told that the SSPCA’s Chief Superintendent traveled to London to listen to the Westminster debate on driven grouse shooting, which, according to Andy Smith, means the SSPCA has an anti-shooting agenda.

The logic Andy Smith used to reach this conclusion is, well, illogical, because plenty of people attended the Westminster debate, including GWCT staff members, who most definitely are not anti-shooting. Anyway, as it turns out, the SSPCA’s Chief Superintendent did NOT travel to London to attend the debate, as he clearly explains in a recent letter to the ECCLR Committee that has been published on the Scottish Parliament’s website:  20170111_mike_flynn_to_convener_regarding_ecclr_meeting_10_january_2017

Alternative Fact #2

According to Andy Smith, “There are places in this country that should have birds of prey – raptors – but do not have them. That includes some RSPB reserves that have the perfect conditions. For example, I do not think that there are very many in Abernethy“.

Oops. There are at least eight species of breeding raptors at the RSPB’s Abernethy Reserve (perhaps more, we haven’t checked), including, er, the world famous ospreys at Loch Garten.

Alternative Fact #3

According to Andy Smith, “We should remember that the Cairngorms National Park has the highest density of eagles in the world“. [Interruption]. “Am I not right in thinking that?“.

Ian Thomson (RSPB Scotland): “No, you are not“.

Andy Smith: “It is certainly where the highest density of eagles is in the UK“.

Ian Thomson: “Harris has the highest density of golden eagles“.

Another commonly repeated myth from Andy Smith. It’s nothing new (e.g. see here, and it was also repeated in the SGA’s most recent edition of its in-house rag Scottish Gamekeeper), but it doesn’t matter how many times it’s repeated, it doesn’t make it factual. The Cairngorms National Park does NOT have the highest density of eagles in the world, nor in the UK. As Ian Thomson correctly pointed out, golden eagle density in the Western Isles (i.e. nowhere near a driven grouse moor) is among the highest recorded, although a few populations in North America have an equally high density.

The truth is that golden eagles in the Cairngorms National Park have one of the lowest rates of site occupancy in the whole of Scotland. Sure, there are breeding golden eagles in the CNP, but as was described in the authoritative Golden Eagle Conservation Framework, the vast majority of those sites are associated with open woodland (i.e. deer forest) where they are generally left alone; they are, with a handful of exceptions, absent from the extensive areas of open moorland managed for driven grouse shooting.

ge-vacant-territories-2003The data in the above table were derived from the 2003 national golden eagle survey. Since then, a 2015 national survey has been undertaken and we await publication of the detailed results, although the preliminary findings have shown that there have been improvements in occupancy in some regions, but not, unfortunately, in the Eastern Highlands, which includes large parts of the Cairngorms National Park and North East Glens, where intensively managed moorland for driven grouse shooting remains the dominant land practice and where illegal persecution continues to constrain the golden eagle population, as well as a number of other raptor populations including peregrine and hen harrier.

The SGA should watch out. With a performance like Andy Smith’s, the Trump administration may well try to headhunt him to join The White House press team.


Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: the feasibility/scoping report

Back in November we blogged (here) about DEFRA’s proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England, which is part of DEFRA’s Hen Harrier InAction Plan.

We had received information, via an FoI request, that Natural England had identified two potential areas for the reintroduction – Exmoor and Wiltshire.

These two areas had been identified from a ‘project scoping’ (feasibility) report, dated 2012 and cited in DEFRA’s InAction Plan as being ‘unpublished’. We were very keen to see this scoping report and we’ve now got hold of a copy, via another FoI.

The report is called The Feasibility of Translocating Hen Harriers to Southern England, and Prioritisation of Potential Translocation Sites and Strategies. It is authored by D.J. Hodgson [Exeter University], W. Schuett [Exeter University], S.M. Redpath (Aberdeen University], S.C.F. Palmer [Aberdeen University], J.P. Heinonen [Aberdeen University], J.M.J. Travis [Aberdeen University] and R. Saunders [Natural England]. The report was written in 2012, was funded by Natural England, but for unknown reasons has never been published, which seems a bit odd for a report paid for with taxpayers’ money.

