Last week the BBC Alba’s current affairs programme Eòrpa had a 14-minute feature on the debate around driven grouse shooting in Scotland.
The programme is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next 28 days (see here, starts at 00.53 mins to 14.45).
It was good to see yet more exposure of this environmental train wreck and this was a pretty good feature because it included a variety of talking heads and gave some of them enough time to hang themselves.
The line-up included Tim (Kim) Baynes (Director Scottish Moorland Group, Scottish Land & Estates, Gift of Grouse), Jenny McCallum (Spokesperson for Loch Ness Rural Communities, one of the regional gamekeeper moorland groups), Professor Allan Werritty (Chair, Grouse Moor Management Review Group), Alison Johnstone MSP (Scottish Greens), Duncan Orr-Ewing (RSPB Scotland), Angus MacLeod (Barvas & Garynahine Estate, Isle of Lewis), Malcolm Combe (University Strathclyde Law School) and Fabien Chaudre (French Agency for Biodiversity).
A highlight was Alison Johnstone’s sarcasm about the concept of driven grouse shooting (see at 5.19 mins) but even she couldn’t top the comedic contribution of Tim (Kim) Baynes, whose straight-faced denial of ongoing raptor persecution on grouse moors, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, was as entertaining as watching Donald Trump declare himself the election victor.
[Cartoon by Mr Carbo]
Here’s what Tim (Kim) had to say:
“A generation ago, or two generations ago, the control of birds of prey was fairly routine whether it was for game management, or sheep management, or livestock, but there’s been a huge change in that over the last generation and particularly over the last five to ten years where people have realised that this is not the way to go, they’ve learnt more about the relationships between birds of prey and other species. There will always be these tensions between management activities and birds of prey but I think that people have really realised now that this is, you can’t, you simply can’t go out and kill them and it really very rarely happens now“.
Of course, for those of us who take an interest in this subject, this bare-faced denial is what we’ve come to expect from Tim (Kim) and his ridiculous grouse lobby pals, e.g. see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here for a dazzling array of previous denials and spin.
Tim’s (Kim’s) performance on Eòrpa and all these previous years of denial provide a perfect illustration of how the grouse shooting industry has fundamentally failed to self-regulate. ‘Deny everything and carry on’, appears to have been the mantra.
It’s also a perfect illustration of why the Scottish Government, having given the industry chance after chance after chance after chance to clean up its act, is now under unprecedented public pressure to finally act.
And the funniest thing of all of it? All these denials from the Scottish Moorland Group, whose Chair, for years, has been Lord Hopetoun of Leadhills Estate.
You couldn’t make it up.