MSPs have duty to end blood sports, snares and threats to eagles with new laws

We can curb blood sports and protect Scotland's iconic wildlife and nature.

New powers that would curb blood sports and snares and crackdown on the targeting of birds of prey are within touching distance if MSPs show the moral courage to vote them into law, say the Scottish Greens.

The party’s rural affairs spokesperson, Ariane Burgess MSP, made an impassioned speech on the merits of the proposals during a stage one debate on the Scottish Government's Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill.

Polling from campaign group Revive shows the majority of Scots oppose the use of wildlife traps and muirburn for the purpose of increasing grouse numbers and that six in 10 are opposed to grouse shooting

Ms Burgess hopes that the bill will be a turning point in tackling the ecological destruction caused by driven grouse shooting and in efforts to tackle wildlife crime, saying: “I – and the Scottish Green Party – fully support the measures in this Bill. So, too, do the majority of people in Scotland.”

Police are still investigating the circumstances of a golden eagle going missing from the Scottish Borders, fearing it is likely to have come to harm. Continued persecution of Scotland’s birds of prey would be halted by the bill.

Ms Burgess said: “Our protected birds of prey are not safe under the current law. The RSPB’s latest Bird Crime Report found that in 2022, at least 64% of total incidents of raptor persecution across the UK were linked to land managed for pheasant, partridge and grouse shooting.”

Ms Burgess also welcomed the ban on snares that is included in the bill, saying: “An animal caught in a snare is injured, highly stressed, exposed to the elements and other predators, and denied food and water. And, of course, snares are completely indiscriminate – a fox can be trapped, but so too have unintended species including otters and even pet cats. A ban on snares is a mark of the high regard this country has for its iconic wildlife.”

In conclusion, Ms Burgess remarked: “This Parliament must legislate for the Scotland of the future – a future that will see us grappling with the consequences of the climate and nature crises. This Bill gives the government the tools needed to better protect Scotland’s wildlife, ensure peatlands are restored and that our uplands are fit for the future.”