You can download it here: draft-hh-reintro-to-southern-england-feasibility-study

It makes for an interesting read. It identifies four potential release areas (Exmoor, Dartmoor, Dorset Heaths and Wiltshire), based on a series of ecological data, with the highest scoring areas being Exmoor & Wiltshire. There is also mention that Scottish birds would be the most suitable for a translocation to Exmoor (based on habitat similarities) whereas birds from the Continent would be more suitable for release in Wiltshire. (Remember, we already know that hen harriers that have been removed from grouse moors as part of the brood meddling scheme cannot be used for the southern England reintroduction project (see here) and so other donor populations need to be identified).

What is most surprising about this report is how dated the reference material is that has been used to justify the project’s feasibility, and, more pertinently, the apparent exclusion of more recent data that would throw a different light on the project’s feasibility, and we wonder whether that exclusion is deliberate. Let us explain….

The whole (presumed) premise of this project is to establish a self-sustaining population of hen harriers in southern England; a population that will be unaffected by the continued persecution of hen harriers on the grouse moors of northern England/Scotland. For this to be achievable, DEFRA/Natural England would need to be sure that the hen harriers released in southern England wouldn’t disperse to the grouse moor badlands in the north, where undoubtedly they’d be killed (illegally) and thus the southern reintroduction project would fail.

So in this feasibility report, the authors have discussed the natal dispersal of hen harriers (i.e. the distance dispersed from the natal nest to the nest of the first breeding attempt). It’s a reasonable subject to include, especially if, as in the case of this project, DEFRA/Natural England are trying to show that hen harriers will attempt to breed relatively close to any proposed release (substitute natal) site. The authors of this feasibility report have cited very short natal dispersal distances, based on the findings of Etheridge et al (1997), although they do acknowledge that there is limited evidence of greater natal dispersal distances based on more recent data. The Etheridge et al paper reported on fieldwork undertaken in Scotland between 1988 – 1995 and natal dispersal distances were assessed from wing tag re-sightings. None of the birds had been radio or satellite-tagged. Natal dispersal distances for males generally fell between 14-150km and for females, 9.5-51km. So, if you’re trying to argue that reintroduced hen harriers are likely to attempt to breed close to the release site, the Etheridge et al paper is a good one to cite.

However, since that 1997 paper was published, many, many more hen harriers have been radio and satellite-tagged (99 radio tagged 2002-2006; 47 satellite tagged 2007-2015 by Natural England according to Stephen Murphy’s presentation in Sheffield last Sept) but the RSPB has also been satellite tagging hen harriers in recent years so the totals will be higher. Natural England has yet to publish the full findings of the hen harrier tagging project (well, it’s only been 15 years since it started) but seeing as though one of the authors of the feasibility report is a Natural England employee (Richard Saunders), surely those more recent data should have been available to include in the feasibility report?

Now, it’s likely that there aren’t that many hen harriers that were radio or sat-tagged since 2002 that have survived for long enough to start a first breeding attempt, so there aren’t that many more recent data on natal dispersal that the authors could have used (there are a few birds that have survived for long enough, but not that many because most radio/sat tagged birds have been killed within the first year or so of leaving the nest (e.g. see here)).

But what we do know from the hen harriers tagged since 2002 is that juvenile dispersal  (i.e. the movements made by the young birds before they settle to breed), as opposed to natal dispersal, involves huge distances of hundreds of miles across large parts of the country, with some birds even dispersing to the Continent. It is these distances that need to be taken into account in the feasibility study, not just natal dispersal distances, because the chances are, any young birds released in to southern England will travel far and wide during the period of juvenile dispersal (probably to the grouse moors of northern England and Scotland) and so the probability of them still being alive to return to breed in southern England has to be seen as pretty slim, to say the least.

