I was told recently that public engagement with the Scottish Government on the issue of ongoing raptor persecution has never been bigger. For example, Ministerial aides say that now, whenever there’s a new case of an illegally-killed bird of prey, they can expect to receive about 4,000 letters/emails of protest/complaint and requests for the Government to get a grip of this issue.
There are lots of reasons why this level of public response has grown so high, but not least because of social media and the ability for campaigners to disseminate information quickly and widely and encourage new supporters to get involved.
Amongst those new supporters include the inspirational pupils of Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow. I’ve written about these schoolkids a few times, e.g. see here for a previous blog on their response to the suspicious disappearance of golden eagle Fred in 2018 and last month I wrote about how they’d congratulated the Scottish Government on its decision to issue a grouse moor licensing scheme (see here).
[Pupils from Sunnyside Primary School and their letters to Scottish Ministers congratulating them for the introduction of a grouse moor management licensing scheme]
That last blog elicited some remarkably aggressive online responses from some within the grouse shooting industry who accused Sunnyside teachers of ‘indoctrinating‘ their ‘vulnerable and easily led pupils‘, of this being ‘a disgusting failure by the school‘, of it being an example of ‘desperate virtue signalling‘, of the school ‘overstepping the mark massively‘, of it being ‘a disgusting brainwashing project‘, that teachers should be ‘struck off for misinformation‘ and that ‘this will not be allowed to go unchallenged‘.
Yep, way to go, grouse shooting industry, how to win hearts and minds.
Why do you think they feel so threatened by a bunch of bright 8-year-olds engaging with the democratic process?
Meanwhile, back in the real world the Scottish Government’s Environment Cabinet Secretary asked her aide to write to Sunnyside Primary pupils to thank them for their efforts. Here’s the letter:
If I was a member of the grouse shooting industry I’d be very concerned about the image it was presenting to the outside world.
I’ve blogged very recently about the vile harassment campaigns by gamekeepers directed against those of us who dare to ask for the law to be upheld and the environment protected (see here and here). If 8-year-old schoolchildren and their teachers are the next targets I can see that public tolerance of the grouse shooting industry will fall even lower.
Mind you, a skilled advocate told me recently, ‘Never interrupt your enemy when they’re making a mistake’. In which case, crack on, gamekeepers.