Licence to kill
About 35 million pheasants are released in the UK annually with anywhere between five and eight million of those released in Scotland. Research, by the game industry itself, has shown that on average 1-2 per cent of pheasants are killed by birds of prey. How can this be classed as a serious loss?
Apart from the 50 per cent which are shot, huge numbers are lost to other factors such as disease, weather and the very evident mass slaughter on our roads. Pheasants are an introduced species, unlike our native and supposedly "protected" buzzard. Serious questions should be asked about the damage this massive number of an alien species is having on Scotland's native fauna and flora.
With 12 buzzards having been confirmed as poisoned in the first six months of 2009, one has to wonder if this move is an attempt by the game industry to legitimise illegal activity.