It’s all very well for the authors of the feasibility report to cite short natal dispersal distances, but to ignore the period of dispersal between fledging and first breeding attempt seems a fairly fundamental flaw, especially when the report authors have acknowledged throughout that persecution in the uplands continues to be a major issue. The authors did consider juvenile dispersal distances when they modeled population spread from southern England, but again, this was flawed because, if we’ve correctly understood the feasibility report, they only used dispersal distances from the Etheridge paper AND they assumed ‘no illegal activity’ in their modelling variables!

And it’s not just the information on dispersal that is so outdated in this feasibility report. The rest is pretty old too – the most recent reference cited in the reference list is from 2009. Sure, the feasibility report was written in 2012 but there are a lot more recent data they could have used, including the Hen Harrier Conservation Framework that was published in 2011. That Framework Report (written by Fielding et al) is the most comprehensive review on the ecological requirements and status of hen harriers (if you exclude the updated HH Framework Report that was submitted to SNH in 2013 but remains unpublished, four years on, because SNH wants to keep it a secret) so why weren’t the findings of the 2011 Framework Report incorporated in to this 2012 feasibility report?

It’s possible, of course, that we’ve misunderstood the feasibility report (and we’d be very keen to hear others opinions once you’ve had a chance to read it) but if we haven’t misunderstood it, and the feasibility report is flawed, then where does that leave DEFRA’s planned hen harrier reintroduction? It surely can’t proceed if the science used to justify the project’s feasibility is so flaky and unpublished?

We’ll be blogging more about the planned hen harrier reintroduction to southern England over the coming days, including further information about specific release sites, funding, and potential hen harrier donor populations that have been revealed via FoI.

Photo of satellite-tagged hen harrier Elwood, by Adam Fraser. Elwood ‘disappeared’ last year on a grouse moor in the Monadhliaths just a few weeks after fledging (see here).


Philip Merricks moves his “immoveable conditions”

Back in June, we blogged about the Hawk & Owl Trust’s supposed “immoveable provisos and conditions” that had been set, by them, as part of their agreement for taking part in DEFRA’s brood meddling plan (see here).

Here they are, as a reminder:


We were interested to hear whether the setting of three illegal pole traps on the Mossdale Estate grouse moor would cause the Hawk & Owl Trust to pull out of the brood meddling scheme because it seemed that one of their “immoveable provisos and conditions” had been broken. The Hawk & Owl Trust didn’t respond.

But now they have, in a comment written by Philip Merricks (Hawk & Owl Trust Chair) on Mark Avery’s blog today (see here), and the response is astonishing.


According to Philip, those “immovable conditions” only apply “when all actions of the DEFRA Hen Harrier Recovery Plan are underway“. As two elements of the Plan have yet to begin (brood meddling and the southern reintroduction), apparently the “immovable conditions” are not yet applicable.

But that’s not what the Hawk & Owl Trust said in their original statement about those “immoveable conditions“. Have another look at the Hawk & Owl Trust’s original statement (top image above). The first line reads:

‘Before agreeing to talk with DEFRA about the details of a trial, the Trust created three immoveable provisos and conditions for taking part in a brood management scheme trial’.

What a total bloody cop out! Philip has demonstrated that the Hawk & Owl Trust’s intentions are just as disingenuous as those claimed by the grouse-shooting industry at the beginning of the year when they professed tolerance to a limited number of hen harriers on their moors. Philip knows and accepts that since the DEFRA plan was launched in January 2016 (here), illegal hen harrier persecution has taken place – he acknowledged this throughout his presentation in Sheffield at the weekend (see here), and yet here he is, suggesting that this year’s persecution incidents ‘don’t count’ because the full plan has yet to be launched.

This isn’t conflict resolution, this is the Hawk & Owl Trust acting as apologists for an industry which relies upon the illegal killing of birds of prey. It’s shameful.


Bowland Brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers

Bowland brewery HHEarlier this year, the Bowland Brewery in Lancashire committed to donate a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of its Hen Harrier beer to the RSPB’s hen harrier conservation projects (see press statement here).

