Scottish Birdfair 2013: disappointing venue choice

RSPB Scotland have just announced their choice of venue for the 2013 Scottish Birdfair. Astonishingly, they’ve chosen Hopetoun House again (see announcement here).

The Scottish Birdfair is not to be confused with the excellent British Birdfair which is held at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, where raptor conservation is actively practiced and promoted, e.g. see here.

The inaugural Scottish Birdfair took place in 2012 and was held at Hopetoun House. This choice of venue did more than raise a few eyebrows because of the link between Hopetoun and the Leadhills Estate. For background:

The concept of the Scottish Birdfair is great; who would argue that holding an event to promote Scottish birds and their conservation among the general public is a bad thing? But we’re at a complete loss to understand the venue choice; it seems to be a massive kick in the teeth for all those people, including the RSPB’s own Investigations Team, who have spent years and years uncovering allegations of illegal raptor persecution at Leadhills and fought hard battles to get some of those allegations proven in a court of law.

RSPB Scotland has previously defended its venue choice by saying they accept the Earl of Hopetoun’s condemnation of illegal raptor persecution. There’s no doubt that the Earl has repeatedly condemned such activities, but then so did over 200 Scottish landowners in a 2010 letter (see here) to the then Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham and yet still the persecution continues…

We expected better of the RSPB, especially as one of the leading groups fighting against illegal raptor persecution. What’s their strapline these days? It used to be ‘Standing up for Nature’, now they use ‘Nature’s Voice’. Hmmm, really?

11 thoughts on “Scottish Birdfair 2013: disappointing venue choice”

  1. Surely within Scotland there has to be a venue that is similar to that at Rutland Water. It would be interesting to know out of the 200 signatures to the 2010 letter are active and continue to be active supporters and subscribers?

  2. Quote:
    “We expected better of the RSPB, especially as one of the leading groups fighting against illegal raptor persecution.”

    There are 2 sides to the RSPB, there’s the cowtowing public face side which is totally publicity and money orientated and there’s the other side where the true dedicated ornithologists and conservationists attempt through constant adversity to protect our very precious Raptors. Two guesses which side of the RSPB organised the Hopetoun Scottish Bird Fair.

  3. As I told them last year – I could no longer support them – and I still can’t – but with members like the Environment Minister what do they care?

  4. I did not go last year because of the location and I won’t be going this year. There loss not mine. If more people did the same maybe they would take notice.

  5. The RSPB has sent out an urgent appeal to raise 600,000 pounds to save the HEN HARRIER in England and in certain areas of Scotland. However, I am keeping my hand in pocket until I get an answer about the 2013 location of the Birdfair. It seems that one hand does not know what the other hand is doing at the RSPB. I honestly do not think that anything constructive long term in Scotland for wildlife conservation is possible, until we really address the land ownership problem. No modern country should be allowing to own land unless they conform to modern scientific conservation methods of managing the landscape. It is an anachronism to have just anyone being able to buy estates and do as they please. There should be a plan for managing Scotland’s countryside, with all those making a living off the land adhering to what the law states, and for resources to be awarded to those who contribute to the overall restoration of Scotland’s fauna and flora heritage.

    From where I am standing, I have little trust in what sits at Holyrood really making much impression on the cruelty and persecution being experienced by birds of prey and other wildlife in Scotland. I think the RSPB should start listening to those of its staff are dedicated to eradicating wildlife crime from the Scottish countryside, and for all wildlife protection and animal rights groups to join in one great campaign to rid Scotland of those breaking the wildlife laws. Too much division against a mass bloc of abusers.

  6. I concur with the sentiments outlined in the last post with regard to land ownership – no single person, trust, estate or some sort of wigmaleery organisation (other than a statutory body) should be allowed to own more than a moderate holding of the national resource – when Adam delved and Eve span, who then was the gentleman?


  7. Reading through some of these comments I notice that no one has offered or thought of an alternative venue, at the very least the R.S.P.B are doing something , so why don’t you all stop “bumming your chat” and offer constructive assistance rather than doing down a very worthwhile charity !!
    There is not a castle nor estate in Scotland that will not have a raptor issue, nor a fox nor a badger or Deer, what they do have are locations that can and do benefit these kind of events, if a word is given first acceptance is all the respective charity can accept, however there will always be an “anorak” brigade usually still living with their mum with to much time on their hands letting to moans.

    1. Other venues have been mentioned on other posts, such as a return to Vane Farm or a move to one of the country parks in the central belt.

      Furthermore, most people on here will (and probably do) support the RSPB in one way or another, but these people are entitled to criticise the RSPB’s choice of venue for the Birdfair, especially when there are strong suggestions that this estate is linked to serious and prolonged raptor persecution.

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