Wildlife Protection Bill will be a vital turning point for Scotland’s nature

We must protect Scotland's iconic wildlife.

Scottish Greens have hailed new laws which will protect birds of prey and Scotland’s iconic natural landscapes from abuse or harm as a turning point in ending cruelty to animals and the destruction of vital habits. 

The Scottish Government's Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill will be debated in the Chamber today as the final part of its passage through parliament. It is a key part of the co-operation agreement which took Scottish Greens into Government.

Scottish Greens rural affairs spokesperson, Ariane Burgess MSP, said: “This is an important Bill that was a key commitment in the co-operation agreement that brought the Scottish Greens into Government. It will mark a vital turning point in ending cruelty to animals and tackling the degradation and destruction of Scotland’s iconic uplands.

“It will be a significant step forward in terms of protecting our landscapes and tackling the scourge of wildlife crime, and in particular the killing of Scotland’s golden eagles and other birds of prey. 

“The Bill means that wildlife criminals will now be more likely to be caught, thanks to the new powers being given to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and that they will face serious repercussions. This is the bold, practical action and protections that the Scottish Greens and wildlife campaigners have long called for.

“Wildlife crime has been able to continue for too long with little chance of consequences for the perpetrators. It must be stopped. This Bill will empower the SSPCA  and help us to ensure that they think again and punish those who do not.

"The fact we are at this stage is a tribute to the many years of great work done by so many campaigners. I hope that our parliament will make them proud.”

The Bill will also take action against the uncontrolled burning of Scottish uplands for bloodsports.

Ms Burgess added: “The uncontrolled burning of Scotland's uplands just to try and increase the number of grouse available for bloodsports is bad for nature and bad for our climate. I am proud that this Bill will finally end this damaging practice on peatlands and regulate it elsewhere."