A press release from the RSPB in Scotland


RSPB Scotland has dismissed a press release issued today by the “Gift of Grouse” campaign that attempts to draw a veil over the continued persecution of birds of prey on areas of land managed intensively for driven grouse shooting. The reports on which these assertions are based are not in the public domain, and therefore have not been subject to the usual levels of public scrutiny.

However, recent peer-reviewed scientific reports published in the last 12 months link sharp declines in nesting peregrines and hen harriers in NE Scotland to illegal killing; a recently-published SNH report shows that there has been no decline in the levels of persecution of red kites in north Scotland over 25 years; and, results of the 2015 golden eagle survey show that levels of home range occupancy by golden eagles is significantly below the national average in the eastern highlands, where grouse moor management is a dominant land use. In this part of eastern Scotland, prey availability is high, and golden eagles should be more numerous and more productive than almost anywhere else in the country.

There are also ongoing concerns about the regular “disappearance” of satellite-tagged birds of prey in grouse moor areas, to the extent that a review of these incidents has been commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP.

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations said: “The content of today’s statement from the Gift of Grouse campaign is pure, unadulterated propaganda from an industry that, quite rightly, is under increasing public scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament. Their claims have no supporting evidence, their methodology is not explained, and to suggest that incidental observations of raptors which may merely have been flying over an estate indicate a population that is “thriving” is clearly ludicrous.

“It is astonishing that the Angus Glens area is being held up as an example of good practice, given the long absence of successfully-breeding raptors over much of this region, as well as its appalling recent history of illegal killing of protected species. Walkers in the area this spring were greeted by a plethora of gas guns, inflatable decoys and strings of fireworks scattered across the hills, all designed to scare off, rather than welcome, birds of prey!”



And here is the Gift of Grouse press release.

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8 Replies to “A press release from the RSPB in Scotland”

  1. Brain washing the public is an easy way of saying 'every thing is all right' but I recently asked for information about the missing Peregrines from these Red Grouse moors in Scotland with no reply! If the North of England can give a figure for lost Peregrine sites why can't Scotland with all its organised raptor workers?

  2. There's no way the RSPB could have sat back and let them come out with these outrageous lies. What have all the years of accommodation and gentlemanly talks with this shower achieved? The only time I can remember the RSPB coming out with such strong language is when the SGA issued a press release saying sea eagles could be a threat to small children.

  3. I wonder if the RSPB has the political muscle to tackle these louts it needs direct action similar the the hunt sabs who are going recognition in exposing the cruelty and the lack of interest from the police ( which needs addressing by senior police officers because its leading more and more to the theory that there are senior police officers ordering officers to ingnore these crimes) if you heard the recent programme about grouse moors you will know that it is not possibly to discuss anything with those who support grouse shooting owing to the arrogance and ignorance of these people. And the connections in high places

  4. At last, and not before time, a straight-talking, hard-hitting, public statement from the RSPB. Let's hope they keep it up in response to the inaccurate and misleading propaganda pumped out by vested interests within the shooting fraternity. I am even tempted to increase my membership subscription.

  5. Thank goodness the RSPB have shown a bit of backbone and made a really clear, strong statement.
    Over at RPUK their press release has been met with a chorus of approval, but people seem more muted here.

  6. Good on the RSPB for their response. However they have been previously guilty of not refuting the blatant lies regularly spouted by the grouse shooting industry. I sincerely hope this is the necessary change of policy if they wish to win public understanding & sympathy.

  7. As with many institutions, I'm wondering how much RSPB Scotland will be diverging from the broader UK organisation? The political and legal reality in Scotland is currently so different from the rest of the UK, just as markedly in sphere of conservation as elsewhere (Vicarious Liability and provision for withdrawal of the General License already being in effect, licensing of gamebird shooting currently in discussion in the Scottish Parliament, Land Reform very much on the agenda), that RSPB policy (and practice) in Scotland, if it is to exploit the very 'live' situation on its hands there, might well look increasingly different to that in the rest of the UK, at least in the immediate future.


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