Raptor rescue

AlAstair Robertson, (Weekend Life, 9 August), asked the public to trust gamekeepers before scientists when it came to understanding raptor populations, stating they are best placed to judge on the licensed killing of raptors.

The “couthy country folk know best approach” has over generations engendered a culture where members of the driven grouse shooting industry in particular believe they are justified in killing birds of prey, because scientists “do not understand” and therefore the law is “wrong”.

This is best illustrated by the extinction of hen harriers from driven grouse moors in the east and south of Scotland. So embedded is the culture that any cessation would reduce the “take” of artificially inflated grouse bags thus rendering the industry financially unviable, which helps explain why they are so reluctant to cease the killings.

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On Sunday we had the first “Hen Harrier Day”, a public protest in northern England, calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting, which was to be attended by several Scots as hen harriers are no respecters of national boundaries.


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