James Warburton, owner of Bowland Brewery said: “The hen harrier is a living symbol of Bowland Brewery’s intimate connection with the landscape where we produce our beers.

The very real prospect that this beautiful bird of prey may disappear from the skies above the Forest of Bowland is unthinkable. That’s why we are committing to donate a significant sum of money each year to safeguard the future of one of Bowland’s most iconic residents.

As the harriers return to the Bowland Fells to nest this spring, we hope to see nature-lovers visiting the area to marvel at their amazing skydance and celebrate with a pint of the beer these rare and precious birds inspired.

By buying Hen Harrier by the pint or in bottles, locals and visitors alike will be making a positive contribution to hen harrier conservation in Bowland – and ultimately helping the population to grow.”

bowland breweryRecently, this photograph of Chris Packham and Mark Avery enjoying a pint of Bowland Brewery’s Hen Harrier beer, was posted on the Bowland Brewery’s social media platforms (twitter and facebook). As a result, some individuals from the grouse-shooting industry have launched a hate campaign aimed directly at the Bowland Brewery.

Bowland Brewery’s facebook page was targeted with a torrent of fake reviews, resulting in a drop in their overall review rating. Comments posted on facebook by the grouse-shooting trolls included:

“Get this off tomorrow or we will hound you”.

“They drink with the devil. Destroy the business!”

“Side with Packham and the knife comes out”

“They thought going with Packham was good. Now they must feel the pain”

“Shut them down. Anti shooting”.

“You can run but not hide. Hammer em!”

“Shut down the business. Shut down, boycott, whatever. Get Bowland Brewery outed”.

“Get hold of the boss and tell him to mend his ways. Otherwise we will crush em”.

Nice guys, eh? Wonder how many of them making threats have a shotgun/firearms certificate? There are some known gamekeepers involved in this hate campaign, including the Head Gamekeeper of Millden Estate in the Angus Glens, Bert Burnett from the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (who wrote “Well done everyone”) and some of the comments have been ‘liked’ by the official facebook page of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.

All slightly ironic from an industry that has recently accused Chris Packham of ‘celebrity bullying’ (see here) just because he’s politely asking Marks and Spencer to be transparent about their claims that their red grouse are produced ethically and sustainably (see here).

It’s also ironic that this hate campaign against the brewery comes from an industry that purports to be interested in protecting rural jobs. The Bowland Brewery is a small business, employing local people, in a rural community.

If you want to show your support for the Bowland Brewery and their ethical and charitable support of hen harrier conservation, please consider buying their beer. It’s available in various local outlets (see here) and can also be bought online (see here).

If you want to support the campaign to ban driven grouse shooting, because it’s the only way hen harriers will be allowed to thrive in the English uplands, then please join 65,000 others and sign THIS PETITION.


Grouse shooting industry hoping you’re as stupid as they think you are

dunceFollowing yesterday’s news that the RSPB has walked away from the Hen Harrier Inaction Plan (see here), the grouse shooting industry has responded.

Statement from the Moorland Association here

Statement from BASC here

Statement from the Countryside Alliance here

Here are the comedy highlights but you really should read the statements in full to appreciate their mastery of illusion:

According to the Moorland Association, the crimes which the RSPB listed as evidence of lack of progress (see here, here, here, here) ‘did not directly involve birds of prey and certainly not hen harriers’. And further, ‘using decoying is a legal method of corvid control’.

According to BASC, it has spent the last twelve years ‘building confidence and ensuring the future of hen harriers’.

According to the Countryside Alliance, the RSPB has ‘retreated from the task of saving the hen harrier’ and grouse moors are ‘sanctuaries for many endangered bird species’.

What these three organisations all have in common is a shared hope that you’re as stupid as they think you are.

