Scottish Gamekeepers Association plan awards ceremony at disgraced Moy Estate

Remember all those recent headlines from the game shooting industry, declaring a ‘zero tolerance’ stance against raptor persecution?

Well quelle surprise, it seems their interpretation of ‘zero tolerance’ isn’t quite the same as everyone else’s.

Last month Moy Estate, a shooting estate in the Monadhliaths was given a three-year General Licence restriction, imposed by NatureScot on the basis of evidence provided by Police Scotland of wildlife crime against birds, specifically the discovery of a poisoned red kite in 2020 (here).

It was just the latest in a long line of raptor persecution incidents reported on or next to Moy Estate for over a decade, and another court case is due to be heard this autumn.

For an example of the history, here is a map we created way back in 2016 to highlight the extent of raptor persecution crimes in former Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing’s constituency (given his strong support of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association) and this shows the concentration of incidents on and close to Moy Estate:

The General Licence restriction is a bit like putting a school into ‘special measures’ – a status applied by regulators to indicate the school has fallen short of acceptable standards, although the main serious difference here of course is that a General Licence restriction is imposed on the basis of wildlife crimes being committed on the estate, rather than merely a shortfall in standards.

The main idea behind the introduction of General Licence restrictions back in 2014 was that they would act as a “reputational driver” for those sanctioned estates, according to the then Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse (see here).

However, there has been no evidence that the game-shooting industry takes any notice whatsoever of such sanctions. For example, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust hosted a guided tour and BBQ on ‘the renowned Corsehope Shoot‘ in June 2017, at the same time that this estate was serving a three year General Licence restriction for wildlife crime; Edradynate Estate bragged about “a belter season“ at the same time it was serving a three-year General Licence restriction for wildlife crime; and this estate was also endorsed by the British Game Alliance, the game shooting industry’s own ‘assurance’ scheme, membership of which is supposed to indicate ‘rigorous and ethical standards’, whilst the estate was under a General Licence restriction for wildlife crime (see here).

So it comes as no surprise to see that the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is not only intending to have a stand at the forthcoming Highland Field Sport Fair hosted by Moy Estate (now rebranded as the Moy Country Fair, presumably in an attempt to make it more palatable), but the SGA is also planning an awards ceremony at the event to announce the winner of the SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award as well as presenting various Long Service Medals!

You couldn’t make this up!

The Moy game fair has previously attracted the likes of former Cabinet Minister Fergus Ewing who used his attendance to give a rallying speech to the game-shooting sector (here) and Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) also usually has a stand. I can’t remember if Moy Estate is a member of SLE, but it’ll be interesting to see if SLE puts in an appearance this year.

7 thoughts on “Scottish Gamekeepers Association plan awards ceremony at disgraced Moy Estate”

  1. These estates must be taken back into public ownership. Originally the land belonged to everyone. The public were cheated out of their lands. Time to take them back xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

  2. This is never going to change , while the shooting community continues to govern themselves we will never see any changes.
    The entire shooting industry will never abide with the law unless it is actually governed by an independent system, and someone is able to watch their every move.
    Unfortunately while birds of prey may have a minimal impact on their ability to murder game birds, they will continue to kill birds of prey.
    The whole industry behind game killing is purely financially driven, and as such they don’t have any compassion towards any other wildlife, birds of prey might take the odd game bird, but that is called nature, but to just kill birds of prey by poisoning, or snaring, or shooting them is just wrong, not just from a legal standpoint, but from ethical point of view.
    The majority of birds of prey have been sent into decline over the years, and mostly because of hunting.
    Scotland is a beautiful place, but does it need to be used by the rich as a playground? Do we really need these rich oiks randomly murdering animals, And birds?
    Does game killing actually bring anything to Scotland apart from money into the game estate owners, and managers pockets?, it might provide a few jobs for locals, but that is it, these sites could be used to generate an income for Scotland, and provide more employment opportunities if it was turned to something productive, rather than just being used for murdering birds.
    This debate will go on for ever unless someone actually stands against this industry once and for all.
    End all hunting and killing, it serves no purpose apart from lining the pockets of the rich, it has a massive impact on wildlife and nature, especially when they kill birds of prey, and clear Peat land so they can track the game birds easier, they do not care about anything other than money, and they don’t have any respect for the law.
    I also believe any politician involved in the shooting industry should be removed from parliament as they are enabling criminals to break the law, and in some cases they have perverted the course of justice by intervention, and even leaned on the prosecution teams to have cases dissappear, I have seen several such cases just stop mid flow and no explanation given except stories about lack of evidence etc, the crown prosecution service would not let a case go to court if evidence was insignificant, or if there was not enough evidence, so we all know what happened in them cases, corruption is at the heart of all these dropped cases, and even the sentences that do get handed out are much less harsh that the minimum sentence attached to he crimes.
    Another case of money talking, and who you are not what you are, if you have letters after your name you can do whatever you want, and you can influence the outcome of a case .

  3. SNH is responsible for the “punitive measures” which cause the estate zero hastle. I wonder if they will be boycoting this killing fest to show their sincerity?

  4. It is a case of sticking two fingers up at all laws relating to wildlife crimes xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

    The Guardian article on Sandringham made for interesting reading. It confirms the fears that the elite can behave in any way they like, commit crimes etc and the police do not act to bring them to justice. They are above the law.

    There was an interesting piece in the paper recently which stated, “A Scottish Government memo has revealed that “it is almost certain” draft laws were secretly changed to secure the queen’s approval. Under a mechanism called the Queen’s consent, the monarch can vet, or veto parliamentary legislation which might affect her personal property, or powers. It is known that in Scotland, where it is known as crown consent, there have been at least 67 instances where Scottish bills were vetted by the Queen. It was “almost certain some bills were changed before introduction to address concerns about crown consent”. Willie Rennie asked a parliamentary question for a list of acts that had been amended after exchanges with the Queen’s representatives. The Scottish Government refused to answer the question. Bearing in mind the number of royal estates in Scotland, it would be probable that strings are being pulled in relation to these. Why can’t the information be made public? What have they got to hide?

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