Gamebird releases: Parliamentary questions for Scottish Government

At the end of October 2020, campaign group Wild Justice secured an historic environmental legal victory when DEFRA agreed to licence the annual release of some 60 million pheasants and red-legged partridges, to control ecological damage to wildlife sites (see here).

[Captive-reared poults waiting to be put inside a release pen in a Scottish forest. They’ll stay there for a few months before being let out, chased and shot, all in the name of sport. Photo by Ruth Tingay]

While we await the details of that proposed licensing scheme from DEFRA, politicians in the devolved countries are also paying close attention to what’s going on.

Mark Ruskell MSP (Scottish Greens) has lodged a series of Parliamentary questions on this topic, as follows:

S5W-33328 Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Government what steps it plans to take to address the negative effects of gamebird releases within (a) European protected sites and (b) a 500m buffer zone around European protected sites, and (a) when and (b) how it will amend section 14(2A) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended for Scotland.

S5W-33329 Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Government whether it (a) is aware of and (b) had any role in the UK Government’s review into how gamebird releases on or near European protected sites are managed, the conclusion of which was announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 30 October 2020.

S5W-33330 Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Government what evidence it is aware of that the conclusions of the UK Government’s review into how gamebird releases on or near European protected sites are managed are consistent with the likely impacts on such sites in Scotland.

The expected answer date for these questions is 2nd December 2020.

16 thoughts on “Gamebird releases: Parliamentary questions for Scottish Government”

  1. Having now explored the interesting responses from the Fieldsport supporting groups, and to the various Parliamentary representatives, they seem to have restricted their responses to logic, reason and a balanced approach, rather than the hysteria of the A-R Activists.
    I’m really sorry, but those groups which assure their readers and members that their raison d’être is governed by a political stance, rather than the environment or animal welfare, seem to be facing an argument which truly represents our environment.
    There will always be a welcome amongst the sporting conservationists for those whose interests lay in genuine and effective conservation.

    1. “…sporting conservationists”: Classic! My tip for the OED’s ‘oxymoron of the year’, made all the more special by being coined by an oxygen-seeking-moron.

    2. Hey Chick, Perdix, What sort of brain makes shooting and conservation in any way co-habit? They are so opposite that they are incompatible. Just to make it clear to you, shooting kills animals and is supported by killing more animals (I’m sure you know that and probably participate at some level). Whereas conservation is about preserving natural habitats and the animals that live there in harmony.

      The only conservation really shown by the shooting industry, is in the production of more and more gun fodder.

      As in most businesses, profit is the only purpose and conning the mugs that pay for the sordid pleasure of mass killing.

      With your unsubstantiated and pointless comments only proving that you are either mug or profiteer or gamekeeper, which?


    3. Perdix
      The Oxford Languages, the worlds leading dictionary publisher, defines “sporting” as -“fair and generous in one’s behaviour or treatment of others, especially in a contest.”
      Please explain what is “fair” about flushing birds from cover and then blasting them with lead from a shotgun.

      As others have pointed out conservation and shooting wildlife for pleasure are incompatible.

      The language and propaganda used by the game shooting industry is misleading, dishonest and delusional.
      The game shooting industry is only interested in producing a reliable source of birds or animals to be slaughtered by those who have neither the wit or compassion to treat the natural world and its wildlife in a humane and decent way.

      If you wish to engage in proper debate, then please back up your posts with verifiable evidence to support your claims.
      Or are you simply posting nonsense in the hope it will anger those who are genuinely concerned with conservation?
      All you are achieving at the moment is reinforcing the belief that those engaged in game shooting really do not have any compelling arguments to support their cruel behaviour.

      1. John, I have no idea who Perdix is, nor whether he is a Gamekeeper or not, but as a former low-ground Gamekeeper myself, with over 10 years experience in full time Keepering & Pest Control, I can assure you that there is very little so-called ‘sport’ involved in Driven Pheasant Shooting. Being hand-reared & hand fed right up until the day of the first shoot, they behave more like domestic chickens & very often simply walk out among the guns at their pegs, on the first few drives of the season. Sadly, I have even witnessed such birds being shot on the ground, as they walked past guns, so keen are some to increase their bag number for the day! Such activity is thankfully frowned upon & usually nipped in the bud immediately, but the fact is, those involved have little or no interest in anything other than how many birds can be shot. I remember one American businessman arriving, wearing a bright red Coca Cola Jacket & an Automatic Shotgun, with a multiple cartidge load, which sounded more like ack-ack fire. However, those weapons are not accurate & I was told he didn’t drop a Pheasant all day … which made me wonder how many he wounded. Speaking of the wounded, during the days after a driven shoot, the Keepers will always see the walking wounded turning up on the feed rides, while the remains of the less fortunate will be found dotted around the woods. Sad to say Stephen is on the mark with his oxymoron comment describing the expression – “sporting conservationists”. I never met a Keeper yet who had a sleepless night worrying about the waders or songbirds on his Beat!

  2. Unless you know something no-one else does, this statement is misleading, and Wild Justice’s statement is massively over-optimistic. Defra (see their press release / statement of 30 October) have committed to a TEMPORARY licencing system for game bird releases on or near “EU protected sites” ONLY. There are vey few of them, only a handful in my County (Shropshire, where at least 726,000 Pheasants were released in 2018 ALONE, and where releases have led to Pheasants being the 10th most common breeding bird species, and providing a year round supply all over the County now of food to sustain predators and scavengers) .

  3. A-R activists! Given that title by people intent on wiping out our native wildlife and telling us not to try and do anything about it. You can only laugh as they persist with the label but I guess they know the knot is tightening as the public wake up to their methods. Not before time.

  4. Perdix old boy, you are talking in your own code again. I do not have the time or inclination to decrypt it. I have asked this four or five times when you have commented on previous blogs, but here goes again…my final appeal – please say plainly what you mean, ideally with an example or two, so that folk can engage with your point(s).

    1. Surely you must all have realised by now that ‘Perdix’ is simply a troll. He comments and then disappears, probably to get off by reading the responses to the rubbish he posts to this site! Best to completely ignore him and he may take his inadequacy somewhere else!

  5. I think today’s announcement in Parliament about the Werrity outcome will give us a strong clue on the way that the SG will respond to these “wake up” questions. Normally they would stand up and simply point in the direction of the field with the longest grass…..
    If there attitude has changed then we might see something along the lines of “we have asked NaturistScot to review the licencing landscape”……

  6. Re Perdix, judging from the contents of his post, I would conclude that his “raison d’etre” means he is not one of us but one of THEM.

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