The article Game estates must stop preying on our precious raptors and follow the law (The Scotsman, 16 January 2019, page 30/31) is yet another attempt to exert influence over the Independent Review on Grouse Moor Management by highlighting what we all agree is outdated and abhorrent practice, but does not by any means mean that the current, and evolving, management system that we have is broken. Far from it as figures show that last year illegal poisonings of birds of prey fell to a record low.
Arguably, self-regulation has not failed but is becoming increasingly effective and the direction of travel is positive.
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust wants to see an end to the conflict surrounding red grouse and raptors and the adoption of a system that can work well for all interests within existing legislation. That does not mean that grouse shooting and its thoroughly researched and documented conservation, economic and cultural benefits should be consigned to history, or stifled by additional legislation.
What is required is a more holistic and adaptive approach to species management, delivering multiple conservation benefits, where traditional moorland management can be married to new systems and techniques. This would support both healthy heather moorland and higher raptor numbers across the country as a whole. That, we think is within our grasp.
GWCT Scotland chairman
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