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Statement on Hen Harrier video

Scottish Land & Estates has issued the following statement following a press release issued by RSPB Scotland earlier today.

David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Evidence of apparent ill-treatment of any protected species is, of course, deeply concerning.

“It is a matter for the prosecuting authorities to decide and explain the outcome of cases but we know that wildlife crime is treated with the utmost seriousness by Police Scotland and the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service. This particular case has been under careful consideration for nearly four years.

“Wildlife crime happens in a range of places – including, sadly, on sporting estates from time to time. We condemn it out of hand and urge the full force of the law to be brought to bear on those who engage in such activity.

“What we do reject is the assertion by RSPB and those opposed to shooting that the illegal killing of raptors is endemic on shooting estates.  Official statistics have revealed a very significant decline in raptor persecution incidents in recent years and this is recognised by police and government.

"Very stringent legislation introduced by the Scottish Government has had an impact and criminal proceedings are only part of extensive anti-wildlife crime measures implemented including stricter employment contracts and robust training programmes.

“We are encouraged that many estates have been very active in implementing measures to not only ensure that the law is complied with but also to contribute to conservation efforts. Many of our members are actively involved in raptor conservation and have so far volunteered 325,000 acres of land to be used for filming of nests as part of the Heads Up for Harriers Initiative.

“In this instance, the estate in question was praised in an RSPB report last year as a potential model sporting estate given its commitment to species conservation, including Hen Harriers.

“Scottish Land & Estates has recommended developing and strengthening the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime – which includes our organisation, the police and RSPB – and we believe this would further improve collaborative efforts in tackling the issue. We remain wholly committed in our efforts to stamp out wildlife crime completely.”


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