Gamekeepers angry as 8-year-old schoolchildren effectively engage in democratic process

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.

14 thoughts on “Gamekeepers angry as 8-year-old schoolchildren effectively engage in democratic process”

  1. Never let it be said that the Gamekeeping Community and it’s supporters ever miss the chance to parade their finely honed skills in the area of hypocrisy for all to see.
    Prior to the onset of the Pandemic the fact that local Angus schoolchildren children were taken to Glen Esk and introduced to the skills of plucking birds and skinning animals. They were also shown what the gamekeeper’s work consisted of though I am extremely doubtful as to whether an animal caught in one of their deadly traps was part of their itinery.
    So, it’s all right for children to be given a highly sanitised account of what they do do — with the help of the hegemonmic power of the largest estate in the area ensuring they have the support of the local education authority while teachers were left without a say — but not OK to allow children to write to the Government congratulating their efforts to stop wildlife crime by praising the introduction of a licencing system.
    Strangely enough they claim that they, too, wish to stop the criminal activities on the moors, for many of which come from their own members and employees have been convicted of over the years, yet complian about children when they publicise the plight Praising the efforts of those seeking to end these practises.
    YUP, a very clear example of vested interests presenting themselves as honest brokers while attempting to silence others who hold a similar view in regard to ending these crimes, made all the worse by their leadership in the very area they are now complaining about.

    1. Well said Geoge
      Who said ” If abbatoirs had glass walls…”
      The NGO ‘s advice is very clear… keep snaring trapping shooting and all the other nasty practices out of the public eye.
      I’m a huge fan of Facebook, post post post,and share share share

  2. Gamekeeper’s (keeper’s)?Are children not allowed to be taught, you do not willingly harm any living creature.

  3. Grouse shooting industry versus informed young people – only one winner there.

    There must be at least one leader in this so called £2bn industry who is totally embarrassed by this episode and the implied threats. Time to stand up and be counted?

  4. Well done Sunnyside School for challenging this barbaric practice
    How much longer will it be before this cruel sadistic and totally unnecessary ‘sport’ will be outlawed. No normal pleasant generous soul supports it

  5. Why don’t the Estate owners, shooting syndicates, agents and their ‘keepers’ invite those 8 year-olds onto their estates and show them what keepers actually do as part of their jobs? Why not show them, first hand, how a snare works or how a variety of ‘humane’ traps work or are ‘live-baited’? Why not demonstrate how ‘vermin’, caught in snares and traps, are really dispatched? Why not show them a stink pit and explain what they are used for? Why not show them how to set a poison bait? Why not show them the carcasses of the ‘vermin’ dealt with? Why not show them a muir / moor burn close up? Why not explain the impact of tons of lead shot spread across the muirs / moors annually on the environment and water courses? Why not show them what a denuded, drained, barren, eroded, upland landscape looks like? Why not show them what a ‘re-wilded’ stretch of muir / moor could look like?

    In other words ‘educate’ them … Oops, sorry, that’s what’s already happening in their school. You’ll find out that 8 year-olds can recognise bull-shit when they see and hear it. What matters to them is the reality … the gamekeepers and shooters’ world is centred on death. End of …

  6. Well done the teachers for, presumably, instigating the action/letter. Another letter to the government is, probably, just that and will not create headlines or even visible news, but an aggressive & abusive response like this will do so & will never look good when directed at children. Brainwashing! Strewth..desperate!

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