Thursday, 19 December 2013

Where There is a Will...

Following on from news earlier in the week that a gamekeeper in a prestigious Norfolk Estate was arrested and charged with a number of wildlife crimes involving raptors the sad news that a satellite tracked Golden Eagle had been found on a grouse moor in Angus (see here and here) earlier this month.

Rather predictably organisations like Scottish Land & Estates ( who represent the landowners in Scotland) and Scottish Gamekeepers Association (who represent some of the thugs that carry out these crimes gamekeepers) managed to break off from their festivities to issue short statements on their respective websites, see here and here.

Just examine SL&E's statement for a second "Scottish Land & Estates is an enthusiastic member of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland and will continue to do whatever it can to help the police and the Scottish Government". To do whatever it can...

Here we have an organisation representing (amongst others) some of the most wealthy individuals in Scotland who own vast tracts of the Scottish countryside and receive millions in public subsidies for farming and other grants. These landowners employ gamekeepers who spend huge amounts of time in the field and are (quoting from the SGA website) "keen to engage with the public to dispel myths and explain our role in making the wonderful Scottish countryside what it is, so that we are properly seen as Scotland's true conservationists." 

To do whatever it can...

Here are a couple of ideas for Scottish Land & Estates if it really wants its commitment to stop raptor persecution taken seriously:

1. How about a reward for information? Given that the combined wealth of SL&E members is likely to run into hundreds of millions, the public subsidies received by it's members must be in the tens of millions of pounds yet they can't muster a few thousand pounds reward between them to catch the individuals who consistently bring shame and disgrace on the majority of honest law-abiding estates.

2. How about going further? This eagle was found due to satellite-tagging. Both organisations argue vigorously that raptor persecution is declining and not widespread. How about funding a satellite -tagging programme for every Golden Eagle chick hatched in Scotland for the next 10 years? Could probably be done for less than a quarter of a million. It would certainly add a little more pressure on the shoulders of those who seem to be able to lay poisoned baits around the Scottish countryside with impunity.

3. On that latter point, just how many poisoned baits have ever been reported to the RSPB or the Police in Scotland by gamekeepers? Given that these are individuals who are so keen to dispel myths, believe they are the true conservationists and live and work in these remote locations how many of the killers of Golden Eagles, Buzzards and Red Kites have been caught as a result of evidence provided by gamekeepers? Perhaps if the landowners offered a little direction or how about a bonus scheme, seems to work well in the Banking Sector.

1 comment:

Steve Ward said...

Alan. I would be hesitant to agree that the majority of estates are honest and law-abiding, though I would like to be proven wrong