Will grouse group be un­bi­ased?

Sunday Herald - - EDITORIAL & LETTERS -

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

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