Will grouse group be unbiased?
ROB Edwards quoted a Scottish Government spokeswoman as saying: “We are setting up an independent group to examine how best to ensure that grouse shooting businesses are sustainable and compliant with the law ... Licensing may be one way to achieve this. We will await the recommendations of that group before commenting on the detail of any specific proposals” (Shooting season gets off to inglorious start with claims of slaughter of endangered birds, News, August 13).
About 15 years ago, the Scottish Government established a group to advise on policy on seals. It contained three times as many people in favour of shooting seals as those wishing to protect seals. Despite working on the issue for 30 years and having brought the only successful prosecution under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, I was repeatedly refused membership of the advisory group.
In 2015, I had to lodge several complaints before someone who had admitted in court to nine breaches of salmon conservation legislation was removed from a group advising the Scottish Government on salmon conservation legislation.
Who will be on this grouse shooting advisory group? Experts on the danger of toxic lead shot in the environment? Someone to speak out on behalf of the native species of birds, mammals and reptiles which might predate on grouse eggs, chicks and adult birds and are thus very unwelcome on grouse moors?
Of course, there will be no need for anyone keen on protecting raptors as shooting estates are always reminding us that it is never anyone working for them who shoots, traps or poisons birds of prey and destroys their nests, eggs and chicks. It will be interesting to see who is in the group and just how biased it will be. John F Robins Animal Concern Advice Line