by John F. Robins
I’d like you to view a short video (link at the foot of this page). In fact I’d like you to view it two or three times just so you believe that you really are hearing with your own ears exactly what Aileen McLeod, the Scottish Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said on July 4, 2015 about the Scottish Gamekeepers Association. In particular listen for the bit where she thanks “…. the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association for all the long term support which you have provided to Scottish Government in various areas of policy, development and implementation and making sure we are implementing best practices of conservation and wildlife and wildlife management.…”.
Near the end of the video listen for the few words from the newly crowned Young Gamekeeper of the Year 2015. He clearly illustrates why Dr. McLeod and her colleagues should not be basing Government policy and national legislation on advice from gamekeepers when he states, “Vermin control is a big part of the job.”
He also says his job involves “Looking after wildlife in general.” That’s the problem with gamekeepers: they do not realize that what they call “vermin” are in fact very important species of native wildlife who just happen to kill for food what the gamekeepers’ paymasters kill for fun.
Perhaps this explains the General Licensing scheme, which allows the uncontrolled and unjustified killing of over 20 species of native birds by people who simply have to read an online license to obtain legal permission to use a wide variety of methods to kill an unlimited number of birds because they believe they are justified in doing so?
Perhaps this explains why gamekeepers and water bailiffs can easily obtain licences to shoot seals, including lactating female seals, in the estuaries of salmon rivers?
Perhaps this explains why cruel and indiscriminate snares are still legal in Scotland?
Perhaps this explains why almost anything which might eat the egg or a chick of that non-native species the pheasant can be “managed” to local extinction by game keepers?
Perhaps this explains why it is legal for gamekeepers to kill and leave to rot thousands of mountain hares, in the belief that by doing so they will reduce the number of ticks which might attack grouse chicks (instead of increasing the number of ticks which will infest grouse because one of their major hosts has been removed from the area)?
You do not even have to bring into the equation the number of gamekeepers who have been prosecuted for wildlife crimes such as shooting, poisoning and trapping birds of prey to realize that their choice of advisors make Dr. McLeod and her Government a bigger risk than acid rain and Chernobyl fallout to the Scottish wild environment and the native creatures who should inhabit it without fear of persecution.
Excuse me while I find a brick wall to bang my head against.
You can view the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cCeog_l3Rs
––John F. Robins
Post Office Box 5178
Dumbarton, Scotland G82 5YJ.