Thu 4 Jun, 2020

This crisis is not carte blanche for wholesale slaughter of Scotland’s wild animals Mark Ruskell

‘Concerning’ wildlife crime during lockdown shows why greater protection and enforcement is needed, the Scottish Greens have said.

Speaking to Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell at Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Francesca Osowska, Chief Executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, said there has been reports of incidents concerning nesting birds, badgers and freshwater mussels during lockdown.

“That is a concern,” she said, pointing out SNH have not been able to respond in normal ways due to restrictions and have been referring cases to Police Scotland.

Commenting, Mark Ruskell said: “We’ve seen reports across the UK of criminals exploiting the lack of normal monitoring during lockdown to kill animals. I agree with SNH that this is extremely concerning.

“This is why current attempts to strengthen the law around wildlife needs to be stronger. I have proposed stronger protection for badgers and giving the SSPCA powers to investigate wildlife crime, both of which would prevent further crimes and make convictions more likely.

“We’ve also heard that the RSPB has been ‘overrun’ by reports of birds of prey being illegally killed by those emboldened by the absence of walkers and hikers. Travel restrictions are necessary, but they also apply to private estates. This crisis is not carte blanche for wholesale slaughter of Scotland’s wild animals.”

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