QC: golden eagle study shows “unconscious bias”
A QC has discovered “significant shortcomings” into an investigation of the disappearance of golden eagles in Scotland.
A 2017 report from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), requested by environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham, concluded that many satellite-tracked golden eagles died in suspicious circumstances.
However, on examining the evidence, Ronnie
Clancy QC, for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA), said that there was evidence of “unconcious bias”. He said: “The concept of suspicion centred on grouse moors looms large behind the question which the authors sought to answer.
“This gives rise to a danger that the evidence is analysed in a state of unconscious bias as to the outcome.”
Mr Clancy concluded:
“It does look as if the study is being manipulated to obtain a desirable result ... The original analysis produced nothing of statistical significance.”
SGA chairman Alex Hogg commented: “The legal opinion… highlights that the connection between grouse moors and suspicious tags in the SNH report was initially found to be insignificant — until the authors shifted the parameters and extended the boundaries of the moors by up to 4km.” “Now is the time to start feeding wild birds,” says Alan Edwards, headkeeper at the award-winning Bywell estate.
Establish a thorough network of feed stations and specially planted wild bird crops. Wheat is a cost-effective way of filling hoppers but they need to be maintained and not allowed to run dry. Also scatter feed by hand, which catches birds that are not brave enough to join the feeding frenzy that can occur around a hopper.
Unless you physically put some food out, the birds will move on until they find a viable food source or succumb to starvation.
Make sure you have room in your freezer for storing all the game you’re going to be shooting and ensure that every package is clearly labelled, for example, “8 pheasant breasts October 2018”. Make sure the game is wrapped up correctly; cling film will crack and break, leaving the flesh within to succumb to freezer burn.
For tips on how to freeze game, visit po.st/freezegame.
Golden eagle chicks are fitted with satellite tags for the SNH study