Tue 21 Jan, 2020

The illegal persecution of Scotland’s birds of prey is a national disgrace. Instead of continually putting the industry on probation the Scottish Government must act now and either ban it or license it Mark Ruskell

Ministers must act after a two-year review into grouse moors in Scotland failed to agree on the key issue it was tasked with considering, the Scottish Greens have said.

In a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Professor Alan Werrity and other members of his review said a lack of inventory of grouse moors means it is impossible to know how much damage they are causing.

“We don’t know what is happening where,” Professor Werrity admitted to MSPs.

He later said they had not even considered the climate and conservation emergencies in their review.

Responding, Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “This review spent two years looking at the future of Scotland’s grouse moors but ducked the key question on licensing, saying any decision would be for politicians to make.”

“It’s now time for government to act decisively. The illegal persecution of Scotland’s birds of prey is a national disgrace. Instead of continually putting the industry on probation the Scottish Government must act now and either ban it or license it.

“The starting point for this review was the shocking and illegal killing of dozens of satellite tagged birds of prey, to simply allow this to continue for another 5 years in the hope that the body count will slow down would be deeply irresponsible.”

“Up to a fifth of Scotland is given up to this cruel hobby practiced by a very small group of people. It is a hobby which tears up and burns our land, it kills all kinds of wildlife, yet the Werrity review couldn’t even recommend licensing. The evidence base from raptor protection charities is already clear, and research shows almost any other use of the land would be better for our rural economy. It’s time for action.”

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