The grouse shooting industry thinks you’re too stupid to have read the reports of raptor persecution crimes that have taken place on grouse moors this year (or those that have happened every year over the last few decades). The grouse shooting industry also thinks you’re too stupid to have read the catalogue of scientific papers and government reports that show a clear relationship, time and time again, between raptor persecution and driven grouse moor management. The grouse shooting industry thinks you’re so stupid that you’ll believe its lies, its insincerity, and its claims of victimisation. The grouse shooting industry really thinks you are very stupid.

The grouse shooting industry won’t tolerate hen harriers on the moors. Not one single hen harrier nested successfully on an English driven grouse moor this year. This is a landscape that has the capacity to support hundreds of breeding pairs. The English hen harrier breeding population has virtually collapsed, as has the credibility of the grouse shooting industry, which has more bits falling off it than a clown’s car. Hen harriers will not recover in England until the grouse shooting industry has been closed down.

64,500 people are smart enough to understand. Are you? If you are, please sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE


RSPB walks away from Hen Harrier Action Plan

hh LAURIE CAMPBELLThe RSPB has decided to ‘withdraw its support for DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Action Plan’. See Conservation Director Martin Harper’s blog here for the full explanation.

This is very welcome news – well done RSPB!

Some will say the RSPB should never have supported it in the first place (and we’d be in that camp). The Hen Harrier Action Plan was never a plan to help hen harriers, even though it was dressed up as such. What it actually was/is, is a plan to help remove hen harriers from driven grouse moors so that there are more red grouse available to be shot by wealthy gunmen (see here).

Others will say that the RSPB has played a clever game by initially supporting the Action Plan, knowing full well that the grouse-shooting industry would never be able to deliver on its promises to stop the illegal killing of hen harriers. By giving the industry the time and space to fail, and then by walking away from it, the RSPB is able to make a strong political statement and still come out of this looking like the reasonable and rational organisation we all know it to be.

By supporting this ridiculous Action Plan, the RSPB came in for quite a lot of criticism from ‘our side’. Many of us were frustrated that, at best, the RSPB was sitting on the fence and at worst, legitimising the ‘sport’ of driven grouse shooting and all its associated environmental damage. The dark side used the RSPB’s involvement with the HH Action Plan as a PR stick with which to beat detractors of the Action Plan: those of us who support a ban on driven grouse shooting were painted as ‘extremists’, a bunch of unreasonable radicals unwilling to engage in partnership working to find a solution. There’s an element of truth in that, because, unlike the RSPB, our patience with the grouse shooting industry expired a long time ago. We already know that this industry is either incapable of, or unwilling to, abide by the law and so negotiation with them is futile. But we wouldn’t describe that as being unreasonable or extreme; rather it’s more of an obvious next step in the face of blatant ongoing criminality (and subsequent denial) from the grouse shooting industry. It’s good to see the RSPB catching up.

Although, the RSPB hasn’t caught up entirely. Now it has withdrawn its support for the HH Action Plan, it looks like the RSPB has at least swung its legs back over to our side of the fence. But it still hasn’t jumped from that fence. With its steadfast refusal to support a ban on driven grouse shooting, the RSPB is still perched atop that fence and is looking down at the ground trying to judge whether the distance to jump is too far. The RSPB thinks licensing is the way forward, rather than an outright ban. There are merits in that approach, of course, but to be successful, licensing will require effective enforcement AND a willingness from the grouse shooting industry to abide by the licensing rules. We’ve seen no evidence to suggest that either of these two elements will work.

But for now, let’s applaud the RSPB’s withdrawal from the HH Action Plan, let’s enjoy the increasing isolation with which the grouse shooting industry is bringing upon itself, and let’s push on with our aim of getting 100,000 signatures on THIS E-PETITION to trigger a Westminster debate on the future of driven grouse shooting.


MSPs taken for a ride in the Angus Glens

The Angus Glens Moorland Group, part of the grouse shooting industry’s ludicrous propaganda campaign The Gift of Grouse, has been on a charm offensive.

