The news of two young Golden Eagles, Adam and Charlie, disappearing in the Strathbraan grouse-shooting area within hours of each other on 18 April is truly shocking. Watch the video and you will see for the first time ever, that I can recall, the story being told so clearly, so quickly and by such a varied group of concerned individuals: a broadcaster and campaigner (Chris Packham), a senior police officer (Chief Inspector Lou Hubble), an experienced investigator of raptor persecution (Ian Thomson of the RSPB) and a prominent Scottish politician (Andy Wightman MSP).
I’ve watched the video several times. But it does have one serious mistake which I hope will soon be rectified. I’ll come back to that in a minute.
Well done to Andy Wightman for calling out the shooting industry for sullying the reputation of Scotland and for saying that powerful vested interests are hampering progress on this issue through political pressure.
So I’m afraid that the serious mistake in the video was made by my mate Chris Packham when he said ‘Everyone’s coming to the end of their tether with this persecution‘ because there is, as yet, no evidence that Nicola Sturgeon’s government is at the end of its tether.
We await the Werrity Report but no-one expects it to be earth shattering or a great leap forward. I’m sure that Scottish ministers will be attending the Scottish Game Fair this week, as usual, and glad-handing the shooting industry as though they were all pillars of society, and essential to the rural economy, as if nothing has happened.
So Nicola Sturgeon, Fergus Ewing and Roseanna Cunningham, tell us – how much tether do you have left? Are you going to act, or are you going to duck the issue? Are you bothered?