Farmer with banned poison fined
A farmer has been fined £1,200 for possessing a banned lethal poison.
• Tom McKellar pleaded guilty to possession of carbofuran
• One grain will kill a bird and one millilitre a human being
Police searching Tom McKellar’s farm in June 2009 found three containers of the pesticide carbofuran.
One millilitre of the pesticide, which can be administered in solid or liquid form, can kill a human and one grain of it can kill a bird.
The 50-year-old told officers that he put carbofuran on meat for foxes to eat.
McKellar, from Bridge of Orchy, Argyll pleaded guilty to possessing the substance at Oban Sheriff Court in April.
Poisoning with carbofuran has killed around 240 animals in Scotland since 1988, mostly birds of prey but also foxes, cats and dogs.
Craig Harris, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit at the Crown Office, said: “Carbofuran is an extremely toxic pesticide and even the tiniest amounts can be fatal to our wildlife. Possession of carbofuran is illegal and those who unlawfully retain stocks can expect to be brought before the court.
“This conviction and sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks about keeping this substance. We remain committed to ensuring carbofuran is removed from the countryside and we will continue to work with our partners to find the best way to achieve this.”
It has become the substance of choice for people involved in illegal poisoning activities in Scotland over the last decade, the Crown Office said.
Carbofuran was used in agricultural products to control pests in crops but was withdrawn in 2001 and is now illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, said: “The illegal killing of protected birds of prey remains a persistent problem in some parts of Scotland, with, for example, six golden eagles confirmed as illegally poisoned recently, including one in Lochaber earlier this year.
“We call upon the Scottish Government to urgently review the penalties imposed by the courts on those who break our wildlife laws.”
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