Cardross man John Robins and some wild birds. Bird picture by Heather Greer
By Democrat reporter
The Scottish Government has been asked to suspend a consultation on the killing of wild birds in Scotland.
Early this year, in response to a threatened legal challenge from Chris Packham and the group Wild Justice, English Nature revoked open General Licences for the killing of many species of birds.
In Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage refused to revoke the equivalent licences but promised a public consultation instead.
Campaigners have condemned that consultation as “ … a deliberate attempt by SNH to mislead Government, Parliament and the public.”.
The consultation will not address the controversial issue of people being permitted to kill unlimited numbers of several species of native wild birds simply by reading a Government Licence on the SNH website.
Gamekeepers do not have to ask for permission, explain why they want to kill the birds or say whether or not they have tried non-lethal alternatives. They do not even have to record and report the number of birds they kill.
John Robins of the charity Animal Concern Advice Line states: “SNH promised a consultation and gave us a whitewash. I believe hundreds of thousands of birds are killed every year for no good reason.
“Gamekeepers all but wipe-out local populations of native wild birds because they might eat the eggs and chicks of non-native pheasant which are intensively reared in pens and then released to be killed by paying guns.
“This is not acceptable in this day and age. SNH and the Scottish Government should be listening to the public who elect and pay them instead of pandering to a tiny minority of people with a vested interest and who still think Victoria is on the throne.”