Ruskell brands Scottish Government plans on wildlife crime toothless

Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (31 May) branded Scottish Government plans on wildlife crime as toothless.

Research published today shows a third of golden eagles being tracked by satellite died in suspicious circumstances, with the majority found where land is intensively managed for driven grouse shooting.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham says she will set up an expert group to look at managing grouse moors, including the option of licensing grouse shooting businesses, an issue pressed by Mark Ruskell in Holyrood's Environment Committee. But the minister is ruling out giving the Scottish SPCA more investigative powers.

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

“This data reinforces what we already know: the intensive driven grouse shooting industry has resulted in the decimation of our iconic bird of prey populations over many decades. While the Scottish Government is starting to heed our repeated calls for an industry licensing regime, it has failed to extend the investigatory powers of the SSPCA to give any regime the teeth it needs. 

"The SSPCA has for years played a constructive role working alongside the Police on animal welfare investigations, bringing forward the evidence needed for successful prosecutions. It’s bewildering why the Scottish Government would wish to dismiss the expertise and resources of the SSPCA’s extensive inspector workforce.”