Golden Eagle

Bird of prey persecution at an all-time low

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Press Release

Following publication today of the RSPB ‘Birdcrime’ report, Scottish Land & Estates – whose membership includes sporting estates across Scotland – issued the following statement.

David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “There has been a tremendous amount of progress made in tackling raptor persecution, which is totally unacceptable in this day and age, and this has been achieved mainly by estates and gamekeepers embracing best, modern land management practices, as well as changes in legislation and regulation.

“Reports published recently demonstrate that the illegal persecution of raptors is now at an all-time low and we expect this trend to continue. Further legislation such as grouse moor licensing, as demanded by RSPB, is not needed. It would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut and would place yet another bureaucratic burden on a sector that delivers widespread social, economic and environmental benefits in rural Scotland.

“A lot of this debate is based around the disappearance of satellite-tagged birds which is alleged to happen almost entirely by persecution around grouse moors. We accept that some satellite-tagged birds may have been persecuted in the past but as the link to the website below shows there can be other reasons for tag failure. 

“This tag data is closely guarded and restricted to groups who themselves are pursuing an agenda to further restrict grouse shooting. A large part of the recent Land Reform Act was about transparency and accountability of landowners, which we support, and we fundamentally believe it is now time for this openness and transparency to be also applied to the monitoring of birds. We can see no reason why it isn’t possible to have all the tags live on a web page for all the public to view. We have nothing to hide, so let everyone see it.”