Dear Mr Cantlay

Raven. Photo: Tim Melling

Dear Mr Cantlay

Your standard letter on the subject of the Raven cull, which I received yesterday, is a poor thing.  Whoever drafted it for you isn’t doing a good job.  Your letter slides around the subject in a most unappealing manner.

You seem to want to justify the licensing of your Raven cull on the grounds that ‘a lot of killing of corvids goes on by lots of people’.  You must know that this does not provide good or legal grounds for such a licence to be issued.  If this is all you’ve got then you must revoke the licence.

Your letter provides no evidence that this licence for scientific research is justified on scientific grounds. In fact, we know that the matter has been referred to a scientific committee for its view. Why was this not done before the licence was issued? Anyway, until that committee opines then you cannot have safe scientific grounds for the licensing – so the licence should be revoked.

SNH should revoke the licence.

This is a serious matter and so I am copying this letter to the Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and by so doing I am asking her to intervene to end this unjustified cull.


Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

Get email notifications of new blog posts

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

9 Replies to “Dear Mr Cantlay”

  1. You can email Roseanna Cunningham here -
    She can revoke the licence as I suspect SNH won't.

  2. An excellent response Mark; as always.Thanks again for all you do to help our persecuted birds.

  3. Relevant is "SNH response to RSPB on the Strathbraan licence" at, dated 3rd May. Worth a read.

    A couple of things that caught my eye from a first read through included:

    "The assertion by RSPB in recent press coverage that possible impacts of ravens are not supported by any evidence is incorrect and misleading." - Mike Cantlay provides no evidence for his assertion. As I recall, RSPB did back up their's.

    "The licence application, rationale and methodologies were developed with support from GWCT scientists. It is not a traditional academic study ... ". Well that's alright then.

    Have read a read and see if you are more persuaded.


    1. In addition: "we are duty bound to assess any licence application on its merits." True: but they can only issue a licence if specifically enabled to do so by statute law and in compliance with the terms of that law. I don't think the issue of this licence even begins to do that. They have misunderstood their powers at a most basic level. Or so it seems to me, but I have asked them.

      It's a nasty letter, the person who drafted it for Cantlay is clearly a wrong'un. If SNH want help to "build consensus" they have not made a great start by ignoring all the leading conservation organisations before issuing a licence to what looks very like a false flag outfit set up by shooting interests.

      There are increasing numbers of government actions across the UK seemingly ignoring the science. Is this the first concrete example I have seen making that explicit? "This proposal helps us explore this issue in an adaptive and community-led way, without detriment to the wider raven population." The words have such charm but they disguise a deeply disturbing willingness on the part of a public authority to engage with the irrational. Happily, the law does not permit it.

    2. Thank you for this link.
      "To be clear though, this application came to SNH almost a year in advance of Working for Waders coming into being."
      Is 'Working for Waders' the same as "the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust"?
      Does this imply a half-baked application was shored up with a half-arsed appearance of partnership working?

      "I personally have received some serious and malicious communications, and this continues. I have also received a number of supportive communications from individuals and groups who expect SNH to do its utmost to support a species in decline."
      How does he categorise ours, I wonder. Is 'serious' distinct from 'malicious'? Are critical messages expecting SNH to do its job considered 'support'? Or has he overlooked the tranche of respectful objections which dwarfs the rest?

  4. I see the Countryside Areliars are using the conservationist objection to this farcical licence as yet another excuse for some unjustified Packham bashing, their yawningly favourite sport. They claim it is because his public letter of outrage has encouraged the death threat that Cantlay has received, all their usual bollocks in other words. As an aside how do you kill something that is already dead from the neck up?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.