Fergus Ewing MSP & his shooting industry pals disregard sanctions imposed on Moy Estate for wildlife crime

Look at the state of this.

A tweet by Fergus Ewing MSP, former Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, posted yesterday at the Scottish Gamekeeper Association’s stand at the Moy Game Fair. I wonder who he’s referring to when he says ‘We’? Is he speaking on behalf of the Scottish Government?

The Moy Game Fair is hosted by the Moy Estate. That’ll be the disgraced Moy Estate that had a three-year General Licence restriction imposed on it in June this year (see here) after Police Scotland provided evidence to demonstrate wildlife crime had taken place on the estate, notably the discovery of a poisoned red kite and incidents related to alleged trapping offences, although the estate has long been recognised as a raptor persecution hotspot (e.g. see here, scroll down to below the press release).

An estate gamekeeper has recently been charged with the alleged shooting of a sparrowhawk and is due in court in September.

Here is a map we created way back in 2016 to highlight the extent of raptor persecution crimes in Fergus Ewing’s constituency and this shows the concentration of incidents on and close to Moy Estate. There have been further incidents since this map was created, hence the General Licence restriction imposed this year:

Also ignoring the sanction for wildlife crime on Moy Estate is Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the lobby group for game-shooting estates across Scotland, as demonstrated by this tweet yesterday from SLE’s North of Scotland Regional Coordinator, Fiona Van Aardt:

So here’s a senior politician from the SNP Government, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Scottish Land & Estates, all effectively sticking up two fingers to the Government’s policy of sanctioning estates for raptor persecution.

When the policy of imposing General Licence restrictions as a tool for tackling rampant bird of prey persecution was first introduced in 2014, the then Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse described the restrictions as being a ‘reputational driver‘. In other words, a sanctioned estate would not enjoy the benefits of being part of the shooting industry because the industry, with its claimed ‘zero tolerance’ approach to raptor persecution, would not wish to be associated with wildlife crime and this (hoped for) ostracization would stimulate a clamp-down on raptor-killing estates.

So much for that idea. It appears that the shooting industry, along with its political supporters, couldn’t give a monkeys. There’s been previous evidence of this on other so-called sanctioned estates (e.g. see here for examples).

Technically speaking, Mr Ewing and his shooting industry pals could argue that Moy Estate is not currently serving a General Licence restriction. How come? Well, because under the rules, if an estate appeals the GL restriction decision, the restriction is temporarily lifted whilst NatureScot considers the estate’s appeal. This is completely bonkers, of course, because a sanctioned estate has already had a chance to appeal the decision, when NatureScot first issues the notification for a restriction. But they’re then given another opportunity to appeal once the restriction has been imposed, and during that appeal process (typically four weeks) NatureScot removes the restriction so the estate can carry on as if the restriction never existed. I’m pretty sure that that’s what’s going on at Moy because the GL restriction decision notice for Moy Estate has been removed from the section of NatureScot’s website where currently-restricted estates are listed (here).

Although if Mr Ewing, the SGA and SLE were to rely upon this technicality, I don’t think that many people would view it as the shooting industry working in the spirit of wishing to stamp out raptor persecution, do you?

32 thoughts on “Fergus Ewing MSP & his shooting industry pals disregard sanctions imposed on Moy Estate for wildlife crime”

    1. They can’t be trusted to look after Scottish people according to all the Scottish friends I’ve spoken to. They’re only interested in independence not improving scotland

      1. Sadly the SNP have hugely let down and betrayed wildlife since the 1990’s and in recent years letting down Scots in not pursuing independence either
        Ewing has vet seen and facilitated a holocaust on our wildlife and our beautiful environment . He is obviously funded by those with very deep pockets

        1. “since the 90s”? It was Labour (and with those political prostitutes, the Liberal Democrats) who were in control from 99 to 2007 – not the SNP; and before that it was Labour, Tory, Labour direct rule from London.
          What was it someone said about “ill-informed … Southern England…” or “twatts”?

