Raptor persecution condemned at SNP annual conference

Wheelhouse SNP14 (2)The Scottish National Party held its annual conference at the weekend. In response to the rising number of raptor poisoning and shooting incidents, we were delighted to see the issue of raptor persecution featuring prominently, once again, on the political agenda.

A resolution to tackle raptor persecution was put forward by Jennifer Dunn, seconded by the Environment Minister and strongly supported by Dennis Robertson MSP (who also called for the Government to increase the SSPCA’s investigatory powers).

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse had a message for the raptor killers:

Listen to the will of the Scottish people and understand that we will not tolerate these crimes any longer. The sand is running out of the hour glass and they [the raptor-killing criminals] really do have to start listening to the messages we’re giving them very strongly. Enough is enough. Obey the law, respect the will of the Scottish people and protect our wildlife“.

He also said: “We must recognise that not all estates are engaged in this activity, there are, unfortunately, several rotten apples in the barrel who are spoiling this for everyone. I hope people do listen to the messages today, we really don’t want to have to go down the route of licensing game-shooting but we have indicated, in Parliament and elsewhere, that if we are forced to do so, that is the direction we will travel. I hope offenders heed the warning, stop spoiling what is a strong industry in the rural economy for Scotland, and make no mistake, as I say, we will not hesitate to act if they do not listen to what we are saying“.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

Now we just need to keep holding the Minister’s feet to the fire to ensure that these threats amount to more than just rhetoric.

14 thoughts on “Raptor persecution condemned at SNP annual conference”

  1. Good news … thanks to Jennifer Dunn, Paul Wheelhouse and Dennis Robertson. I hope “The Untouchables” are listening and they issue guidelines demanding their employees obey the law. This would go a long way to ending the ill feeling which exists between the respective camps making the access to Scotland’s wilderness a more pleasant experience for many … as well as ensuring all the various raptors a healthy future. Thank you Raptor Persecution Scotland for keeping the pot boiling.

  2. This is great news, but I would recommend that RPS supporters do as I have done, and that is to phone the constituency office of any MSP or MP, as the case may be, and thank them for their efforts, when standing up for wildlife conservation. Scottish Labour has to waken up, and get itself behind this campaign to stop the killing of our birds of prey, and on other pressing animal welfare and conservation issues. The wonderful landscape of Scotland is being used by groups working with problem young people from different parts of the UK, and even more use could be made of it, if more politicians would waken up to the need to look upon Scotland’s marine and terrestrial environments, and their greater potential for creating wealth and recreation, if used in a more humane way. It is not tolerable for a well-connected minority to have so much power over what can live and die, and to treat the law with such contempt. Those who have, behind-the-scenes, given support to such malefactors should be ashamed that they have kept Scotland in a backward age.

    Conservationists mush keep up the pressure and not allow this issue to fall out of the public gaze. Scotland’s wildlife charities must play their role also, and not allow those within them, who may have an interest in not being vociferous on bird of prey crime, to dominate policy. No activity should be allowed to operate inhumane methods to further their economic goals, and no subsidies should be given from the public purse for them to do so. Again, such support may come from sympathetic persons in positions of influence.

  3. Well, excellent news at last, something for the shooting estates to think seriously about, but will they? Let’s hope Paul Wheelhouse and the rest of the SNP ministers live up to their words, we’ll see !!!

  4. Well done the SNP and especially Jennifer Dunn, Dennis Robertson and Paul Wheelhouse. The forthright language of the Environment Minister is precisely what is needed to counter the weasel words of the “opposition” which constitute the bad apples!!!! And good to have such an unequivocal statement about licencing too. Whilst it might not yet feel like it, these are all stepping stone events that are part of the route to success. With such robust statements, and political recognition from the SNP, this is not something that will slide away or demand encouragement by fire !!! I guess the most difficult part ( for us ) will be having sufficient patience to see the necessary changes come through as the inevitable pace of political initiatives is always slower than any of us would wish. But it will happen, and why ? Because the “opposition” are so consumed by their own arrogance they consider themselves above the law and that will be their greatest and most lasting mistake.

  5. Well done the 3 MSP’s and well done the Scottish National Party. A very good speech by Mr Wheelhouse. However I fear the criminals will continue and every resource should be levelled against those sick Victorian outlaws.

  6. Great rhetoric from Paul Wheelhouse, at last a minister who is standing up for wildlife and the majority against the powerful land owning minority.

  7. Land reform is needed in Scotland and other parts of the UK. These vast upland shooting estates should become the property of the people like public land in the US. Its unexceptable in 2014 that a handful of primitive toffs get to decide what wildlife the British people get to enjoy

  8. Great rhetoric & from what I can gather said in sincerity, for which I condone the Scottish Government. The problem is that Police Scotland appear to be inept in policing wildlife crime & the courts hardly punish those that are caught, instead of issuing a sentence that will act as a deterrent. Until some of these criminals end up behind bars the persecution of birds of prey will not cease.

  9. We have had strong words time and time again, what we need is action, elections next May if he gets voted out or moved in a shuffle the whole shenanigans start over again. The police are over stretched with some forces failing to report up to 20% of crime in their areas in order to keep their statistics down. The Ross-shire massacre being reported as an accident immediately springs to mind. It would be in every ones interest with the exception of the criminal fraternity if the SSPCA were given extra powers as soon as possible to assist the Police, he has the power to do this, the unanimous approval of his party, the will of the majority of the Scottish people, why do we have to keep waiting?

    1. Ah, merlin, he may well have the power to do this, the unanimous approval of his party and the will of the majority of the Scottish people, but, does he have permission from the shooting estate hierarchy ???

  10. That’s the strongest statement I’ve seen from Paul Wheelhouse. Good to hear, and I have written to thank him, Jennifer and Dennis. And copied to my MP, and MSPs in Southern Scotland. It will be interesting to see how quickly we travel down the road to licensing. I suspect we won’t be short of further incidents to back the call.

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