Shooting group condemns raptor lobbyists.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has issued a strongly-worded statement condemning extremist elements of the raptor lobby who criticise the country?s rural organisations and their figureheads.
Bert Burnett, a member of the SGA?s National Committee, said that such fanaticism had no place in the important debate on land management, and that raptor groups would achieve more by taking part in reasoned discussion rather than by firing abuse at the leaders of legitimate organisations.
He said: ?All bodies, even the police and medical professions, have had rotten eggs lurking in their midst in the past. Do you think other members of those professions knew about these rogues? Clearly not, because these professions and their leaders aren?t condemned and lambasted out of hand for the actions of a few.?
?Contrast that with the unwarranted vitriolic criticism of our organisations and leaders by sections of the raptor lobby. It?s totally illogical and unproductive.?
Despite cases such as that of James Rolfe, a gamekeeper on the Moy Estate near Tomatin, who was fined £1,500 in May for possessing a dead red kite, the SGA says that all of Scotland?s professional land and countryside bodies are continuing to ?try their damnedest? to eradicate unacceptable practices.
Mr Burnett felt that a more balanced approach was needed, and also attacked rogue gamekeepers, ?individuals hell bent on doing their own thing?, who use illegal pesticides such as Carbofuran.
He said: ?If you are someone who appreciates waders and smaller birds and don?t view them as simply a food supply for raptors or if you have livestock which needs to be protected, you might conclude that refusal to accept the need for licenced management of problem birds in some circumstances is extremely selfish.
?No one is calling for raptor eradication or anything close to it. If a rogue raptor is feeding on lambs or attacking gamebirds or racing pigeons then surely the best option, after other protection and scaring measures have failed, is legally to remove the offending bird or animal.?
?If someone is being issued a licence to deal legally with a problem they historically could not deal with, they are going to be less than amused when some idiot next door threatens his licence by using poison. This would in itself create another tier of peer pressure on the illegal minority.?