There was a radio debate on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme today, with RSPB Scotland Director, Stuart Housden and Scottish Land & Estates’ Moorland Group Director, Tim Baynes.
If anyone still needs evidence that the grouse-shooting industry is in hopeless denial about the link between driven grouse moors and the illegal killing of raptors, this was it.
The debate centred on whether there was a ‘need’ for the introduction of a licensed regulatory system for driven grouse moors, as recently called for by the RSPB, both in England (here) and in Scotland (here).
According to Tim (Kim) Baynes, the RSPB’s data on raptor persecution are “out of date” and there is “very little proof” of raptor persecution. In Tim’s world, driven grouse moors are great because waders do a lot better on them than they do on moorland managed by the RSPB. Unsurprisingly, he failed to acknowledge that if you kill every predator that dares to even look at a driven grouse moor then of course waders (and grouse) are going to thrive but at a significant cost to the wider biodiversity, such as that that you’ll find on an RSPB-managed moor. He also tried to use the woeful rate of criminal convictions as evidence that persecution wasn’t happening, and ignored the massive pile of scientific papers that tell a different story. Oh dear.
It’s astonishing that such a PR-savvy organisation such as SLE has not yet grasped the idea that the recent up-swell of public interest and anger against driven grouse moor management is largely thanks to the shooting industry’s failure to accept that there is an issue. Ah well, never mind, you keep denying it, Kim – you’re doing wonders for our cause!
Well done Stuart Housden for not guffawing out loud on national radio.
The radio debate can be heard here (01:52:08) for the next seven days.