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The dreadful news regarding the poisoning of another golden eagle in Angus (your report, 20 December) is the second such offence this week after a poisoned buzzard was discovered in Stirlingshire. This marks a dreadful end to the year of Natural Scotland, in which the golden eagle was voted the nation’s favourite bird.

The public may be confused as to why the persecution of birds of prey continues, despite ever-stiffer penalties. The reason is simply economics; to generate artificially and unnatural surpluses of red grouse for shooting, gamekeepers must eradicate all “vermin”, including hares, crows, foxes, stoats, weasels, badgers and protected birds of prey. If this were to cease, driven grouse moors would no longer be viable.

The public has shown its support for the golden eagle, it is now time for the government to do likewise and introduce estate licensing and call a halt to driven grouse shooting.

Logan D Steele

Bridgewater Avenue

Auchterarder, Perthshire