          1. Since the 1990 ‘s as it was just before that that the scientist I referred to earlier wrote a sound environmental policy document for them- then witnessed it it being whittled down, in his words, from then on

        2. He was removed from his position because of the damage he was doing by so openly supporting the grouse killers-for-fun.
          I think one of the reasons the SNP has been slowly working towards putting the hems on the criminals is the (naive) belief that by introducing increased penalties and introducing vicarious liability the entire grouse-bunch would change their ways. They haven’t.
          The other reason (I think) is because of the fear of BritNat papers (and they all are apart from the National) and the BBC jumping down their throats using the old arguments about making ‘sweeping changes’ having a negative impact on those ‘rural jobs’. There’s a real problem having to deal with hostile media.
          The other problem is trying to negotiate the current situation where any legislation which might have an impact on the Royal’s interests has to be approved by Betty Saxe-Cobourg – and since Balmoral is where the Royals go for the ‘Glorious 12th’ you can see there is a fundamental problem in bringing in any grouse-shooting legislation, can’t you?
          Ah the benefits of being tied into this Union of a Constitutional Monarchy… with no written constitution!

          1. Ole ! The SNP has to operate in the most hostile and corrupt environment of any political party and any government anywhere and to hold together a party which is necessarily a very broad church across the contradictory views of every interest and region of the country. It is a measure of their skill and the Scottish electorate’s maturity that they continue to be elected against the daily wall of negativity and lies from the Anglo British puppet parties and their almost 100% client media. Part of that skill is to choose your battles and raptors are never going to be the highest priority in that.

      2. Ah, the mitigation of Tory policies by the SNP (the bedroom tax, the ‘rape clause’ etc) didn’t happen? The overturning of Labour policies (the introduction of tuition fees, for example) didn’t happen? The removal of prescription charges wasn’t done to benefit all Scots (and those choosing to live in Scotland who accept all such benefits but still vote Tory and Labour and LibDumb)?
        But what have your other parties done, or what are these other parties doing about raptor persecution or land reform? Nothing?! At least the SNP have done something towards this. Go moan about the lack of movement in England by BritNat parties about raptor persecution or land reform. Do they even talk about it? Is it in their current manifestos ?
        Get your facts right, please.

    2. So which party IS going to sweep away the disgrace of what’s been going on on Scotland’s moorland since the Clearances, remembering that the Saxe-Cobourg-Battenburgs have a right of veto on all legislation which has any impact on their interests – and they have a large chunk of moorland which is given over to grouse killing for fun? Labour certainly aren’t going to do anything as they try to woo the English propensity to vote Tory? Thr LibDumbs? They are, historically, a party linked to Highland land owners so are disinclined to rock that boat; the Con & Unionist Party? The Greens? Their chances of ever being a government in Westminster are nil – allied to the SNP in Holyrood, at least they can support those within the SNP who are a million miles from Fergus Ewing.
      But tell us who you think, based on their recent manifestos and previous actions are going to put an end to raptor persecution in Scotland, England and Wales?

    3. As most of the people that shoot support the Torys they would be far worse for the raptor population compared to the SNP.

  1. One has to ask why the SNP are so weak when it comes to dealing with wildlife crime. In England, obviously, the Tory Party, if they and their families aren’t the landowners themselves, is in hock to its donors and they aren’t ever going to do anything meaningful to tackle wildlife crime – unless they are the plebeian pursuits of badger baiting, dog fighting or hare coursing. Obviously, badger baiting and hare coursing are ignored when associated with fox hunting, but not when it is the plebs.

    But how does that fit in with Scotland? A vicarious liability law that is so weak that it might as well not exist (like the Hunting with Hounds Act in England & Wales); continual dragging their feet on introducing licensing, the pathetic non-punishment of General Licence restrictions, and the inept nature (being kind) of SNH and their allowing the killing of wildlife so that the over-population of Red Grouse can be supported: medicated grit, mountain hare killing etc. Why is the SNP so pathetically inadequate in this area? Are they kowtowing to the landowners? Who are their donors? Are they just the Tory Party with Scottish accents?

    1. The vast majority of SNP members – and their voters – are very far from being Tories. This tired old Labour slur about ‘Tartan Tories’ is silly and shows those who make it as being either out-of-touch (because they live in the South of England) or just twatts.

      1. The members are not Tartan Tories , but many of the votes by SNP MSP’s on interests of the shooting lobby, eg Mike Russell overthrowing the Holyrood majority vote to ban snares , when env minister, the SNP voting Not to ban stinkpits, the SNP vote to bring back right to cut puppy dog tails, the SNP vote not to stop those new roads being cut over remote hill tops for benefit range rover loads of shooters , all make me wonder if Dukobukee controls the puppet strings of those who dictate how the SNP MSP ‘s have to vote
        Tartan Tories does seem apt to SNP stance on virtually anything related to supporting large landowning interests
        Remember there was once talk of Land Reform from them? Empty words it seems

