Im somewhat concerned that some people are pinning their hopes on Vicarious Liability helping the cause against harrier persecution. All I see happening is employers urging their gamekeepers to be more cautious in the way they kill harriers in future.
On balance it is probably a step in the right direction, but more radical changes, and actions, are required to rid us of this scourge. Pinning hope on diversionary feeding is equally ludicrous. Apart from the domestication of one of our most iconic wilderness species, gamekeepers are often strongly opposed, regarding it as a means to increasing the harrier population. How can we deny that? In my experience, albeit on just one study moor, this practice does’nt work anyway. Keepers are not just concerned with adults feeding grouse chicks to their young, they also regard full-grown female harriers as a threat to full-grown grouse outside the harrier breeding season.
There is also a strong myth shared by grouse-shooters and gamekeepers alike that the mere presence of a harrier on a grouse moor on the day of a shoot spoils that day by scaring the grouse off their land. Anyone with experience of watching harriers will know that to be nonsense, just another excuse to kill them.
A much more effective law against these criminals would be to licence the activity of grouse-shooting, and issue appropriate term bans on moors found guilty of killing harriers or other protected species.
Engaging in ethically questionable projects in partnership with the alleged criminals, as at Langholm, is a waste of time and other resources, in my humble opinion. It also gives the offenders greater credibility in PR terms.