Wildlife protection bill will shield birds of prey and natural landscapes from abuse

Scotland's wildlife and landscapes are iconic. With this bill we can make them even more special.

New rules will protect birds of prey and Scotland’s iconic natural landscapes from abuse or harm if MSPs agree to vote them through in parliament, say the Scottish Greens.

The Scottish Government's Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill can be a turning point in tackling the ecological destruction caused by driven grouse shooting, according to the party's rural affairs spokesperson Ariane Burgess MSP.

Ms Burgess spoke out in favour of the bill, which is part of the Bute House Agreement, ahead of a stage one Scottish Parliament debate. 

This week the police said that a golden eagle missing from the Scottish Borders is likely to have come to harm. It could be the latest example of the continued persecution of Scotland’s birds of prey, which this bill aims to halt.

Ms Burgess said: “This bill will be a turning point in protecting Scotland’s iconic wildlife. It will introduce much-needed protections that the Scottish Greens and environmental campaigners have long called for, and will finally curb destructive and cruel blood sports.

“The practice of setting fire to the moors on peatland soils to support blood sports is bad for our environment and for our wildlife. Our natural environments should serve our communities and climate goals, not a small group of businesses and individuals that perpetuate shooting our wildlife for fun.

“Scotland’s nature and landscapes are known and celebrated across the world. With this important bill we can make them even more special."

Commenting on the new powers that the bill will also give to the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Ms Burgess added: “Wildlife crime has been endemic on our grouse moors for too long, not least because the criminals have known that they can get away with it. This bill will ensure protections for golden eagles and other iconic animals. 

“Only this week we have seen concerns that yet another golden eagle may have come to harm. We need to end this persecution for good and ensure that we are a nation that protects animals and cares about their welfare.”

The bill has already won support from respected organisations and campaigners including  RSPB Scotland, Scottish Environment LINK and Revive.