They’ve recently hosted visits for three MSPs, who’ve all been taken for a ride across the Angus Glens grouse moors. The idea, presumably, was to depict grouse moor management techniques in a highly favourable light.

The three visiting politicians were Mairi Evans (SNP), Alex Johnstone (Conservative) and Liam Kerr (Conservative).

One of the three MSPs took to social media after his visit, and you can see the charm offensive had clearly worked on him:


Liam Kerr MSP FB

To be fair to Liam Kerr, he can only go on what he was told/shown on the day. What a shame MSP Andy Wightman (Scottish Greens) wasn’t along for the ride. He undoubtedly would have had some uncomfortable questions for these estates. Questions like, ‘How do you explain the following?’:

2004 May, near Edzell: long-eared owl and two short-eared owls starved to death in crow cage trap.  No prosecution.

2004 May, Invermark Estate: peregrine nest destroyed. No prosecution.

2006 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 April, Easter Ogil: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2006 April, Easter Ogil: poisoned tawny owl (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2006 May, Glenogil Estate: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 June, Glenogil Estate: poisoned woodpigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 June, Glenogil Estate: Traces of Carbofuran found in estate vehicles & on equipment during police search. No prosecution. Estate owner had £107k withdrawn from his farm subsidy payments. This was being appealed, but it is not known how this was resolved.

2006 July, Millden Estate; poisoned sheepdog (Lindane). No prosecution.

2007 November, Glenogil Estate: Disappearance of radio-tagged white-tailed eagle ‘Bird N’ coincides with tip off to police that bird allegedly been shot. No further transmissions or sightings of the bird.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned white-tailed eagle ‘White G’ (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned buzzard (Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned mountain hare bait (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, Glenogil Estate: 32 x poisoned meat baits on fenceposts (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 October, ‘Glenogil Estate: poisoned meat bait on fencepost (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 April, Millden Estate: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

ALMD2009 July, Millden Estate: poisoned golden eagle ‘Alma’ (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 August, Glenogil Estate: poisoned white-tailed eagle “89” (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned red kite (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 September, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Chloralose). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2011 February, Airlie Estate: buzzard caught in illegal crow trap. (see below)

2011 March, Airlie Estate: 3 x buzzard caught in illegal crow trap. Prosecution (!) but dropped after statement from suspect given to SSPCA deemed inadmissible.

2011 April, Millden Estate: shot buzzard. No prosecution.

2012 April, ‘Nr Noranside’: Remains of buzzard found beside pheasant pen. Suspicious death.

2011 June, Rottal & Tarabuckle Estate: dead kestrel inside crow cage trap. No prosecution.

2012 February, ‘Nr Edzell’: spring-trapped buzzard. No prosecution.

2012 February, ‘Nr Bridgend’: remains of buzzard found under a rock. Suspicious death.

2012 May, Millden Estate: satellite-tagged golden eagle seemingly caught in spring trap, then apparently uplifted overnight and dumped on Deeside with two broken legs & left to die. No prosecution.

2012 May, Glen Esk: disappearance of sat-tagged red kite. No further transmissions or sightings of bird.

2013 January, Invermark Estate: white-tailed eagle nest tree felled. No prosecution.

2013 June, Glen Ogil: shot buzzard. No prosecution.

2013 July, Glen Moy: illegal hawk trap. No prosecution.

2013 September, nr Edzell: unset spring trap next to bait. No prosecution.

2013 November, Glen Lethnot: poisoned golden eagle ‘Fearnan’. No prosecution.

2014 October, Nathro: shot buzzard. Prosecution? Unknown.

Or perhaps another question might be, ‘Why haven’t hen harriers bred on your grouse moors since 2006?

Or another question, ‘Why are you slaughtering mountain hares and dumping their corpses in a stink pit?

Or another question, ‘Why are you bulldozing roads across the moors and putting up miles and miles of electric fences?

Sorry, grouse-shooting industry, you might be able to take some politicians for a ride but the rest of us aren’t quite so naive.

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