  2. Well-meaning and initially effective SNP MSP’s, such as Paul Wheelhouse, brought much hope on the environmental front some years ago. That hope has withered (Greens notwithstanding). The Scottish Establishment has a very large boot in the SNP door – the term ‘Tartan Tories’ is perfectly apt to describe this element. Fergus Ewing stands foursquare with the shooting industry, Ian Blackford and Angus MacNeil have called for a cull of White-tailed Eagles to ‘protect’ sheep on their hobby-crofts. As I live in Scotland, I understand another correspondent believes this make me a ‘twatt’. A neighbour once called me that when I refused to remove 5 large oaks on my property (and far from hers) so maybe there’s some truth in that! Nonetheless, sad that respondents on this site resort to insulting other contributors, based on their place of residence or their perfectly valid opinions.

    1. Yes I agree Christopher.
      About 10 yrs ago after we had both had letters printed in The Scotsman over consecutive days on this very topic , I spoke to an elderly chap who told me he had drawn up the environmental policies of the SNP in the 1980 ‘s . He said he was totally ashamed of how the party leaders had treated the countryside and wildlife in recent years.
      To add to above cases ,there is the loudly trumpeted SNP beaver protection , which allows hundreds of beavers to be shot, and similar pseudo protection for mountain hare.
      Even on edge of Edinburgh, the edge of the Pentlands National Park has big signs warning it is illegal to interfere with snares laid there

      What a huge loss to our economy as well as our health, depleting our wildlife for benefit of so few

    2. No Christopher, I did not call anyone on this discussion thread a twatt – I referred to two types of folk who frequently throw in all manner of anti-SNP prejudiced comments. You have to read what I said in context (even though the chronological order between comments and ‘replies’ is often disjointed here in WordPress). Some are ill-informed (because of their geographical distance/lack of insight/etc) and some because of their political biases/BritishNationalist stance/imperialist attitudes. The latter, I think, are justifiably considered ‘twatts’. Especially when their comments either have little to do with raptor persecution or ignore the lack of progress by their political party towards ending raptor persecution in England or Scotland.

      1. I think a lot of people share your frustration with the ignorant view of Scotland expressed by many who populate this comment section. The overwhelming focus on the Scottish Government vis a vis the British Government and the hectoring demanding manner adopted reflect the fact that they regard the Scottish Government and Parliament as of much lower status and the influence of the right wing British media is clearly visible here. It also reflects the fact that the Scottish Government has been much more active in legislating against abuse by the shooting industry and so provides many more easy targets for people who have not the slightest idea about the practicalities of enforcing the law in the remoteness of grouse moors. The same people seem to think that draconian authoritarian legislation would solve that problem, taking them down the same sewer as the British. Some of the Scottish Government’s delay is definitely frustrating and sometimes very disappointing but the much wider context, as you say, is critical. You will get nothing at all from the British State so for raptors, the environment and every other progressive measure Scottish statehood is the priority.

  3. What caught my eye was the stand behind Fergus – the CIC Trophy measuring people, where stalkers can go and get their best erm… “trophies” (ie. the skulls/antlers and/or heads of deer they’ve shot) measured and recorded. Maybe Fergus & the Hoggster had just been in to get their trophies measured together – with favourable results it seems, judging by the look of boyish excitement on their faces.

  4. SNP are Tories in disguise, always wanting to take back control of everything and enthusiastic members of the animal killing for fun party. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx, Sturgeon calls for independence but can’t be bothered looking after Scotland.

  5. My understanding is that poor old Fergus was sidelined because of….. …clouds on the horrizon.

  6. Were SNH there to give succor to the poor estate that they had been forced to punnish?
    Is Moy a “Wildlife Estate”, if so is it still meeting the joke criteria?

