This blog entry is just a brief look at some of the shooting industry’s responses to the Werrity Report. Magnus Linklater, a trustee of a grouse estate, wrote an interesting piece in The Times (a paper of which he was formerly Scottish Editor) saying that “gamekeepers perform a useful service for conservation by controlling vermin”. The problem here is that what Magnus and many other grouse moor owners, managers and workers see as “vermin” many of us regard as an important part of our natural heritage. We also feel that allowing this natural heritage to be destroyed so a few highly privileged individuals can enjoy shooting some birds that have been specially reared and released for this purpose is a blot on our national reputation and a serious dereliction of the duty to preserve “All of nature for all of Scotland”.
Below are a few photographs of vermin control and muirburn on grouse estates.
Some may regard the above pictures as examples of a useful service to conservation but many will not. What may surprise many is that none of these photos photos show the results of illegality. Everything shown is sanctioned by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage. “All of nature for all of Scotland”!
And what is the end product of all this conservation work?
Magnus Linklater whose article was quoted at the start of this post ends it “It is one of the great ironies of the countryside that gamekeepers, so vilified by campaigners, are in fact guardians of the wildlife diversity that is so important to rural Scotland. They too are an endangered species and they too deserve protection.” There is certainly an irony here Magnus but we are not sure that it is quite the one you suggest.