It’s been another year of shocking wildlife crimes being uncovered on grouse moors in the UK, including the illegal poisoning of this iconic white-tailed eagle, found dead on a grouse moor inside the Cairngorms National Park in the spring (see here).
[The poisoned white-tailed eagle, photo by Police Scotland]
Last week, Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone lodged a Parliamentary question asking what assessment the Scottish Government has made of the impact on the rural economy of wildlife crime linked to grouse moor management (see here).
Her question, and a supplementary one, were ‘answered’ by Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon during Portfolio Question Time yesterday in the Scottish Parliament.
When I say ‘answered’, I use the term loosely. A more fitting word might be ‘sidestepped’.
Here’s how it went:
It’s good that Mairi Gougeon acknowledges the potential economic damage of wildlife crime linked to grouse moor management – it’d be insane to claim that the photograph of that poisoned eagle, laying dead on a grouse moor inside the Cairngorms National Park of all bloody places, would not have an economic impact and, as the Minister pointed out, on Scotland’s international reputation.
But the question Alison asked was ‘What assessment of that economic damage has the Scottish Government undertaken?’
None, it seems.
Still, as the Government’s response to the Werritty Review is imminent, we can all look forward to “decisive action” on wildlife crime linked to grouse moor management, as Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham assured us all in August after a huge outpouring of public anger about this poisoned sea eagle (see here).