A cull of ravens in Perthshire has been approved by Scottish Natural Heritage across a large area of Perthshire, predominantly made up of grouse moors. For more on the background to the cull, and why it must be stopped, see this blog. Three weeks on from when Raptor Persecution broke the story, here’s an update of what’s happened. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update it.
1) Over 150,000 people have signed a petition against the cull
The public response has been extraordinary, and there’s no doubt it’s left Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Government reeling. You can sign the petition here.
2) We still don’t know what’s going on
There is still very little information about the raven cull in the public domain. Who is behind the mysterious Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders (SCCW)? How are the ravens being killed? How will the cull be monitored and reported? Scottish Natural Heritage’s response to people writing to them sheds little light on the situation. The specific criticisms of this cull aside, the secrecy surrounding it is a damning indictment of the current approach to licensing the killing of wildlife.
3) That ‘rethink’ is not happening
A few days after the story broke, the Times ran a story claiming that Scottish Natural Heritage were rethinking the cull following the public outcry. A few days later SHN published a statement defending the cull and, for good measure, patronising those who have spoken out against it. There was no mention of a ‘rethink’; instead SNH have asked their Scientific Advisory Committee to look at the license decision. However, the cull will continue in the meantime and the terms for this review are so limited and opaque it’s hard to see it having an impact.
4) The grouse moor lobby are lining up in support of the cull
The membership of the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders might remain a mystery, but we can tell a lot from who is speaking for them and in support of them. The cast currently includes a number of links to the grouse shooting industry:
The PR Officer for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, who gave us this gem in an interview on the BBC:
Interviewer: Does this licence cover a grouse moor?
SGA: No, it doesn’t cover a grouse moor.
Interviewer: Is there grouse moor in it?
SGA: Well there’s obviously grouse moors in it
Magnus Linklater, a grouse moor owner, who, in this opinion piece, freely admits to having “no idea why” waders are declining (presumably the idea of reading up on the issue before writing didn’t appeal), but argues we should have a go at the ravens just to see what happens.
The Tayside & Central Scotland Moorland Group appear to be involved. They are linked to Scottish Land & Estates and ‘the Gift of Grouse’ campaign.
5) SNH appear to want more culls of ravens and “other things”
A recent interview given by a representative of SNH appears to suggest that they want to try more culls of “ravens or other things so we can really test to see what we can learn from this kind of approach”. Clearly they’re having so much fun with the ravens they want to do this again and again. What animals do you think “things” means?…
6) The Scottish Parliament is getting involved
Claudia Beamish MSP (Scottish Labour) has asked a series of excellent questions on the raven cull that will hopefully get more detail into the public domain. Meanwhile Alison Johnstone MSP (Scottish Greens) has tabled a motion calling for the cull to be stopped. So far the Scottish Green MSPs and Christine Grahame MSP (SNP) have signed it.
What you can do
- Wherever you live, you can sign this petition
- If you live in Scotland please email your MSP and ask them to sign Motion S5M-11986 Stop the Raven Cull. Email Sarah.Moyes@onekind.org if you’d like any guidance on this.
- If you’re on twitter and live in Scotland you can tweet your MSP using this handy tool we’ve made here