  7. I’m not a fan of Nationalism in any of it’s manifestations but sometimes it can be the case of the lesser evil. I have criticised the SNP on many occasions in regards to their actions, if not their stance, regarding elistist wildlife crime and their reluctance to accredit the SSPCA the authority to investigate them.
    However in politics where Westminster holds the cards in many areas with the interests that they are struggling against being dear tto the hearts of the Establishment/Tory Grandees this can be a very difficult task. This is made worse by the structure of landholding in Scotland and the unofficial neo-feudal style power that many of the old Lairds hole over rural communities. These same concentrations of power hold considerable financial power in todays world too and have the ability to make it very difficult if regional Governments do not follow their line in certain areas.
    The situation has been made much more difficult by certain green interests whose main focus, in my opinion, is to make a theme park style Scotland with very expensive tourist accomodation complete with restricted “wild” areas. Accompanying this strategy are expensive looking brochures and their support of campaigns to re-introduce the wildcat and suchlike. They attract a lot of publicity which appears to give out the impression that Scotland is “on the move” as far as resoration of our natural resources go. The same conglomerate, however, are noticebly absent when it comes to advocating changes in our legal system which might not be in the interests of our recalcirent landowners. When the heavy lifting is taking place they are no place to be seen — and that is exactly the area which must addressed if a modern, effective system is to be put in place to protect our wildlife. Small changes can be seen as virtue signalling with no real affect on the bigger problem.
    The real Scotland wide problems will require popular public support to raise enough pressure to force the SNP to take action in the required areas .. and I beleive, as far as most of the SNP elected politicians goi, this is akin to pushing at an open door. At the moment most of the population believe real progress is being made thanks to the effective publicty available to these groups and the hi-tec tools available to them.
    A re-think is required as one group striving to attain financial success for themselves if far from what we need. What is needed is a group soley focused on the rehabilitation of our environment and all in it.

  8. The reality is that the problem lies not just with our politicians and Government Ministers but with those employed by Government to manage their portfolios on the environment, animal welfare, conservation and “country sports”. All too often when you write to Government Ministers the communication bypasses their inbox and goes straight to an unelected Civil Servant to reply on their behalf. There is a culling culture at the heart of the Scottish Government, embedded deeply in Government Departments like SNH (now operating under the misnomer Nature Scot) and the Dept for Aquaculture and Fisheries (hiding behind the greener sounding Marine Scotland). When he was a Cabinet Secretary Fungus Spewing was at least an open apologist for the hunting and shooting brigade as was another Government Minister who praised the Scottish Gamekeeper Association at one of their photo call events. Now we have Ministers giving eco friendly soundbites while their Departments do little if anything to tackle the few people who use and abuse vast tracts of Scottish land and persecute the native wildlife which should occupy that land. A very good reason I would like Scotland to regain independence is to get rid of the SNP Government, force the other parties to break totally from their Westminster puppet masters and give Scotland a Parliament that will protect not just people who live in Scotland but our land and our waters and the creatures which inhabit our natural environment.

    1. Thank you John for using your 50yr or more experience of heading Animal Concern Scotland animal and wildlife welfare charity in your answer.
      Some don’t seem to realise that criticism of SNP coming from so many today stems also because we passionately want Independence and have lost faith in those presently in positions of power in scotgov . There is a former leader and expert politician still very strong whose experience of having the baying hounds of the world’s media set on him and strenuous attempts to have him put in a cage by former colleagues , might we can hope, give him much more empathy towards Scotland’s wildlife.
      The people of Scotland really need to wake up quickly to escape the shackles of unionism and the Windsor stranglehold., can’t agree more
      I’ll write another letter as instructed to my SNP MSP ,on the subject he has heard from me so many times before, trying to protect our wildlife

    2. You assume that after independence Scotland will be run by the current three Anglo British puppet parties who will be ‘forced’ to reform ( by whom) their attitude to Scotland and that the bad ‘ol SNP will disappear ?? That’s a staggeringly shallow view of what’s been happening in Scotland the last ten years and a staggeringly naive view of the British. The British will do everything they can to undermine and cripple the country in order to retain their influence. They will infiltrate everything that will give them that influence including the parties. It took Ireland 50 years to escape their orbit and the British still behave as if Ireland was a colony. It’s what the British do, it’s who they are, and nothing in their attitude to Scotland, Wales and Ireland has changed in a thousand years as their antics the last few years have demonstrated. That is why the SNP will not disappear until we have established our own links, political, transport, cultural and the rest with Europe and the world and when different parties evolve they will do so without the discredited puppets of a country whose own government is an international laughing stock.

  9. I would suggest all Scottish residents, especially if they have an SNP MSP, and ask the question, who is the “we” he is referring to. I will be.

  10. Don’t let the hype and the greenwash fool you, they are part of the establishment and corrupt through and through.

    1. Who are you referring to, Frances? The only people in politics I have seen who are “corrupt through and through” are the sad, mad, bad lot on the front bench of the Westminster government and those behind them who take lots of money from private companies, Russians (xxxxx xxxxx, for one) to help them get what they want. Oh, and probably xxxxx xxxxx, who should be in prison as a war criminal.
      Meanwhile the ‘front bench’ in the Scottish Government hasn’t taken a pay rise for years! (But your Daily Mail doesn’t like to draw those comparisons, does it?)

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