Is it now time to adopt a more radical Strategy to bring about an end to Persecution?

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.

Ian Gibson

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3 comments to Is it now time to adopt a more radical Strategy to bring about an end to Persecution?

  • David Bromley

    Vicarious liability – Great in theory but how many people have been prosecuted in Scotland using this piece of legislation. None.

    Enforcement has been and still is the real issue.

  • Macaris

    It’s a good idea but we certainly won’t get licensed shooting under the current government! Worth raising during the Law Commission review though and it may be better received by the next government, which we can only hope will be more friendly to wildlife. That shouldn’t be difficult!

    Editor’s Comment; All wildlife resources are a state asset just like the Houses of Parliament. When Guy Faulks was arrested after his botched attempt to blow up Parliament he was found guilty and executed for treason. Perhaps the same kind of justice could be implemented upon those criminals who have been convicted of destroying birds of prey? Just a thought, after all the Bible speaks of an eye for an eye doesn’t it?

  • Hugh

    As I understand it diversionary feeding is proposed as a solution to Stephen Redpath’s finding that hen harriers can remove what the industry calls the “shootable surplus” from red grouse moors (note this just means there aren’t enough “spare” red grouse to shoot in their hundreds, just enough to sustain the population).

    If this is the case then hen harriers and driven red grouse shooting are essentially incompatible. I tend to agree with the author of this blog that diversionary feeding is not the solution.

    So the radical but logical strategy seems to me to ban driven shooting altogether as incompatible with our nation’s stated commitments to protecting biodiversity. It should be consigned to the dustbin of outmoded hunting practices along with tiger and gorilla hunting to be replaced with walked up grouse shooting like the rest of the world.

    Of course this sadly won’t happen because our politicians would rather wring their hands over the fate of the polar bear than tackle local extinctions.